In the wake of the Central Economic Work Conference and the lead up to the end of the year, Chinese President Xi Jinping has outlined 19 “major [economic] matters that must be done” in 2018.
China’s Central Economic Work Conference held on 18 – 20 December serves as a keynote event for signalling the intentions and concerns of Beijing’s policymakers for the upcoming year.
The Conference itself stressed the prevention of systemic financial risk, a shift from “quantity” to “quality” when it comes to economy growth, “firm and neutral” monetary policy, as well as the development of a long-term home leasing market to address problems in the housing sector.
The Chinese central government has since elaborated upon its plans for 2018, with The People’s Daily publishing an outline of the 19 key economic missions for the next year based upon the themes established by the Central Economic Work Conference.
“The Conference believes that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, and China’s economic development has also entered a new era, whose fundamental characteristic is that China’s economy has already shifted from a high-speed growth phase to a high-quality growth phase,” said The People’s Daily.
The 19 key economic missions for 2018 as outlined by Xi Jinping include:
1.Effectively prosecuting a vigorous war for the prevention and resolution of major risk.
According to The People’s Daily the “key is prevention of financial risk,” as well as “servicing the main line of supply-side structural reform, expediting the formation a positive cycle between finance and the real economy, finance and real estate and within the financial system.”
2. Effectively prosecuting a vigorous war for exact poverty alleviation.
This will involve “ensuring the quality of poverty allegation under current standards, and refraining from reducing standards…and providing precise assistance that targets specific disadvantaged groups.”
3. Effectively prosecuting a vigorous war for the prevention of pollution.
Beijing hopes to “enable the total volume of main pollution emissions to fall significantly,” and achieve an “overall improvement to the quality of the environment.”
4. Advancing the resolution of excess productive capacity.
For The People’s Daily this means “vigorously removing invalid supply, and making the dispel of ‘zombie enterprises’ a key means for advancing the resolution of excess productive capacity.”
5. Training a cohort of vanguard enterprises that possess innovative capability.
Beijing envisages the “strengthening of scientific and technical innovation, the promotion of the optimisation and upgrade of traditional industries…[and] actively advancing in-depth development integration the military and civilian sectors.”
6. Expanding the vigour of the investigation, punishment and rectification of irresponsible fee collection.
Alongside tax reductions, the Chinese central government says it will “vigorous reduce costs for the real economy, reduce the costs of systemic transactions, and continue to clean-up enterprise-related fee collection,” as well as “deep industry reforms for sectors including energy, oil and natural gas and railways…reduce energy usage and logistics costs.”
7. Reform the state-owned capital authorisation and operation system.
Beijing says it needs to “advance the strong, optimise and large usage of state-owned capital, improvements to state-owned enterprise and state-owned capital reform plans…and accelerate changes to the functions of regulators for state-owned assets.”
8. Lawfully screening and correcting ownership dispute cases to which society responds strongly.
This will involve “supporting the development of privately run enterprises and implementing policies for the protection of property rights,” as well as “comprehensively implementing and continuously improving the negative list system for market entry, removing discriminatory restrictions and various hidden impediments, and hasten the establishment of a new model for close and clear political and commercial relations.”
9. Implementing strategies for the revitalisation of rural villages.
According to The People’s Daily China will need to “scientifically formulate rural village revitalisation strategic plans…advance rural supply-side structural reforms and deepen reforms of the grain collection and storage system.”
10. Effectively formulate Xiong’an New Area plans from a high starting-point with high quality.
11. Reducing the import levies for certain products.
Xi calls for “expediting trade balances, focusing more on raising export quality and added value, actively expand imports, and reduce the import levies for certain products….continue to advance reform trials in free trade zones.”
12. Vigorous resolution of outstanding problems with “school selection mania” and “large classes.”
With respect to education, Xi is calling for “vigorously resolving the heavy extra-curricular burden borne by primary and middle-school students, and outstanding problems with ‘school selection mania’ and ‘large classes.'”
13. Effectively resolve employment gender discrimination and status discrimination problems.
14. Hasten the implementation of nation-wide overall preparations for aged care insurance.
“Reform and improve the basic aged-care insurance system…continue to effectively resolve the problems of medical treatment which is expensive and hard to access…encourage private capital to enter the aged care and medical treatment sectors.”
15. Vigorously resolve online false information fraud and other vigorous problems.
According to The People’s Daily this includes resolving the problem of the “re-sale of personal information.”
16. Hasten the establishment of a residential housing system with multi-party supply, multiple guarantee channels, giving equal play to leasing and purchasing.
As one of the key policy areas addressed by the 2017 Central Economic Work Conference, The People’s Daily further points to the need to “maintain the continuity and stability of real estate market control policies, clearly divide affairs and authority between the central and local governments, and implement differentiated controls.”
17. Launch large-scale state-owned greenification campaigns
For the central government this will involve “capital investments from multiple sphere, including state-owned enterprises, private enterprise, foreign enterprise, collectives, individuals and social organisations, and the training of a cohort of specialised enterprises that professionally engage in environmental restoration.”
18. The implementation of key actor responsibilities, and ensuring that the letter of the law is observed.
The Central Economic Work Conference requires the “strengthening of the ‘four awarenesses’ at all levels of the party and government, self-aware preservation of the central party’s authority and concentrated and unified guidance…improving the implementation, supervision, assessment, reward and punishment and other work mechanisms for the central party’s policy arrangements.”
19. Improving testing and evaluation organisations and supporting cadre innovation.
According to Xi this will involve “ascertaining short-comings and weak points, resolve actual problems…improve cadre testing and evaluation mechanisms, and support and explore bold innovation by cadres.”