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China Will Make New Strides in Coming Year, Premier Reports to NPC

March 5, 2016 (EIRNS)—Chinese Premier Li Keqiang gave a very upbeat government work report at the National People’s Congress yesterday, outlining the advances China had made during the last year and laying out an ambitious strategy for moving forward in the coming year. While he underlined the difficult conditions facing the country in light of the world financial crisis and the collapse of the traditional export market, he expressed confidence in being able to conduct the “difficult battle” with these conditions in order to maintain stability in the Chinese economy and to move forward in the face of this “new normal.”

“We will not be daunted by these problems and challenges,” Li said. “There is no difficulty we cannot get beyond.” He predicted that China would maintain a growth rate of between 6.5% and 7% in the coming year. The currency would remain stable and China would continue to increase the deficit (which is still far below that of any other major country), in order to maintain the tools needed to deal with any possible crises. He said, in addition, that the government would also keep other policy tools in reserve for any unforeseen developments in the years ahead.

There was a strong stress in the work report on innovation and investment in science and technology. Tax and credit policies would be geared to promote scientific development, the creation of new science centers and the financing of new projects on the frontiers of science. In particular, China would promote advanced scientific research on the evolution of the universe, material structure, the origin of life, as well as on brain function and cognition. China also hopes to make breakthroughs in core technologies such as information technology, new energy, new materials, aviation, biological medicine and intelligent manufacturing. Most importantly, of course, although not mentioned in Premier Li’s speech, is China’s commitment to explore in situ the far side of the Moon.

The country would continue to move from being a “trader of quantity” into a “trader of quality,” continually moving into more high-value and high-tech production areas. China this year intends to build 30,000 more miles of high-speed rail, connecting thereby 80 percent of the Chinese population to some high-speed rail link. The country also intends to create 50 million new jobs and lift 10 million more people out of poverty this year. China will also work to guarantee every Chinese youth access to a high-school education.

On the Belt and Road Initiative, which is a key element of the “new normal,” China will “continue to open up to the outside world,” opening new economic cooperation corridors and maritime hubs, creating an internal logistics network, and cross-border cooperation zones. In particular, China will continue its work on building the China-Mongolia-Russia corridor, the China-Central Asia-West Asia corridor, the China-Indochina Peninsula corridor, the China-Pakistan and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridors, as well as the new Eurasian Land-Bridge. China will engage in “industrial capacity cooperation” with other countries, being prepared to provide them engineers, equipment and technology for their own development needs and establishing Chinese trade market brands. China will set up overseas warehouses for this purpose. A capacity cooperation fund will be established to finance these projects. China will also continue to encourage more investment and trade in the central and western regions of the country and pursue a more active import policy. In addition, China will continue to reform their state-owned enterprises, which are still the backbone of the Chinese economy, and make them more efficient, and at the same time promote small- and medium-sized enterprises in order spur innovation and product development. The government will also move to establish a commercial banking structure in order to finance these enterprises. An ambitious program in these difficult circumstances offers great hope to mankind, Premier Li stated.

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