China prepares for a big annual meeting to chart a growth strategy


Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the National Day reception on the eve of the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing, China September 30, 2020.

Thomas Peter | Reuters

BEIJING — The Chinese government is set to kick off an annual parliamentary meeting this week for approving national priorities for 2021.

The gathering of delegates, known as the “Two Sessions,” has overseen such changes as President Xi Jinping‘s abolition of term limits in 2018 and the proposal for a new security law for Hong Kong last year.

The otherwise generally symbolic meeting takes on particular significance this year as it marks the beginning of China’s five-year development plan — the 14th such in the country’s history — and the 100th anniversary of the ruling Communist Party.

Authorities are expected to lay out details on topics ranging from employment targets to management of the semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong.

Such comments will come as Beijing seeks to show progress on development promises made to the country of 1.4 billion people, and build up China’s competitiveness in a world shocked by the coronavirus pandemic and growing wary of the Asian giant’s rise.

No specific GDP target expected

Li-Gang Liu, managing director and chief China economist at Citi Research, said in a note that if the report lays out a GDP target directly or indirectly, the figure could top 7%. That’s according to growth goals announced by different Chinese provinces and a commitment to double GDP from its level in 2010, Liu said.

On monetary policy, although authorities have emphasized they will not abruptly reverse stimulus policies, “we expect China’s monetary policy conditions will visibly tighten this year,” Liu added.

China’s economy grew by 2.3% last year, despite the shock of the coronavirus pandemic, as authorities rushed to control the domestic spread of the virus and support businesses with tax cuts and cheaper loans. That GDP growth followed expansion of 6.0% in 2019, according to official figures.

On employment, economists generally anticipate China will aim to create more than 10 million new urban jobs this year, up from 9 million last year.

A plan for the next five years



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