BEIJING – Following is the full text of the Report on the Work of the Government delivered by Premier Li Keqiang at the Third Session of the Twelfth National People’s Congress on March 5, 2015 and adopted on March 15, 2015:
REPORT ON THE WORK OF THE GOVERNMENT
Delivered at the Third Session of the 12th National People’s Congress on March 5, 2015
Premier of the State Council
On behalf of the State Council, I will now report to you on the work of the government for your deliberation and approval, and I invite comments on my report from the members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
I. A Review of the Work in 2014
Over the past year, the international and domestic environments faced by China in its development have been complicated and challenging. The road to global economic recovery has been rough, with many ups and downs, and the performance of the major economies has been divergent. Downward pressure on China’s economy has continued to mount, and we have faced an array of interwoven difficulties and challenges.
However, under the firm leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) headed by General Secretary Xi Jinping, all our people have worked together as one, surmounted difficulties, and accomplished the year’s main targets for economic and social development. We have made solid progress in our endeavor to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, got off to a good start in comprehensively deepening reform, embarked on a new journey to fully advance the law-based governance of China, and seen progress in the all-round strengthening of Party self-conduct.
During the past year, China has, overall, achieved a stable performance while at the same time securing progress in its economic and social development. The main indication of this stable performance is that the economy operated within an appropriate range.
— The growth rate was steady. China’s GDP reached 63.6 trillion yuan, an increase of 7.4% over the previous year, making China one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world.
— Employment remained robust, with 13.22 million new urban jobs created, which is higher than the figure for the previous year.
— Prices were stable, with the CPI rising by 2%.
The underlying feature demonstrating progress is that our development is becoming better coordinated and more sustainable.
— The economic structure was upgraded. Grain output reached 605 million metric tons; the contribution of consumption toward economic growth rose by three percentage points to 51.2%; the value added of the service sector increased from 46.9% to 48.2% of the GDP; and there was a constant stream of new industries, new types of business, and new business models. The central and western regions grew faster in economic terms than the eastern region.
— The quality of development was raised. Revenue in the general public budgets grew by 8.6%. Research and development spending accounted for more than 2% of the GDP. Energy intensity was cut by 4.8%, the biggest reduction made in recent years.
— People’s lives were improved. Per capita disposable personal income increased by 8% in real terms nationwide, growing faster than the economy, and the per capita disposable income of rural residents grew by 9.2%, outpacing that of those living in urban areas. In rural areas, the number of people living in poverty was reduced by 12.32 million, and over 66 million more people gained access to safe drinking water. The number of outbound trips made by Chinese tourists exceeded 100 million.
— New breakthroughs were made in reform and opening up. A series of key tasks for comprehensively deepening reform were launched, and the goal of the current administration to cut the number of items that require government review by one third was achieved ahead of schedule.
These achievements have not come easily. They have been made possible by the painstaking efforts and hard work of all our people, and they have strengthened our resolve and confidence to keep pushing ahead.
Over the past year, we have faced more difficulties and challenges than anticipated. We have risen to the challenge and accomplished the following in our work.
First, on the basis of range-based macro regulation, we exercised targeted regulation to keep the economy growing steadily.
In the face of mounting downward economic pressure, we maintained strategic focus and kept our macroeconomic policy unchanged. Instead of using short-term stimulus measures, we continued to develop new ideas and methods for macro regulation. We exercised targeted regulation, stimulated market activity, shored up our weak spots, and boosted the real economy. With a keen understanding of the appropriate range within which the economy needs to be operating, we adopted targeted steps to address the serious issues and structural problems hindering development. We promoted reform to gain impetus for development, made structural adjustments to produce support for development, and improved living standards to increase the potential for development. We both expanded market demand and increased effective supply, working to ensure that structural adjustments were made without compromising the growth rate.
We have been effectively implementing proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy. We increased targeted tax reductions, reduced fees across the board, extended the coverage of tax relief policies to benefit more small and micro businesses, and expanded the trials to replace business tax with VAT to cover more industries. We sped up the process of making budgetary funds available for fiscal expenditures and put surplus budgetary funds to good use. By flexibly utilizing monetary policy instruments, making targeted cuts to required reserve ratios, carrying out targeted re-lending, and making asymmetric interest rate cuts, we stepped up support for weaker areas in economic and social development. Increases in loans made to small and micro businesses, and loans for agriculture, rural areas, and farmers, outdid the average increase in loans overall by 4.2 and 0.7 percentage points respectively. At the same time, regulation of the financial sector was improved and regional and systemic risks were forestalled.
Second, we deepened reform and opening up and invigorated economic and social development.
To address obstructions holding back development caused by certain systems and mechanisms, we comprehensively deepened reform, invigorating the market to offset downward economic pressure. We tackled many tough issues and carried out structural reforms in the economic, political, cultural, societal, and ecological sectors.
