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Top economic planner calls for improved flow of goods

Lan Lan
Updated: Nov 4,2015 7:19 AM     China Daily

Many Chinese tourists go overseas to buy cold medicines, cosmetics and even toilet lids, showing that China’s consumer environment needs further attention and that the supply chain needs to be improved, the head of the country’s top economic planning body said.

Consumption will play a more fundamental role in the coming five years, Xu Shaoshi, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a news conference on Nov 3.

“We will make great efforts to promote consumption. There are huge potentials in the fields of medicine, health, education, pensions, culture and tourism,” Xu said.

The commission said the world’s second largest economy is able to maintain a mid-to-high-level growth rate in the next five years, driven by innovation and accelerating urbanization.

“Apart from the growth rate we are concerned about other indicators, including job creation, household income and pricing,” Xu said.

The nation’s 1.3 billion people, 900 million in the labor force and 70 million companies provide enormous “potential, resilience and leeway” to fuel robust growth with domestic demand, he said.

Against the backdrop of a slumping world economy, China maintained a 6.9 percent growth in the third quarter. The economy does face downward pressure, but the fundamentals haven’t changed, he said.

China contributed about 30 percent of world’s economic growth, while the country’s GDP accounts for about 13 percent of the global total. So growth prospects in China are widely seen as crucial for sustaining global prosperity.

Total retail sales of consumer goods for this month are expected to rise as “Single’s Day” on Nov 11 draws near. It was initiated by online retailer Taobao six years ago and has become China’s largest shopping festival.

Spending on consumption accounted for 58.4 percent of China’s growth in the first nine months, compared to 49.1 percent in the same period last year.

Investment still plays a crucial role in bolstering the country’s economic growth and restructuring in the short term. Investment in manufacturing and real estate continued to decline because of overcapacity in the property sector. The real estate investment growth rate slowed to 2.6 percent in the first nine months, down from 12.5 percent growth in the same period one year earlier.

China will prioritize quality and efficient development in the next five years, according to a communiqué released on Oct 29 following a four-day meeting of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

The communiqué said China should highlight innovation, coordinated and green development, opening-up and inclusiveness to fulfill the economic goals in the coming five-year period.

The European Chamber of Commerce in China said on Nov 3 the government’s announcement that the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) will focus on higher quality and more sustainable economic growth has presented “an unmissable opportunity” to push forward with bold reforms.