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CEWC stresses reform, quality of economic growth

Updated: 2013-12-14 07:14
By Li Yang ( China Daily)

Even though the Chinese economy is still growing at a robust pace, the government must be aware of the pressures caused by the slowdown in growth, said the statement of the just-concluded Central Economic Work Conference.

The document also warned of the serious overcapacity in some industries, labor problems, the worsening environment, food and drug safety issues and public security conditions.

Participants in the meeting said that the global economy will continue to see a slow recovery next year amid uncertainties in major countries' monetary, trade and investment policies and price fluctuations for commodities, while the driving forces for new growth remain unclear.

The statement stressed that reform is the core task for next year's economic work, and that the reform blueprint mapped out in the Third Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China points out a clear direction for further reform and prioritizes the quality of the development process rather than the speed of growth.

The conference listed six key tasks for the nation's economic work next year.

First, the government must guarantee grain security by implementing strategies to treat domestic producers as the country's main food suppliers. It should improve domestic production capacity with technological support and limit imports.

China should rely on itself for its population's grain supply, focus national resources to ensure that key projects are accomplished, make sure that grains produced at home meet the nation's demand and guarantee the security of agricultural products. The government must also upgrade the country's agricultural development model.

Second, the government must overhaul the nation's industrial structure, tackle overcapacity issues and achieve innovation-driven development. Governments at various levels must strictly carry out the central authority's guidelines to digest overcapacity, develop strategic emerging industries, accelerate the development of all kinds of service sectors and promote the optimization of traditional industries.

The government should also create an environment that allows companies to innovate, strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights and improve tax policies to boost innovation.

Third, the government must make an effort to control the debt risks of local governments. It should strengthen regulations for local governments' debt issuance and classify local governments' debt into different categories. It should also implement an accountability system to tackle the local governments' debt issue. Provincial, regional and city governments must take responsibility for the debt issues in their areas.

Fourth, the government must actively promote the coordinated development of all the regions, deepen the implementation of overall regional development strategies, improve and create new regional development policies and pay attention to cross-regional and sub-regional development planning programs. It must also pay attention to poverty-alleviation projects.

Fifth, the statement said that the government must improve citizens' living conditions by "defending the bottom line, doing well in key points, improving systems and guiding public opinion". It should treat labor issues as one of the priorities of its work, especially the college graduate employment issue and the reemployment of laid-off workers generated in the process of tackling overcapacity.

The government should also make efforts to solve housing issues and increase the construction and supply of public housing.

Sixth, the government should improve the nation's opening-up process. China should maintain its traditional export strengths, create new comparative advantages and competitive edges, but should also boost imports of equipment and technology that are badly needed for its domestic restructuring process and the transformation of its development model.

The government should promote negotiations for free trade areas, steadily push forward talks for investment agreements, create a stable, transparent and fair investment environment and protect the legal rights and interests of investors. It should strengthen its guidance and services for foreign-bound investors and simplify administrative approval procedures for foreign-bound investment applications. It should also promote the construction of the Silk Road economic belt and of the 21st Century Silk Road on the Sea, the document said.