We have made solid progress in key reforms. We formulated and implemented a coordinated plan for deepening the reform of the fiscal and tax systems. Important progress was made in the reform of the budgetary management and tax systems. The number of items receiving special transfer payments was over one third less than that of the previous year, and the proportion of transfer payments for general purposes was increased. Management of local government debt was strengthened. The floating ranges of interest rates on deposits and exchange rates were expanded. New steps were taken in the trials to establish private banks. The Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect was launched on a trial basis. The scope for using foreign exchange reserves and insurance funds was broadened. Price reforms in energy, transport, environmental protection, and communications were accelerated. We launched reforms to the system for managing research and development funding, the school examination and enrollment systems, the household registration system, and the pension system for employees of Party and government offices and public institutions.
We have continued to give the central stage in reform to streamlining administration and delegating more powers to lower-level governments and to society in general while improving regulation. Over the course of the year, departments under the State Council cancelled the requirement of or delegated the power for review on 246 items. We cancelled 29 performance evaluations, inspections on the meeting of standards, and commendations, and 149 verifications and approvals of vocational qualifications. We again revised and significantly shortened the list of investment projects requiring government review. We channeled great effort into the reform of the business system. The number of newly registered market entities reached 12.93 million, with that of enterprises increasing by 45.9%, creating a fresh surge of entrepreneurial activity. While economic growth slowed down, more jobs were created, which fully demonstrates both the tremendous power of reform and the endless potential of the market.
We drew on further opening up to boost reform and development. We expanded the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone and established similar zones in Guangdong, Tianjin, and Fujian. We worked to keep exports stable and increase imports, and China’s international market share in exports continued to increase. Foreign direct investment actually made in China reached $119.6 billion, making the country the world’s top destination for foreign direct investment. China’s outward foreign direct investment reached $102.9 billion, meaning that outward investment has come to draw even with inward investment. China’s free trade zone arrangements with Iceland and Switzerland were officially launched, and China completed substantive talks on free trade zones with the Republic of Korea and Australia. Major progress was made in cooperation with other countries in fields such as railways, electric power, oil, natural gas, and communications. Chinese equipment is making significant strides into the international market.
Third, we stepped up structural adjustments to make China’s development more sustainable.
We took proactive steps to address prominent structural problems and supported the development of certain areas while containing the development of others, focusing on urgently needed initiatives that promise long-term benefits. Our goal herein has been to lay a firm foundation for economic and social development.
Work was done to strengthen the foundations of agriculture. We increased policy support to strengthen agriculture, benefit farmers, and raise rural living standards. Grain output increased for the 11th consecutive year, and the income of rural residents grew faster than that of urban residents for the fifth year running. Overall agricultural production capacity was steadily improved. Agricultural science and technology continued to be strengthened, and agriculture was further mechanized. The pace of progress in the construction of major water conservancy projects was stepped up. Farmland under water-saving irrigation was increased by 2.23 million hectares. An additional 230,000 kilometers of roads were built or upgraded in rural areas. We launched a new round of efforts to return more marginal farmland to forest or grassland. The work to determine, register, and certify contracted rural land-use rights proceeded as planned, and new types of agricultural businesses registered faster growth.
We channeled great energy into making adjustments in the structure of industry. We focused on fostering new areas of growth by encouraging the service sector to develop more quickly, and supporting the development of strategic emerging industries, including the mobile Internet industry, the integrated circuits industry, high-end equipment manufacturing, and the new-energy vehicles industry. Internet-based finance rose swiftly to prominence. E-commerce, logistics, express delivery services and other emerging businesses developed rapidly. We have seen makers coming thick and fast, and the cultural and creative industries have been developing with great vitality.
At the same time, we continued to cut overcapacity. Fifteen key industries including steel and cement achieved their task for the year of shutting down outdated production facilities as scheduled. We stepped up efforts to prevent and control smog and surpassed this year’s targets for removing high-emission and old vehicles from the roads.
Progress was made in developing infrastructure and promoting coordinated development among regions. Significant progress was made in coordinated development for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and in building the Yangtze Economic Belt. An additional 8,427 kilometers of railway lines were put into operation. The length of high-speed railways that are up and running in China reached 16,000 kilometers, accounting for more than 60% of the world’s total. The length of the country’s expressways open to traffic grew to total 112,000 kilometers. Waterways, civil aviation, and pipelines were all further developed. Steady progress was made in upgrading rural power grids. The number of broadband Internet users exceeded 780 million. Thanks to many years of hard work, the first phase of the middle route of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project was officially put into operation, benefiting millions of people along the route.
