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Commentary: Time to discard growth rate fetish for China's economy

(Xinhua)    13:28, March 05, 2019

BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- For many years, growth figure has been the most buzzed-about subject regarding the Chinese economy.

Probably because of the "miracle" the Asian giant made with an average gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 9.5 percent in the past 40 years, far exceeding the 2.9-percent global economic growth in the same period.

However, one should not make a fetish of the growth rate. Also, economic slowdown is not necessarily a siren, not to mention a drag on the global growth.

China sets the 2019 GDP growth target at 6-6.5 percent, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in his government work report on Tuesday at the opening of the second session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislative body.

Last year, China's economy grew 6.6 percent, above the official target but lower than the 6.8-percent growth registered in 2017.

Some feared the world's second largest economy might experience a "hard landing," but they just cannot see the woods for the trees about the health of the Chinese economy.

Though slowing down, China's economy still grew at a medium-high rate, expanding to over 90 trillion yuan (13.3 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2018, an impressive accomplishment amid a subdued global economic outlook.

A key reason for the slowdown is that the Chinese government has chosen to shift its growth model from an investment-and-export-driven one toward a more sustainable style that draws strength from consumption, services and innovation.

It is a natural result of self-adjustment, and a proactive choice to create a robust, healthy and sustainable economy that benefits both the country and its people.

The shift has already delivered some tangible results with a steady growth of new economic drivers. Last year the tertiary industry accounted for 52.2 percent of China's GDP and consumer spending contributed 76.2 percent to economic growth, according to China's National Bureau of Statistics.

Continuing structural reforms for long-term development, China also implemented counter-cyclical fiscal and monetary policies to cope with the downward pressure in the short term.

The People's Bank of China, China's central bank, cut reserve requirement ratios four times in 2018, and announced on Jan. 4 a further reduction of the ratio by 100 base points to widen financial channels for enterprises. Policies including cutting tax rate for the private sector and reducing business red tapes will also boost investment and foster a more favorable environment for investors.

Meanwhile, China has also maintained the prudent monetary policy of keeping proper macro-regulation to strive for a balance among multiple policy targets.

The government has in mind the need to sustain economic momentum rather than resorting to massive economic stimulus, calling for further stabilizing areas including employment, the financial market, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment and expectations.

But China's economy is not free of challenges.

In his Tuesday work report, Li noted that the Chinese economy still faces such problems as a slowing down consumption growth, financial difficulties for micro and small enterprises and the short board in some key technologies. Yet Li also expressed his unshakable confidence to handle these problems.

That kind of confidence can find its roots in China's systemic ability to adjust its economic policies and to manage financial risks, as well as in its stable economic fundamentals and expectations.

Now that China has set its new target for growth with renewed pledge to push ahead reforms and opening-up, a high-quality Chinese economy is guaranteed.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Liang Jun)

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