China GDP: economic growth target may return after being dropped in 2020 amid coronavirus

01-Jun-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

China may resume the practice of setting annual economic growth targets after dropping the goal for 2020, a Chinese government official involved in drafting the government work report said on Friday.

Sun Guojun, a senior member at the State Council’s in-house research office, said that it is “generally better” to set an annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth target as it is a “benchmark” for many other indicators from inflation to income.

Sun said China dropped the target for 2020 the first time it had done so since 2002 because it is facing extraordinary uncertainty as “we can’t really predict the global pandemic situation”.

China did not set a 2020 growth target after its economy shrank 6.8 per cent in the first quarter, although some have called for China to give up setting the annual GDP figure all together.

Liu Shijin, the deputy director of the economic committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s top political advisory body, said that the government could instead just set targets for employment and a series of requirements for price, risk control and individual income.

China, abandoned annual economic growth rates for three straight years from 2000 to 2002 following the Asian financial crisis, is still eyeing a positive growth rate this year according to Premier Li Keqiang in his closing remarks on the final day of the National People’s Congress on Thursday.

“Protecting jobs, basic livelihoods and market entities, they all have a direct relation with economic growth … the development is the key and base for resolving all problems in China,” said Li, having confirmed China’s decision to drop the annual GDP target in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in his annual work report last week.

China had originally planned to double its GDP in 2020 from 2010, which would require the economy to grow by at least 5.6 per cent this year, although the Chinese government has yet to announce a revision of the target.


Category: China

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