Published: 10:17, March 5, 2021 | Updated: 23:41, June 4, 2023
China targets GDP growth of more than 6 percent in 2021
By Xinhua

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers a government work report at the opening meeting of the fourth session of the 13th National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 5, 2021. (DING LIN / XINHUA)

BEIJING - China aims to expand its economy by over 6 percent in 2021, building on strong tailwind from success in containing COVID-19, as lawmakers gather in Beijing to map out priorities for high-quality development.

The gross domestic product (GDP) target is one of the many key goals laid out in a government work report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang on behalf of the State Council to the national legislature, which began its annual session Friday. "In setting this target, we have taken into account the recovery of economic activity," Li said. "A target of over 6 percent will enable all of us to devote full energy to promoting reform, innovation, and high-quality development."

China's national legislature opened its annual session Friday morning in Beijing.

The country's surveyed urban unemployment rate will be kept below 5.5 percent, and consumer prices will remain generally stable

Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders attended the opening meeting of the fourth session of the 13th National People's Congress, held at the Great Hall of the People.

READ MORE: China's top political advisory body starts annual session

Economy
This year, the country aims to create more than 11 million new urban jobs, lower the deficit-to-GDP ratio to 3.2 percent, and expand domestic demand and effective investment, which are expected to put the economy firmly back to pre-pandemic vibrancy - China's GDP growth rate was 6 percent in 2019.

In 2021, China will pursue high-quality development, advance supply-side structural reform, and consolidate and expand the achievements of the COVID-19 response and economic and social development, among other major tasks outlined in the report.

"These efforts will enable us to get off to a good start in the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2015) period and commemorate the centenary of the Communist Party of China with outstanding achievements in development," Li said in the report, amid rounds of applause in the Great Hall of the People.

According to the report, China has set its consumer inflation target at around 3 percent for the year of 2021 and will work to improve and ensure the solid implementation of tax-cut policies in 2021. Li pledged to set annual economic targets in light of actual circumstances during the Plan period.

The fourth session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) opens at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 5, 2021. (Li XIANG / XINHUA)

The country's surveyed urban unemployment rate will be kept below 5.5 percent, and efforts will be made to keep consumer prices generally stable.

Policy actions
During the same period, China will strengthen anti-monopoly efforts and contain disorderly expansion of capital, and ensure fair market competition. 

China will adopt a prudent monetary policy that is flexible, precise, appropriate and moderate in 2021 and will not make sharp changes to its macro-policies in 2021. 

China will expand effective investment this year, with a central investment budget of 610 billion yuan (about US$94 billion). The country will issue special-purpose local government bonds totaling 3.65 trillion yuan this year, and priority will be given to fund projects under construction. 

At the same time, China will keep the exchange rate of renminbi, the country's currency, generally stable at a reasonable and balanced level and will take prudent measures to advance the internationalization of its currency. 

China aims to achieve higher-quality development that is more efficient, equitable, sustainable, and secure over the next five years

Defense
China's annual defense budget will maintain single-digit growth for a sixth consecutive year by increasing 6.8 percent in 2021, according to a draft budget report made public on Friday.

This year's planned defense spending will be about 1.35 trillion yuan (about US$209 billion). China's defense budget is about one quarter of that of the US, which stands at US$740.5 billion for the 2021 fiscal year.

Reform and opening-up
China will implement opening-up policies in a wider scope, broader areas and at a deeper level and better participate in international economic cooperation. At the same time, the country will foster a world-class business environment during the 14th Five-Year-Plan (2021-2025) period. 

Also, the list of sectors that are off-limits for foreign investment will be further shortened in 2021 and China will steadily advance the reform to establish a registration-based IPO system. 

International trade and ties

China is actively considering joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)

China will work for the early entry into force and implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, strive to speed up the negotiations on a free trade agreement with Japan and the Republic of Korea and is actively considering joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). China is willing to expand two-way opening-up with other countries and achieve win-win results.
Also, China will participate in the pragmatic cooperation on the Arctic and the building of a "Polar Silk Road" and seek to deepen bilateral, multilateral and regional economic cooperation.
On Sino-US ties, Li said China will promote the growth of mutually-beneficial economic and trade relations with the United States on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

Climate push

China will make concrete efforts to achieve the peaking of carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060, according to the government work report. China will draw up an action plan for carbon emissions to peak by 2030 and improve its industrial structure and energy mix.

Domestic focus

On the domestic front, with great efforts, China is fully capable of ensuring food security for its 1.4 billion people, according to a work report submitted Friday to the national legislature for deliberation. In response to population aging, China will implement a state strategy to  during the 14th Five-Year Plan period. According ot the report, efforts will be made to achieve an appropriate birth rate and the statutory retirement age will be raised in a phased manner. 

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