Top leader highlights need for more efforts to shore up domestic demand, strengthen sci-tech self-reliance
A girl enjoys colorful lanterns at Kuanxin town in Xinyu, East China’s Jiangxi province on Feb 1. People across the nation are celebrating Lantern Festival, which falls on Feb 5. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, has stressed the need to accelerate the establishment of a new pattern of development with stronger steps to boost domestic demand, enhance self-reliance in science and technology and expand opening-up.
Presiding over a group study session of the Political Bureau of the 20th CPC Central Committee on Jan 31, Xi said such path is the only way in which China can consolidate the foundations of its economic development and enhance the security and stability of its development.
The fostering of a new pattern of development is a must if the nation is to enhance its strength to survive, compete, develop and sustain amid all sorts of predictable and unpredictable storms and high winds so as to ensure that the process of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation will not be delayed or interrupted, and the goal of building China into a great modern socialist country will be realized, he said.
Analysts said that Xi’s remarks, which were delivered three months after the conclusion of the 20th CPC National Congress and a month ahead of the annual session of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, charted the course for the nation’s post-COVID recovery and growth for the years to come.
During discussions with senior officials from the Political Bureau — the Party’s 24-member leadership body — Xi said a good job must be done in coordinating the expansion of domestic demand and supply-side structural reform, in order to achieve better balance between supply and demand and ensure a virtuous cycle of economic development.
Among the senior officials who spoke at the session were Yin Li, Chen Jining and Huang Kunming — the Party secretaries of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong province, respectively — as well as He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission.
Xi called for steps to establish and refine long-term mechanisms to expand consumer spending so that it takes place in an environment in which people have stable incomes and they can spend without worries. People would be willing to spend if the consumption environment is good and they have a strong sense of gain.
The nation must scale up its investment in high-tech sectors and strategic emerging industries and continue to stimulate private investment, he said.
Xi called for quicker steps in ensuring self-reliance in science and technology, in order to prevent containment by foreign countries.
The nation must build up its strategic strengths in science and technology, optimize its allocation of innovation-related resources and become a global pacesetter in key sectors, a pioneer in emerging areas, and a major science and innovation hub, he said.
He pledged continuous steps to deepen reform and opening-up, including quicker steps to develop a unified market nationwide and better fundamental systems for the market economy, including property rights protection, market access, fair competition and social credit.
Zhou Jingtong, deputy head of the research institute of Bank of China, said exploring the further growth potential of the domestic market is even more urgent for China this year as the global economy faces the risk of a recession.
“For China, shifting more focus to the domestic market doesn’t mean that the international market is no longer important. The nation must make parallel efforts on both fronts, with stronger steps to increase people’s incomes and improve the quality of products and services,” he said.
Gao Ming, a macroeconomics analyst at China Galaxy Securities, said Xi’s latest remarks signaled the importance of boosting domestic demand in the nation’s efforts to foster a new development pattern.
He said that Xi, at the Jan 31 meeting, had set out a holistic approach to boost demand and drive high-quality growth.
“Stronger consumer spending is a key driver to shore up China’s post-pandemic recovery,” he said. “A more comprehensive set of policies to boost domestic demand could be in the pipeline.”