Targets for quality growth

Updated: 2013-03-06 07:08

(China Daily)

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China has set lower economic targets for this year, which is a fair reflection of the country's continuing efforts to restructure the economy and tilt it in favor of higher quality growth.

The global economic uncertainties that have been the fallout from the financial crisis have cautioned domestic policymakers against potential growth pitfalls. As a result, the central government set an annual GDP growth target of 7.5 percent on Tuesday. The money-supply growth target was set at 13 percent and the target for fixed-asset investment was set at 18 percent.

The lower growth targets, together with the iron fist being shown to real estate speculation, unequivocally show the nation's determination to restructure the economy and make it less reliant on investment and monetary boosts.

After more than 30 years of rapid expansion, China's economy has become the world's second largest and people's living standards have greatly improved. However, its economic achievements have come with heavy price tags. For instance, the large energy and resource inputs required have caused environmental problems. These have tarnished the country's otherwise exceptional growth and risked making such growth unsustainable. Also, the strong and continued rise in house prices has led to concerns that the property bubbles will burst, which would be disastrous for the national economy. And the widening income gaps have provoked public discontent.

The solutions to these problems demand that the policy priority shift from growth driven by investment and exports to a more balanced and sustainable growth mode, even if this comes at the price of a declining growth rate. Such a policy orientation will help the country achieve stable growth in the long term and provide more leeway for its economic reforms to improve efficiency, protect the environment and make distribution fairer.

The lowering of growth-related targets for this year is a good start as China transitions to a more sustainable growth pattern. Now the paramount task for the nation is ensuring the new growth philosophy is widely respected and properly implemented.

We hope more measures will be applied to make local governments more accountable for their role in implementing the central government's platform for better-quality growth.

(China Daily 03/06/2013 page9)