April 13, 2024
Economy

‘Two sessions’ 2024: economy set to lead agenda for China’s top political advisory body


“The long-term positive economic trend will continue to consolidate and strengthen and the future is bright.”

02:31

China GDP: Beijing’s long to-do list to boost its economy in 2024

China GDP: Beijing’s long to-do list to boost its economy in 2024

Echoing state media outlets a day earlier, Liu cited increases in spending over the Lunar New Year holiday as signs of the country’s huge consumption potential.

In all, 474 million domestic tourists spent more than 632 billion yuan (US$87 billion) over the festive season, a 47 per cent rise in total expenditure from the same time last year, he said.

Liu’s upbeat turn comes amid scepticism at home and abroad over the country’s economic sustainability, and subdued private sector investment.

Liu said the economy had been a major concern for CPPCC members and the top advisory body had held many consultations on the issues, giving their feedback to the ruling Communist Party and the government.

Asked about Beijing’s plan to shore up private sector confidence, he repeated Beijing’s official line that the private sector could play an important role in innovation, jobs and livelihoods, noting that the CPPCC’s ranks included many entrepreneurs.

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“They understand the frontline situation and market dynamics,” Liu said.

“They also actively give feedback on social conditions and public opinion on the development of private enterprises, and take part in relevant research and consultation activities to promote the healthy development of the private economy and create a good business environment.”

Answering a question from an American reporter on youth unemployment, Liu said administrations throughout the country had distributed more than 300 billion yuan in employment grants and other targeted measures to support jobs for young people.

He said China would continue to implement a good policy mix, release the dividends of policies to promote employment, and “strengthen the stabilisation of the positive employment situation”.

Chinese soldiers march past Beijing’s Great Hall of the People where the annual congress will be held. Photo: AP

Xie Maosong, a senior researcher at the National Institute of Strategic Studies at Tsinghua University, said the CPPCC was one of the major channels for the party to solicit feedback on economic policies. It was also the body in the political apparatus that was closest to Chinese business elites.

“Many Chinese tycoons are recruited under the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce or some other organisations under the CPPCC. It is by design a channel for the ruling party to reach out to social and business elites who are not Communist Party members,” Xie said.

“Beijing certainly knows the economic situation. Besides main channels like the CPPCC, it has many other listening posts to get first-hand information. But it has to weigh the pros and cons of the suggestions so that China does not deviate from the long-term goal.”

Lian Ping, director general of the China Chief Economists Forum, said that in the past two years, “internationally, there have been many voices doubtful of China’s economic future, and domestically, there has been a gap between how people are feeling about the economy and what macro data are suggesting”.

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He said there had been strong downward pressure on the economy, especially the decline in the real estate sector, risks in the financial sector and heightened external pressure.

This week, observers would be looking to see how those problems will be remedied.

“Everyone hopes that through the two sessions, we can see some clear direction, have more confidence, and solve some problems,” he said.

Aside from major economic questions, Liu gave an update on the Belt and Road Initiative, saying China had signed more than 240 cooperation documents with more than 150 countries and more than 30 international organisations, “forming the world’s most extensive and largest international cooperation platform”.

“More and more people from different countries have reaped the benefits of policy communication and infrastructure connectivity in the high-quality Belt and Road Initiative,” he said.



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