Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Wednesday, March 06, 2002

China Maintains Steady, Rapid Economic Growth in 2001: Minister

The national economy continued to grow rapidly with good performance and low inflation with the GDP hitting 9.5933 trillion yuan in 2001, an increase of 7.3 percent over the previous year, Zeng Peiyan, minister in charge of the State Development Planning Commission, said Wednesday.


The national economy continued to grow rapidly with good performance and low inflation with the GDP hitting 9.5933 trillion yuan in 2001, an increase of 7.3 percent over the previous year, Zeng Peiyan, minister in charge of the State Development Planning Commission, said Wednesday.

Zeng made the remark in his Report on the Implementation of the 2001 Plan for National Economic and Social Development and on the Draft 2002 Plan for National Economic and Social Development, to the second plenary meeting of the Fifth Session of the Ninth National People's Congress (NPC).

Fixed-asset investment in the country totaled 3.6898 trillion yuan, up by 12.1 percent. Market prices were stable and the consumer price level rose by 0.7 percent. Imports and exports totaled 509.8 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 7.5 percent, according to Zeng.

Government revenue grew rapidly. The financial deficit was kept below the budgeted figure. The financial situation remained stable. The net amount of cash put into circulation amounted to 103.6 billion yuan. The balance of international payments was satisfactory and China's foreign reserves totaled 212.2 billion U.S. dollars at the end of 2001. The registered unemployment rate in cities and towns was 3.6 percent. The natural population growth rate was held at 0.695 percent.

The successful convocation of the Ninth APEC Economic Leaders Meeting and other major international conferences in China, the country's accession to the World Trade Organization and Beijing's successful bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games are all indicators that China has further raised its international position and expanded its influence in international affairs.

In general, targets set in the 2001 plan for national economic and social development were basically met, and implementation of the Tenth Five-Year Plan got off to a good start, Zeng Peiyan said.

The minister then gave a detailed account of the country's economic conditions in 2001.

The proactive fiscal policy and the prudent monetary policy were continued, with treasury bonds playing an important role in promoting economic and social development. A total of 150 billion yuan worth of long-term treasury bonds was issued in 2001 as approved at the Fourth Session of the Ninth NPC. The investment in projects financed through treasury bonds totaled approximately three trillion yuan. This played a vital role in boosting economic growth, improving the economic structure, increasing employment, improving the people's living standards and enhancing the quality of bank assets.

Industrial restructuring was vigorously promoted, resulting in improved economic growth and better performance of the national economy. The distribution of agriculture continued to improve as production of major crops was gradually concentrated in areas with the best conditions. Fresh progress was made in industrial restructuring. High-tech industries developed rapidly and the electronic information industry grew by 28 percent. Total profits of state-owned and large non-state industrial enterprises hit 465.7 billion yuan, a rise of 8.1 percent.

Reforms related to the reform of state-owned enterprises continued to deepen and the institutional environment for economic and social development improved. The reform to introduce the shareholding system in state-owned enterprises was gradually standardized, and efforts were intensified to reform and reorganize enterprises that were performing poorly. Progress was made in reform of the management system in monopoly industries, with reform plans for telecommunications, power and civil aviation completed and inaugurated. Initial steps were taken to set up a system open to the participation of all sectors to provide credit and financial guarantees, mainly for small and medium enterprises.

Establishment of a social security system was accelerated.

There were initial results in rectifying and standardizing market order due to efforts to implement temporary solutions while seeking permanent solutions and focusing on the most crucial problems. The work was concentrated on the fight against smuggling, production and marketing of fake and shoddy goods, fraudulent export tax rebates, evasion of foreign exchange repayment, obtaining foreign exchange under false pretenses and other special cases.

Vigorous efforts were made to develop a more open economy, creating more space for economic growth. Despite an unfavorable international trade environment, the total volume of imports increased by 6.8 percent and exports by 8.2 percent. Imports of advanced technology and key equipment urgently needed domestically and raw and semi-finished materials in short supply continued to grow rapidly. Foreign direct investment in 2001 amounted to 46.8 billion U.S. dollars, a record high and an increase of 14.9 percent. Foreign investment in integrated circuits, computers, telecommunications products and other high-tech projects increased and the number of large projects financed by multinational corporations grew.

More steps were taken in the program to extensively develop the western region with improvements in planning and policy. Fixed-asset investment in the western region increased by 19.3 percent, six percentage points higher than in the eastern region, and in the central region, by 16.3 percent, three percentage points higher. A number of major projects were also launched last year.

Unremitting efforts were made to invigorate the country through science, technology and education and maintain sustainable development, with comprehensive progress in all social undertakings. Chinese scientists made breakthrough in human genome, working draft and database for rice genome and super server. With more investment in education, the number of students studying at colleges and universities has more than doubled since the policy of recruiting more students was introduced in 1999. Ecological improvement and environmental protection were intensified.

Development of culture, art, the press, publishing, radio, film, TV, social sciences, family planning, health, sports, preservation of cultural and historical relics and other undertakings was accelerated. Radio coverage reached 92.9 percent of the population and TV coverage, 94.1 percent.

Incomes of urban and rural residents continued to grow and the people's standard of living improved steadily. Retail sales of consumer goods totaled 3.7595 trillion yuan, an increase of 10.1 percent over the previous year. Tourism income totaled 499.5 billion yuan, an increase of 10.5 percent. Per capita disposable income of urban residents rose by 8.5 percent and per capita net income of rural residents increased by 4.2 percent.

While noting these achievements, Zeng Peiyan said there exist some problems in social and economic activities. The foundation for rural income growth is far from solid. Much remains to be done by quite a number of state-owned enterprises in terms of internal reform, operating mechanisms, technological progress and modern management. Unemployment pressure and the pressure on the social security system have increased. The deflationary tendency has yet to be completely eliminated. The internal mechanism for state-owned enterprises to increase their fixed-asset investment and the policy environment for non-state investment need to be improved.

Investment in science, technology and education and the pattern of trained and qualified personnel cannot meet the needs of economic development. Ecological environmental problems remain outstanding.

There are many uncertainties affecting export increase. Market order remains somewhat chaotic.

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