He Lifeng, minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, gestures to reporters on Tuesday. [Photo by Wang Zhuangfei/China Daily]
Confidence based on expected rises in consumption, investment and trade
China is confident it will meet its 6.5 percent annual growth target this year, with more efforts to implement supply-side reforms and further promote economic opening-up, a key minister said on Tuesday.
He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, the nation's top economic regulator, told journalists in Beijing that China is capable of achieving the target set in the Government Work Report, as it expects stable growth in consumption, investment and trade.
The work report was delivered on Monday.
The overall growth target is set at 6.5 percent this year, unchanged from the 2017 target. Consumption is expected to contribute around 60 percent of total economic growth, He said.
"The government will continue to make investments in key fields to fill economic shortfalls and boost the nonfinancial sector," He said, adding that additional measures will be introduced to encourage more private investment.
The central budget for investment, which is used to guide and leverage social capital, is expected to reach 537.5 billion yuan ($84.7 billion), up by 30 billion yuan over the previous year, according to the commission's draft plan for national economic and social development.
The draft requires approval by the NPC, the nation's top legislative body.
Investment is expected to contribute around one-third of this year's growth, He said.
Trade is expected grow steadily, contributing around 8 to 9 percent of total economic growth this year, he said, "if the world economy is able to continue its pace to recover from the 2008 turmoil."
More measures will be introduced this year to widen market access for foreign investors in key areas such as financial services, he added.
Meanwhile, China will continue to implement supply-side reforms and improve its economic structure as the country switches gears from high-speed growth to high-quality growth, said Ning Jizhe, vice-minister of the commission.
China plans to cut its steel capacity by 30 million metric tons and coal capacity by 150 million tons this year, Ning said, after making better-than-expected progress in capacity reductions in the two sectors.
To better achieve high quality growth at the local level, the government should rely more on cleaner, sustainable drivers, "even though it would generate short-term pain", said Shen Xiaoming, governor of Hainan province.
Shen said that GDP growth should play a less important role in evaluating local officials' performance. Instead, he said, more emphasis should continue to be placed on officials' achievements in environmental improvements and protection.