Global experts optimistic on China’s new GDP goal

Employees of China State Construction Engineering Corp work on a highway project in Wuhan, Hubei province, in January. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

China's pursuit of a new growth target and high-quality development — as emphasized in the Government Work Report delivered on Sunday by Premier Li Keqiang — will benefit not only the Chinese people but also the global economy, experts said.

The agenda follows concrete results in improving people's wellbeing and speeding up the development of social programs over the past five years, according to the report Li delivered on behalf of the State Council to the first session of the 14th National People's Congress in Beijing.

Khalid Taimur Akram, executive director of the Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Future, said the Chinese leadership's "center of focus is people". He said the people-centric work report has highlighted the milestones that were achieved, recognized current challenges and presented plans for advancement.

For this year, the report puts China's GDP growth target at around 5 percent. The Pakistani analyst said the target is "attainable".

Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said he believes the 5 percent target is "a realistic one", and noted that more interaction with Southeast Asian countries will help the region share China's growth.

"The trade in goods has been very vibrant. The focus should now be on the trade in services, and also the outward investment in regional countries," Oh said.

Masanari Koike, a former member of Japan's House of Representatives, said that China's GDP target is "aggressive" when compared with other large and developed economies. "But based on the fact that it is a little lower than the average of recent years, it seems not difficult to achieve," he said.

Koike also said that China's growth in the past decade had demonstrated the success of government strategies, such as promoting innovation, boosting productivity and creating new markets.

Anna Rosario Malindog-Uy, vice-president of external affairs for the Manila-based think tank Asian Century Philippines Strategic Studies, called the 5 percent target "conservative", saying that China's GDP growth this year will surpass that figure.

As an economic powerhouse, as well as the world's largest trading country and largest market, China's peaceful rise will benefit countries, especially those in the developing world, she said.

Speaking about China's focus on high-quality development, Koike said the country is seizing the time to reconsider ways of economic growth, which has depended on benefits from a huge population and low labor costs, thus moving toward a natural expansion of consumption and innovation.

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