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Jobs, farmers' income top economic plan
( 2003-12-01 07:45) (China Daily)

China's annual Central Economic Work Conference ended in Beijing on Saturday after establishing guidelines for 2004.

Those guidelines emphasize the general principle of comprehensive, co-ordinated and sustainable development while at the same time making the people's interests the 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, which urged governments at all levels to focus on the following eight points in managing the economic work for next year:

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

L Re-adjust and optimize the industrial structure for the promotion of co-ordinated development of regional economies.

L Work hard to boost employment and the re-employment of laid-off workers and improve the social security network.

L Expand the consumer demand and upgrade the living standards of both urban and rural residents.

L Continue to implement a proactive financial policy and prudent monetary policy, and do fiscal and financial work well.

L Accelerate the pace of economic restructuring, and continue the efforts to rectify and standardize the market order.

L Open wider to the outside world for the promotion of foreign trade and the utilization of foreign investment.

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

The meeting indicated 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 re-adjustments 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.

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.

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.

Structural re-adjustment 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 noted that China will 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 the co-ordinated development of regional economies, noting the importance of actively pushing forward the western development campaign and re-invigorating old industrial bases in the northeast region while encouraging the eastern areas to take the lead in realizing modernization.

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, participants 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 (SARS) and natural disasters.

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