We implemented the strategy of innovation-driven development. We helped commercialize research and development deliverables, expanded the scope of trial policies from the Zhongguancun National Innovation Demonstration Zone to other areas, and ensured that scientific and technological resources were openly shared. All this has been helping to constantly unleash the creativity of scientists and engineers. Breakthroughs have been made in major research projects such as supercomputing, the lunar exploration program, and satellite applications, and a regional jet developed and produced in China has been successfully put into service.
Fourth, we worked on developing a tightly woven and sturdy safety net to secure and improve living standards.
We continued to put people first, sustaining increases to spending in areas that are important to improving standards of living. We have been working to build up a basic safety net, ensure there is a cushion in place for those most in need, and make relevant institutional arrangements. Despite a slowdown in the growth of government revenue and increased pressure on expenditures, more than 70% of last year’s government budget was spent on ensuring standards of living.
We worked to strengthen employment and social security. We improved the policies to stimulate employment and initiated the scheme to help college students and graduates to start businesses, ensuring a steady increase in the employment of college graduates. We unified the basic pension systems for rural residents and non-working urban residents and increased basic pension benefits for enterprise retirees by a further 10%. Construction began on 7.4 million government-subsidized housing units, and 5.11 million such units were basically completed. We established a nationwide temporary-assistance system, increased subsistence allowances by 9.97% for urban residents and 14.1% for rural residents, and increased subsidies and living allowances by more than 20% for disabled military personnel, families of revolutionary martyrs, and old-age veterans.
We continued to make progress in securing fair access to education. We strengthened efforts to improve badly built and poorly operated schools providing compulsory education in poor areas, increased financial aid to students from poor families, and significantly increased the amount available per eligible student for national study assistance loans. The scheme to subsidize the waiving of tuition fees at schools providing secondary vocational education was extended to cover three years of study. Policies have been introduced to ensure that children can receive compulsory education at schools close to where they live without having to take entrance exams, and 28 provincial-level administrative areas began to allow children who live with their migrant worker parents to take the college entrance exam in their cities of residence. The number of students from poor rural areas who were newly enrolled in key colleges and universities increased by more than 10% for the second year running. Through hard work, government spending on education has come to reach over 4% of GDP.
We intensified efforts to reform and develop medical and health care. Trials of serious illness insurance for rural and non-working urban residents were extended to all provincial-level administrative areas, the framework of the system for providing assistance for emergency medical treatment was established, and over 95% of the whole population was covered by medical insurance. The comprehensive reform of community medical and healthcare centers was deepened, and the networks of medical and healthcare services for counties, townships, and villages have been steadily improved. The number of counties and county-level cities carrying out trial public hospital reforms reached over 1,300.
We worked actively to develop the cultural sector. Progress was made in developing major cultural initiatives designed to benefit the public. Great efforts were made to extend radio and television coverage not only to all villages but to all rural homes. Efforts were made to ensure the production of more high-quality literary and artistic works, and the modern culture market was improved. Popular fitness activities are flourishing nationwide, and the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing were a great success.
Fifth, we have been developing new forms of social governance, and promoting social harmony and stability.
We responded effectively to natural disasters and emergencies, worked to resolve social problems in a systematic way, and strengthened mechanisms to address problems at the source. These efforts have protected lives and ensured public order.
Last year, when strong earthquakes hit in areas including Ludian and Jinggu counties in Yunnan Province, we launched timely and efficient relief efforts and made smooth progress in post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction. We worked proactively to assist Africa in the fight against Ebola, and effectively prevented the virus from entering China. We intensified efforts to ensure workplace safety and achieved reductions in the number of total accidents, serious and major accidents, and accidents in key industries. Serious efforts were made to prevent food contamination, and on the whole the situation was kept stable in food and medicine safety.
In a major push to advance law-based government administration, the State Council submitted proposals to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) on enacting or revising 15 laws including the Food Safety Law, and formulated or revised 38 sets of administrative regulations including the Provisional Regulations on Enterprise Information Disclosure. We took thorough steps to increase transparency in government operations, and used multiple means to widely solicit comments from the public on major government decisions and policies. The third national economic census was completed. We reformed the system for handling public complaints made in the form of letters or visits. Legal aid was expanded to cover not only people living on subsistence allowances but also those on low incomes. We strengthened efforts in both urban and rural community building, and made direct registration a reality for four types of social organizations, including industry associations and chambers of commerce. We cracked down on crime, strengthened efforts in the comprehensive maintenance of law and order, and effectively safeguarded national security and public safety.
We have been strictly putting into practice the CPC Central Committee’s eight-point decision on improving Party and government conduct and making persistent efforts to fight formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism, and extravagance. We have been rigorously implementing the State Council’s three-point decision on curbing government spending, and have effectively controlled the construction of new government buildings, the staffing of government bodies and public institutions, and the spending on official overseas visits, official vehicles, and official hospitality. Administrative supervision and auditing oversight have been intensified; efforts have been stepped up to improve Party conduct, build a clean government, and fight corruption; and we have investigated and prosecuted violations of the law and discipline, bringing many offenders to justice.
