As the Chinese government sets out its annual work report, PublicAffairsAsia highlights the economic and policy commitments Premier Wen Jiabao will make to the people’s congress in Beijing
The Government’s Major Targets for 2012:
• GDP is targeted to grow by 7.5 percent: down on previous years and the government pledges to keep inflation – the Consumer Price Index (CPI) – at or around 4 per cent.
• The leadership commits to the creation of nine million new jobs in towns and cities. The government says the registered urban unemployment rate will not exceed 4.6 percent.
• The volume of total exports and imports will be targetted to increase by around 10 percent.
• China intends to make further progress in industrial restructuring, innovation, energy conservation, and emissions reduction. It will also seek to ensure that both urban and rural residents’ real incomes increase in line with economic growth.
• An operational government deficit of 800 billion yuan is projected, a decrease to around 1.5 percent of GDP, consisting of 550 billion yuan in central government deficit and 250 billion yuan in local government bonds.
China as a Global Player:
• China says it will actively participate in building mechanisms for global economic governance such as the G20 and pledges to continue to play a constructive role in the Doha Round of trade talks.
• The government commits to “active participation” in multilateral affairs and global governance and contribute to “making the international political and economic order more just and equitable”.
The wellbeing of the Chinese People:
• The government says China will make every effort to increase employment and insists that it must continue to follow the strategy of giving top priority to employment.
• By the end of the year, the country will have achieved full coverage of the new old-age pension system for rural residents and the old-age pension system for non-working urban residents.
• The government confirms it will raise subsidies for medical insurance for non-working urban residents and the new type of rural cooperative medical care system to 240 yuan per person per year.
• Ministers say they will continue to keep the birthrate low and pledge to redress gender imbalance.
• Policies will be developed to deliver develop low-income housing, and deliver 5 million units and start construction on over 7 million units.
The Fiscal and Monetary Issues:
• The government remains committed to implementing a proactive fiscal policy. The government will increase spending on areas “important to people’s wellbeing”.
• China says it will continue to implement a “prudent monetary policy”. The broad money supply is projected to increase by 14 percent, ministers say.
• The government will make the floating exchange rate regime more flexible and intends to keep the RMB exchange rate “basically stable” at an “appropriate and balanced level”.
China’s Price Controls and Inflation:
• Central government intends to control prices and prevent inflation from rebounding by effectively carrying out macroeconomic policies, managing the supply of money and credit, and striving for basic equilibrium in aggregate supply and demand.
The Agricultural Economy:
• Ministers will step up efforts to increase farmers’ income, support agricultural technology development, develop rural infrastructure and protect farm land.
• The government’s central fiscal plan will allocate 1.23 trillion yuan for agriculture, rural areas and farmers, 186.8 billion yuan more than last year.
• Ministers want to accelerate the transformation of the economic development pattern and carry out strategic adjustment of the economic structure. The government says this is “both a long-term and most pressing task at present”.
Nuclear Energy and Safety:
• The government says it will safely and effectively develop nuclear power provision within the country.
The Urban Environment:
• China will start monitoring fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze River delta, the Pearl River delta and other key areas as well as in municipalities directly under the central government and provincial capital cities in 2012.
• The monitoring will be extended to all cities at and above the prefectural level by 2015.
The Marine Environment:
• China says it wants to “go blue” and formulate and implement a strategy for marine development, and promote the development of the marine economy.
Spending More in Education
• The central government has prepared its budget to meet the requirement that government spending on education accounts for 4 percent of the GDP.
• The government will also enhance school bus safety to ensure children’s safety.
Social Conflict and Unrest:
• The government says it will “work hard to resolve social conflicts”.
• It will also actively yet prudently carry forward the reform of the household registration system.
• Ministers plan to develop and improve management of the Internet and “foster a healthy cyberspace environment”.
China’s Cultural Development:
• China will “vigorously promote” nonprofit cultural services and strengthen cultural infrastructure in communities, particularly in rural areas and the central and western regions.
Key Areas for Future Reform:
• The government says it will transform public sector functions and balance the relationship between government and the market.
• It will advance reform of the fiscal and taxation systems, deepen reforms of land, household registration and public services and carry forward reforms in social programs and income distribution.
• Ministers pledge that they will run government in accordance with the law and promote innovation in social administration.
• The government will also encourage nongovernmental investment in railways, public utilities, finance, energy, telecommunications, education, and medical care.
Opening China to the World:
• The government has pledged to maintain steady growth in foreign trade and will encourage more foreign investment in advanced manufacturing, new
and high technologies, energy conservation, environmental protection, new service industries, and the central and western regions.
• It will support companies making overseas investments, strengthen risk management of overseas investments and protect the safety of employees and assets of Chinese enterprises operating overseas.
• The government says it will “vigorously carry out military training under information-age conditions”.
• China will ensure the armed forces resolutely accomplish the tasks of combating terrorism, maintaining stability, handling emergencies, and relieving disasters.
The future of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan:
• The central government will fully support Hong Kong and Macao in growing their economies, improving the people’ s wellbeing and promoting democracy.
• In 2012, the mainland will strengthen the political, economic, and cultural foundation and public support for growing cross-Straits relations and make further progress in promoting the peaceful development.