China’s National Development Reform Commission offers rosy trade outlook


CHINA-POLITICS-HE-LIFENG-NDRCHe Lifeng, the Director of the National Development and Reform Commission, prepares his documents before a press conference at the ongoing annual National People’s congress (NPC), China’s legislature in Beijing on March 6, 2018. (AFP PHOTO)

Day two of The National People’s Congress was spent reviewing the goals of the work report presented Monday.

Topping the agenda were briefings from the National Development Reform Commission. China’s economic planning body discussed the GDP growth target, and its goal of high-quality development.

CGTN’s Xia Cheng reports.

China’s economic planner explained what’s behind the 6.5 percent GDP growth target on Tuesday, just a day after the release of the government work report.

The NDRC admitted that Gray Rhino risks persist, including huge debt piles among local governments and corporations, and the potentially larger than expected scale of bad loans in banks.

But the chairman of NDRC gave a rosy outlook on trade and investment.

“We expect more balanced investments this year, and higher investments going into the real economy,” He Lifeng said. “We also encourage private investments. Overall, investment will bring one third of the economic output.”

China needs solid economic fundamentals to buffer the short-term economic shock from the deleveraging drive, and wants extra debt out of the economy.

Meanwhile, the NDRC said foreign investment is a crucial part of China’s economic performance.

“China will give fair treatment to foreign investors participating in the Made in China 2025 project, and those who are bidding for technology businesses and government purchasing programs,” Ning Jizhe, NDRF vice chairman, said. “In 2018, China will expand the use of negative list for foreign investors nationwide in the free trade zones.”

Whatever measures are put forward, China’s main goal is to boost quality growth. The NDRC plans to cut 150 million tons of extra coal production capacity this year, two years ahead of schedule.

It also wants to experiment with top quality control in the new Xiong’an economic zone just outside of Beijing.

“We will apply existing reforms in Xiong’an to form a quality control mechanism for Xiong’an on the planning, construction and operation of local projects,” according to He Lifeng. “We will also promote that quality measurement nationwide.”