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China's plan for revival offers hope

China Daily | Updated: 2020-05-29 10:33
A photo shows a night view of the CBD area in downtown Beijing, capital of China. [Photo/Sipa]

While the Government Work Report did not set a target for China's GDP growth this year, proposed measures to revive the domestic economy have raised hopes in countries emerging from the coronavirus pandemic, analysts have said.

Premier Li Keqiang delivered the report on May 22 at the opening of the third session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing.

It is sensible for China to focus on stimulating the economy instead of setting a growth target for 2020, given the shock to the global economy from COVID-19, said Rana Mitter, a professor at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

The key goal, Mitter said, is to grow the economy "evenly and in a way that addresses fairness" and not just the overall growth figures.

"Allowing more access to local government finance through bonds may boost employment, though it will be important not to let debt go out of control," he said.

"Attention to housing policy will also address the serious problem of property speculation."

Steve McCabe, an associate professor at Birmingham City University, said China can "reset" its economy by not setting development targets, and should invest more in environmentally friendly industries.

"Setting targets would seem to be pointless until stability returns, ...it's almost impossible to know what demand is going to be," he said.

His view is echoed by Oleg Timofeev, an associate professor at the People's Friendship University of Russia.

Though China has a huge domestic market that is recovering from the disruptions caused by the pandemic, exports still occupy a big part of the whole picture, Timofeev said.

"The government has not yet properly calculated the final figures on the exact damage that the COVID-19 epidemic has caused to China's economy," he said.

"China's economy still remains, to a large extent, export oriented. But China's key trading partners-the United States and Europe-are just at the beginning a long road ahead to recovery."

China had made a very rational step by not setting a specific GDP growth target for 2020, Timofeev added.

He also praised China's help to others-via the World Health Organization, the African Union and to more than 130 countries-in the face of the pandemic. Such assistance reinforces the image of China as a responsible player in the international community.

Zhou Fei, chief program officer at World Wildlife Fund China, said the organization is encouraged to hear of China's commitment to further raise public awareness on the threats posed by the illegal wildlife trade. His organization hopes the Chinese legislature will continue its efforts to better protect wild animals.

"We believe that revising the law to permanently prohibit the consumption of wildlife provides a unique opportunity for China to demonstrate global conservation leadership," Zhou said.

Mitter also praised the measures that ban the trading in wildlife, saying they are "vital to create a phytosanitary environment that will prevent health emergencies".

Han Baoyi, Angus McNeice, Bo Leung in London; Ren Qi in Moscow and Liu Xuan in Beijing contributed to this story.

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