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Guidelines laid down for economic work in 2004
( 2003-11-30 08:07) (Xinhua)

China's annual Central Economic Work Conference ended Saturday, laying down guidelines for the economic work in 2004, underlining the general principle of comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development with the people's interests as top priority.

The meeting was jointly held by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council. CPC Central Committee General Secretary Hu Jintao and Premier of the State Council Wen Jiabao delivered speeches at the meeting.

According to the meeting, the economic work for 2004 should be carried out in line with the principles of maintaining a stable macro-economic policy while making appropriate readjustments, deepening reform, opening wider to the outside world, resolving problems by taking into account the overall situation, and striving for coordinated development.

The meeting urged governments at all levels to focus on eight aspects in managing the economic work for next year:

-- Consolidate and strengthen the fundamental role of agriculture in the national economy, and increase farmers' income by all possible means;

-- Readjust and optimize the industrial structure for the promotion of coordinated development of regional economies;

-- Work hard to boost employment and the reemployment of laid-off workers, and improve the social security network;

-- Expand the consumer demand and upgrade the living standards of both urban and rural residents;

-- Continue to implement a proactive financial policy and prudent monetary policy, and do fiscal and financial work well;

-- Accelerate the pace of economic restructuring, and continue the efforts to rectify and standardize the market order;

-- Open wider to the outside world for the promotion of foreign trade and the utilization of foreign investment; and

-- Take the overall situation into consideration for the advancement of social undertakings.

China will maintain continuity in its macro-economic policy toensure steady economic growth in 2004, according to the meeting.

The Chinese economy is in the upward phase of the economic cycle, and it is necessary to maintain the continuity and stability of its macro-economic policy to enhance confidence and stabilize the overall situation.

China will continue to stimulate its domestic demand, and implement its proactive financial policy and prudent monetary policy in the new year while making timely and proper readjustments to policy priorities for steady economic growth.

Efforts will also be made to step up tax collection nationwide to increase revenues while restructuring public expenditures, to ensure sufficient funds for key projects.

More public funds will be spent on agriculture and the rural economy, on social development, on the country's program of developing the western regions, and the revitalization of the old industrial bases in northeast China.

The sectors that will get more financial support from the statealso include environmental protection, re-employment, social security and key state construction projects.

The meeting called for the comprehensive use of various instruments in implementing the monetary policy, so as to produce better effect through the coordination of monetary, fiscal and industrial policies.

To maintain a prudent monetary policy, efforts should be made to properly control credit, improve the structure and maintain an adequate growth in money supply, according to the meeting.

The participants in the meeting pointed to the fact that the fundamental role of agriculture should always be upheld, with more efforts to be made in protecting farmland and raising farmers' income.

It has been a consistent strategy of the Chinese leadership to strengthen the fundamental role of agriculture and pay close attention to and conscientiously resolve the issues relating to agriculture, rural development and the rural population. The strategy must be carried on unswervingly.

To ensure the fundamental role of agriculture, great importance must be attached to protecting farmland, increasing grain production, safeguarding the interests of grain production areas and farmers, and raising farmers' income.

Resolute efforts must be made to stop illegal occupation of farmland for non-agricultural use, according to the meeting, which also stressed that the agricultural structure should be readjusted and optimized, the achievements in returning farmland to woodland should be consolidated so as to better plan agricultural production in different regions.

More government input should be made in agricultural infrastructure, especially in major grain production areas, to improve the farming and living conditions of farmers.

More efforts should be made in the spreading of agricultural technologies, so as to upgrade the volume and quality of farm produce and improve the competitiveness of farm products.

Reforms should be deepened in the rural tax system and farm product circulation system to relieve the heavy burdens on farmers.At the same time, the poverty-alleviation mechanism should be further improved.

Structural readjustment will continue to be a theme of China's economic development in 2004, with the high-tech, energy, communications and service industries to receive priority, according to the meeting.

The meeting heard that China is to accelerate development of the high-tech industry that features information technology as a major component. Meanwhile, advanced technology will be applied to transform traditional industries and improve the competitive power of China's manufacturing industry in an all-round way.

The meeting called for efforts to ease the bottlenecks in economic development, and pinpointed energy and communications as sectors that need to be reinforced.

It attached importance to further improving power-generation capacity and power grid construction, stepping up construction of large-scale coal production bases and accelerating the construction of key communications trunk lines and hubs. It also urged doing a good job of energy conservation and saving raw materials and water, as well as in the comprehensive use of important resources.

According to the meeting, it is necessary to accelerate the development of the tertiary industry, which is a major driving force in expanding employment, optimizing the industrial structure,improving the overall results of the national economy, and promoting coordinated economic and social development.

Efforts should be made to actively create policies and mechanisms conducive to accelerating the development of the tertiary industry, to raise its proportion in the national economyand improve the quality of the sector.

The meeting called for the coordinated development of regional economies, noting the importance of actively pushing forward the western development campaign and reinvigorating old industrial bases in the northeast region while encouraging the eastern areas to take the lead in realizing modernization.

The central authorities expect to gradually realize an economic pattern with the east, central and western regions dynamically linked, mutually beneficial and developing in a coordinated way.

The meeting also called for gradually rationalizing the pattern of income distribution, and improving the spending capacity of the general public.

The participants urged the strengthening of the publicly-owned economy and the forceful development of the non-publicly-owned one.

Efforts should be made to bring into full play the important role of the private sector in promoting economic growth, creating job opportunities and increasing tax revenues, they noted.

They urged governments at all levels to put the issue of employment higher on their work agendas, and strive to improve the environment for employment, while establishing a social security system compatible with the country's economic development.

Further efforts should be made to improve the environment for foreign investment, especially in providing better services and perfecting the related laws and regulations.

The participants also reviewed the country's economic development since the beginning of this year, agreeing that new achievements had been scored despite many challenges, including the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome and natural disasters.

They agreed that comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development should serve as both the basic principle in resolving problems in the current economic and social development and a major guideline for the long-term economic development of the country.

To ensure sound economic development, efforts should be made to coordinate the development between urban and rural areas, among different regions, between the economy and society, and between the economy and the environment.

They also called for intensified efforts to implement the strategy of rejuvenating the country through science and education,and through the cultivation of talented personnel.

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