Nation's plans for medium and longer term show clear direction, experts say
China's blueprint for its future development comes at a historic
turning point in which the country is set to play a bigger role in the
global economy, according to experts.
Their comments come after proposals for the country's 14th Five-Year
Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the
Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035 were adopted by the Fifth
Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of
China, which concluded on Thursday.
Martin Jacques, a British academic and author, said the proposals showed that China has a clear road map for the future.
He said the world will be observing the proposals more closely than
ever because of how China has handled the pandemic more successfully
than many Western countries.
"The world was already familiar with China's economic competence. Now
they know that China's governance can cope with the greatest of
challenges," he said. "2020 is the year of 'The Great Transition' when
the world will come to recognize China as the new global leader."
Edward Tse, CEO and founder of Gao Feng Advisory, a management
consultancy, also believes the proposals for China's medium－and
long-term growth show the country has a clear direction while many
developed countries are now just "scrambling".
"I regard this as a historical turning point and what China is
proposing will mean that it will play a more dominant role economically
and politically in the world. I think as a result more countries will be
willing to work with China, particularly from the emerging world," he
The communique issued at the end of the Fifth Plenary Session said
the country would achieve an economy of 100 trillion yuan ($14.9
trillion) this year and that the focus over the next five years will be
on the quality rather than the quantity of economic growth.
There will also be an emphasis on the domestic market in the new plan, according to the document.
China will adopt a "dual-circulation" development pattern under which
factors such as domestic consumption and indigenous technological
development will play as important a role in driving China's development
as any engagement with the international economy.
Setting out goals for the next five as well as 15 years is a break
from tradition. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central
Committee, made 2035 an important staging post for the country in his
report to the 19th CPC National Congress in October 2017.
By that time, China will aim to achieve major breakthroughs in key
technologies such as advanced manufacturing, cyberspace and digital
technology in order to become a global technological leader, according
to the communique.
There will also be a focus on improving the environment to achieve a "Beautiful China" within this period.
The new five-year plan and the longer-range objectives through 2035
will be worked on and consulted upon over the next few months and be
submitted to the National People's Congress, China's national
legislature, for approval next year.
Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization, a
Beijing-based think tank, said the five-year plan was an important one
because it is likely to steer China through the middle-income trap.
China was defined as an upper-middle-income country with a per capita
income of $10,410 in 2019, according to the National Bureau of
Statistics. The World Bank defines a high-income country as one with a
per capita income above $12,056.
"Many countries, particularly from Latin America, have failed to make
that breakthrough but China is putting the right policies in place such
as the focus on higher quality growth," Wang said.
Stephen Roach, a leading US economist and senior fellow at Yale
University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, said the emphasis on
domestic consumption was also important but that this should not be seen
as just a defense against an uncertain international economic
"With household consumption still less than 40 percent of China's
GDP－the lowest such share of any major economy－a more aggressive push
toward consumer-led rebalancing is long overdue," he said.