China 5-year plan sets sights on economic growth

World Today

It was the clearest indication yet that China sees its own economic growth slowing down in the near future. The figure, 6.5 percent, for a new five-year period, due to start in January, is less than the current target of around 7.

Officials said not to worry.

“We have vast areas to expand. New urbanization holds huge potential demand. And innovation is increasingly driving the economy. Another important reason is that we have 1.3 billion people with 900 million laborers and more than 70 million market entities,” said Xu Shaoshi, the director of Chinese National Development and Reform Commission.

It is what the country needs to become what it calls a “moderately prosperous society” by 2020, according to the new five-year plan approved last week by the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee.

CCTV’s Roee Ruttenberg reports from Washington.

China's CPC releases more details about 5 year plan

The thirteenth five-year plan also outlines major policy changes. The government wants to speed up transforming rural areas into urban ones, aiming for 45 percent by the end of 2020. It's hoped that will boost consumer spending and infrastructure investment. Reforms also call for opening up the economy further for foreign investment and encouraging Chinese companies to invest overseas.

The plan also calls for deeper reform, rule of law, and “strict discipline of the party”. It also proposes ways to boost living standards, and reduce strain on the environment.

The Central Committee also vowed to build a “healthy China.” That includes greater support for traditional Chinese medicine, along with reform of public-owned hospitals, a salary increase for health-sector workers, improved access to health care resources, and a new two-child policy.

When the Central Committee’s meeting ended last week, it emerged that China’s ONE-child policy would indeed be scrapped, as had been speculated. Details released Tuesday include a proposal that families having difficulty implementing the new policy get government help. China’s legislative council, the National People’s Congress, is expected to approve the full plan when it convenes in March.

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