Premier Li Keqiang Highlights Eight Economic Policy Goals for China in His Final Government Work Report

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Outgoing Premier Li Keqiang has outlined a total of eight economic policy goals for China in the final government work report delivered in his role as head of the State Council at the Two Sessions congressional event for 2023.

On 5 March Li delivered his final government work report before a meeting of the 2023 National People’s Congress (NPC) prior to his replacement by incoming premier Li Qiang (李强).

The report highlighted a total of eight focal points for China’s economy policy going ahead, including:

  1. Focus on expanding domestic demand, prioritize the recovery and expansion of consumption and increase the incomes of urban and rural households through multiple channels. “Stabilize large-scale goods consumption such as automobiles, and promote the recovery of consumption of daily services such as catering, culture, tourism, and sports. Government investment and policy incentives must effectively drive investment in the whole of society. This year, we have planned to arrange local government special bonds of 3.8 trillion yuan, accelerate the implementation of major projects as part of the ’14th Five-Year Plan’, implement urban renewal actions, promote regional complementary advantages, and continue to expand support for the economic and social development of areas that have been severely affected by the pandemic; encourage and attract more private capital to participate in the development of major national projects and projects for strengthening weak links, and stimulate the vitality of private investment.”
  2. Accelerate the development of a modern industrial system. “Strengthen the support of technological innovation for industrial development. Continue to carry out campaigns for strengthening the industrial chain and supplementation, focusing on the key industrial chains of the manufacturing industry. Concentrate high-quality resources to jointly promote breakthroughs in key core technologies, and fully stimulate the vitality of innovation. Strengthen domestic exploration and development of critical energy and mineral resources and increase reserves and production. Accelerate the digital transformation of traditional industries and small and medium-sized enterprises, and strive to improve the level of high-end, smart, and green [development]. Accelerate research and development into cutting-edge technologies and their application and promotion, and promote the commercialisation of scientific and technological accomplishment. Build an efficient and smooth logistics system. Vigorously develop the digital economy, improve the level of normalized supervision, and support the development of the Internet platform economy.
  3. Effectively implement the “Two Unwaverings.” Deepen the reform of state-owned assets and state-owned enterprises and improve the core competitiveness of state-owned enterprises. “Uphold the policy direction of category-based reform, properly handle the relationship between the economic responsibility and social responsibility of state-owned enterprises, and improve the modern corporate governance of state-owned enterprises with Chinese characteristics. Protect the property rights of private enterprises and the rights and interests of entrepreneurs in accordance with the law, improve relevant policies, encourage and support the development of the private economy and private enterprises, support the development of small, medium and micro enterprises and individual industrial and commercial registrants. Develop close government-business relationships, and create fair competition for enterprises of all types of ownership. Employ practical measures to stabilise market expectations and invigorate market confidence.”
  4. Greater efforts will be made to attract and utilize foreign capital. “Expand market access and increase the opening-up of the modern services sector. Apply equal treatment to foreign-invested enterprises. Actively promote accession to high-level economic and trade agreements such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), actively compare relevant rules, regulations, management, and standards, and steadily expand institutional opening-up. Optimize the arrangements for regional opening up, implement the strategy of upgrading the free trade pilot zone, and give full play to the pioneering role of open zones such as the Hainan Free Trade Port and various development zones. Continue to employ the role of the import and export sectors in supporting the economy. Do an effective job of serving foreign-invested enterprises, and promote the development of landmark foreign-funded projects. An open Chinese market will undoubtedly provide more opportunities for companies from all over the world to develop in China.”
  5. Effectively prevent and dispel major economic and financial risks. “Deepen the reform of the financial system, improve financial supervision, consolidate the responsibilities of all parties, and prevent the formation of regional and systemic financial risks. Effectively prevent and dispel the risks of high-quality leading real estate enterprises, improve the condition of their balance sheets, prevent disorderly expansion, and promote the stable development of the real estate sector. Prevent and dispel local government debt risks, optimize the debt maturity structure, reduce interest burdens, curb increase and resolve outstanding debts.”
  6. Stabilize food production and promote rural revitalization. “Promote agricultural modernization and rural modernization as a whole. Stabilize the grain cultivation area, do an effective job of oil production, and implement a new round of capacity improvement for 100 billion catties of grain production. Improve response mechanisms to ensure the supply and price of agricultural materials. Strengthen the protection of cultivated land, and strengthen the development of infrastructure such as farmland water conservation and high-standard farmland. Engage in the in-depth implementation of seed industry revitalization campaigns. Strengthen agricultural technology and equipment support. Improve the income guarantee mechanism for grain farmers and the compensation mechanism for the interests of major production areas. Establish a broad food perspective and build a diversified food supply system. Develop distinctive rural industries and broaden channels for farmers to increase their income and become rich. Consolidate and expand the achievements of poverty alleviation, resolutely prevent the large-scale return of poverty, and promote rural development campaigns. The state’s policy on extending the land contract period for another 30 years must be firmly implemented through meticulous work.”
  7. Promote the green transformation of China’s development model. “In-depth promotion of environmental pollution prevention and control. Strengthen the comprehensive management of river basins, strengthen the development of urban and rural environmental infrastructure, and continue to implement major projects for the protection and restoration of critical ecosystems. Promote the clean and efficient use of energy and technological research and development. Accelerate the development of a new energy system, and increase the share of renewable energy. Improve policies and financial tools to support green development, develop circular economies, promote resource conservation and intensive utilization, promote energy conservation, carbon reduction and pollution reduction in key areas, and continue to fight the battle to protect blue skies, clean water, and pure land.”
  8. Guarantee basic living standards and develop social undertakings. “Strengthen the development of the housing welfare system, support inelastic and improvement housing demand, solve the housing problems of new urbanites and young people, and accelerate the renovation of old communities and dilapidated houses. Accelerate the development of a high-quality education system, promote the high-quality and balanced development of compulsory education and the integration of urban and rural areas, promote the inclusive development of preschool education and special education, vigorously develop vocational education, promote higher education innovation, support the development of colleges and universities in the central and western regions, and deepen the integration of sports and education. Deepen the reform of the medical and health system, and promote the coordinated development and governance of health insurance, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals.”

With regard to the role of the Chinese government in the economy, Li called for “further strengthening the self-development of government, continuing to change the professional role of government, effectively engaging in institutional reform, firmly advancing the development of a services-model government with rule-of-law that is innovative and clean, and raising administrative efficiency and public trust.”