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October 27, 2017

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Doubling GDP no longer to be a target from 2021

STARTING in 2021, China will not set a goal of doubling its gross domestic product so it can focus more on higher-quality, long-term growth, a senior Party official said, in a break from past practice.

The world’s second-largest economy is on track to hit its target of doubling GDP and per capita income by 2020 from 2010, and market speculation over new targets had intensified in the run-up to the twice-in-a-decade Party congress that ended on Tuesday.

While China’s pursuit of strong growth targets over the years has helped lift the global economy from recession after the financial crisis, its corporate and local government debt has soared, regional economic disparities have widened and environmental damage has worsened.

Yang Weimin, vice director of the Office of the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs, told a news conference in Beijing yesterday that China will not solely pursue economic expansion and will emphasize the quality of its growth.

The shift away from ambitious long-term government growth targets is a departure from past practice, and marks a new strategy for longer-term economic development.

In his speech at the opening of the Party’s 19th National Congress last week, President Xi Jinping did not explicitly mention the goal of doubling GDP by 2020. Throughout the gathering, there were also no public announcements about economic growth targets.

Instead, Xi set broad long-term goals for China’s development “in a new era,” envisioning it as a modern socialist country by 2035 and a modern socialist “strong power” with leading influence on the world stage by 2050.

Xi said China would deepen economic and financial reforms and further open up its markets to foreign investors as it looks to move from high-speed to high-quality growth.

China’s economy grew 6.7 percent last year, the slowest in 26 years, and the government has targeted expansion of around 6.5 percent this year.

Analysts believe the government will continue to set annual targets through to 2020.

“Macro-economic policies will focus more on employment, income growth and international balance of payments,” said Tang Jianwei, senior economist at Bank of Communications in Shanghai.



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