China will tighten the macro-economic control measures to slow down its gross
domestic product (GDP) growth this year, a top economic planner said yesterday.
The country will, however, continue giving priority to the development of
rural economy and building a new socialist countryside.
The country's GDP grew by 10.7 percent to reach 20.94 trillion yuan ($2.68
trillion) last year, the fastest growth in 11 years.
Though National Development and Reform Commission secretary-general Han
Yongwen hoped the GDP growth would be slower this year, he didn't project a
figure. Usually, the National People's Congress does that at its March session
Han told a press conference that despite last year's impressive growth, some
problems had begun to show. "The most serious being excessive increase in
investment, too much loans and the huge foreign trade surplus."
Han conceded that there was a "gap" in China's goal of cutting energy
consumption and pollutants discharge last year. The country has a goal to cut
its energy consumption by 20 percent per unit GDP and key pollutants discharge
by 10 percent by 2010.
The final figures, especially data from local governments, are still being
collected, but the country has flunked its first green test, Han said.
"Though the energy consumption showed a decreasing trend in the third quarter
of last year, China was still some distance from reaching last year's goal of
reducing energy consumption by 4 percent."
An imbalanced economic growth pattern that relies excessively on high-energy
consumption and heavy-polluting industries to drive up the GDP combined with
poor energy conservation technologies are the causes of the failure, he said.
NDRC's economic operation department Vice-Director Zhu Hongren said China was
still facing challenges in its efforts to meet this year's energy-reduction
goal. And the situation could worsen if the imbalanced development of light and
heavy industries was not reversed.
Backward production technology and high-energy consumption still plague a
large number of the country's industries, he said. About 100 million tons of
iron and steel products are made in poor environment. Some power plants that
emit pollutants are still operating to meet the demand for electricity.
"Also, this year, part of the regions will get electricity. So we must be
alert against a possible resurgence high-energy consuming industries," Zhu said.
(China Daily 01/30/2007 page3)