by Thandisizwe Mgudlwa
The Chinese economy is at “a crucial stage,” said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in the opening plenary of the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2013, which opened today in Dalian.
However, despite worries that China may encounter a hard landing, its “fundamentals are stable,” said Premier Li.
Over 1,600 participants from 90 countries are taking part in the seventh Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian on 11-13 September. The Meeting is held in close collaboration with the Government of the People’s Republic of China with the support of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
Under the theme Meeting the Innovation Imperative, the Meeting features an intensive three-day programme to explore the innovation imperative under four thematic sub-themes: Transforming Industry Ecosystems; Unleashing Innovation; Building Societal Resilience; and Connecting Markets.
While the World Economic Forum reports that China recently considered implementing a short-term stimulus policy to drive up growth, Li said; but after concluding “such an option would not help address the underlying problems,” China opted for maintaining a stable macroeconomic policy.
And providing the economy “runs within the reasonable range of economic performance, [Beijing] will keep the macroeconomic policies generally stable,” focusing instead on shifting the growth model and structural readjustment.
To transform China’s economy, Beijing is focusing on expanding domestic demand, developing the service sector and pursuing balanced development throughout the country, and between urban and rural regions. Specifically, Li mentioned redeveloping shantytowns and improving infrastructure in urban areas and railways in Western and Central China.
Li addressed concerns over local government debt, stating that China “is taking pertinent measures to regulate and address it in an orderly fashion,” and that the situation is, on the whole, “safe and manageable”. if Beijing meets the challenges it set out, “the giant vessel of the Chinese economy will break through the waves and sail far,” said Li.
“We live in a global village” remarked Li. “No country can live in isolation of others like Robinson Crusoe.” Engaging with the world, China has become a major driver of global economic growth. Over the next five years, China “is expected to import US$ 10 trillion of goods, invest US$ 500 billion overseas and send over 400 million tourists abroad. By successfully transforming its economy, China “will contribute more to the prosperity and development of the world economy.” The country “is ready to share this huge business opportunity with the rest of the world, and hopes to have a better cooperation environment for its development.”
According to the WEF, this offer extends both ways. As a major developing country, and as its economy expands, China is ready to “take up its responsibility in international affairs and take a more active part in international governance, and to do our best to provide international public goods.”
However, China still has 100 million people living under the poverty line, and its modernization process “will be long and cautious.” The premier underlined that “the international responsibilities and obligations China undertakes must be commensurate with both the level and approach of its development.”
The world we live in is characterized by change. “Changes call for innovation and innovation leads to progress,” said Li, comparing the views and values of his government and the Forum. “Innovation is the running theme and spirit of the policies adopted by the Chinese government, and it is the banner that we will always hold high.”