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Market-driven economy targeted
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11:09, September 03, 2009

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Chinese leaders should rethink the country's reform package amid changing global and domestic situations and take "quicker and radical" steps to move toward a market-oriented economy by 2020, said a senior political advisor.

The reform measures should speed up urbanization, break down industry monopolies by the State, deregulate energy, offer equal social welfare for both rural residents and urbanities, and improve the government's efficiency.

"Our top leaders should take quicker and radical measures in these endeavors within the coming two or three years. By doing so, China can do a better job in post-crisis management as well," Chi Fulin, president of the China (Hainan) Reform and Development Research Institute told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

"Looking at the goal of realizing a market economy by 2020, we cannot afford to lose the time window of the next two or three years in the reform."

Chi, also a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the highest political advisory body, praised the government's swift launch of reform measures to counter the negative impact of financial crisis.

"The most important thing is that there is consensus among the leadership to reform and they are acting now," said Chi. "What I am advocating is to carry on the momentum and try to make a big breakthrough as soon as possible."

When the financial crisis hit the world last year, Chi and other leading economists became concerned that China could not manage the financial crisis well without deep-rooted reform measures.

After working for nearly a half-year, a five-expert panel led by Chi unveiled a "reform package" in March, saying these measures need to be urgently implemented to ensure that China's stimulus programs works effectively. Price deregulation of resource products and reducing the State's industry monopoly topped the 14-point reform package prepared by the renowned economists.

"The suggestions in the reform package have been gradually materializing," said Chi.

In the first half of this year, China started to link its refined oil prices to the fluctuations of the global market. And officials also sped up reforms to the country's medicare system in both cities and rural regions.

In the post-crisis era, the urgency of reform should be emphasized, during a time when demand for Chinese output is decreasing globally and at home, Chi said. China wants to move to the upper end of the consumption chain after three decades of development, he said.

China has been faced with tremendous challenges to transform its development pattern, which is dependent upon domestic consumption, Chi said.

"Whether consumption can become a leading engine of China's economy depends on how successful the reform is," said Chi.

Source:China Daily

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