We have taken strong steps to ensure the implementation of major policies and measures, carrying out inspections, introducing third-party evaluations and public appraisals, and establishing permanent mechanisms. These efforts have gone a long way in advancing all of our work.
Over the past year, Chinese diplomacy has been fruitful. President Xi Jinping and other state leaders visited many countries and attended major international events, including the G20 Leaders Summit, the BRICS Leaders Meeting, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit, the East Asian leaders’meetings on cooperation, the Asia-Europe Meeting, the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2014 in Tianjin, and the World Economic Forum annual meeting 2015 in Davos, Switzerland. China hosted the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders Meeting, the Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, and the Boao Forum for Asia.
China has been participating actively in establishing multilateral mechanisms and writing international rules. We have made steady progress in developing relations with other major countries, entered a new phase in neighborhood diplomacy, and made new headway in our cooperation with other developing countries. Notable progress has been made in conducting economic diplomacy.
Progress has been made in pursuing the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives; preparations have been made for establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and the Silk Road Fund has been set up.
China is engaging in more exchanges and cooperation with other countries, and is increasingly recognized as a major responsible country on the international stage.
We owe the achievements of the past year to the overall planning and sound policymaking of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as General Secretary and to the concerted and unremitting efforts of all members of the Party and the armed forces, and all of China’s people.
On behalf of the State Council, I wish to express our sincere gratitude to the people of all our ethnic groups, and to the non-CPC parties, people’s organizations, and people from all sectors of society. We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to our compatriots in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and in Taiwan, and to Chinese nationals overseas. We also wish to express true gratitude to the governments, international organizations, and friends from all over the world who show understanding for and support China in its endeavor to modernize.
While recognizing our achievements, we must also be mindful of the difficulties and challenges on the road ahead:
— Growth in investment is sluggish; the number of new areas of strong consumer activity is limited; there is no sign the international market is about to significantly pick up; maintaining stable growth is becoming more difficult, and there are still latent risks in some areas.
— The prices of manufactured products are continuing to fall; the costs of factors of production are on the rise; small and micro businesses are finding it difficult and costly to obtain financing; and enterprises face increasing difficulties in their production and operations.
— China’s economic growth model remains inefficient; our capacity for innovation is insufficient; overcapacity is a pronounced problem, and the foundation of agriculture is weak.
— There are still many problems of public concern in medical services, elderly care, housing, transport, education, income distribution, food safety, and law and order. Environmental pollution is serious in some localities, and major accidents in the workplace are not uncommon.
— There is still much to be improved in the work of the government, with some policies and measures not being satisfactorily implemented. A small number of government employees behave irresponsibly; shocking cases of corruption still exist; and some government officials are neglectful of their duties, holding onto their jobs while failing to fulfill their responsibilities.
We must face these problems head on. In times of peace one must be alert to danger, and in times of stability one must be mindful of the potential for chaos. We must be ready to bear the weight of responsibility, do justice to our historic mission, and live up to the great trust the people place in us.
II. The Plan for Work in 2015
China is the largest developing country in the world; it is still in the primary stage of socialism, where it will remain for a long time to come. At this stage, development is of primary importance to China; it is both the basis for and the key to solving every problem we face. In order to defuse problems and risks, avoid falling into the “middle-income trap,” and achieve modernization, China must rely on development, and development requires an appropriate growth rate.
At the same time, China’s economic development has entered a new normal. Our country is in a crucial period during which challenges need to be overcome and problems need to be resolved. Systemic, institutional, and structural problems have become “tigers in the road” holding up development. Without deepening reform and making economic structural adjustments, we will have a difficult time sustaining steady and sound development.
We must be adamant in pursuing economic development as our central task and make a thorough job of development as the top priority for ensuring the governance and revitalization of the country. We must continue to promote development in a sound and balanced way through reform and speed up the transformation of the growth model so as to achieve quality, efficient, and sustainable development.
At present, the world economy is undergoing profound adjustment, its recovery lacks drive, the influence of geopolitics is increasing, and there are a greater number of uncertainties at play. Promoting growth, creating jobs, and making structural adjustments have become common goals for the international community. With downward pressure on China’s economy building and deep-seated problems in development surfacing, the difficulties we are to encounter in the year ahead may be even more formidable than those of last year.
On the other hand, China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity during which great progress can be made in development. Our country’s development has enormous potential and is hugely resilient, and we have ample room for growth. Steady progress is being made in the development of new types of industrialization, applications of information technologies, urbanization, and agricultural modernization; the foundation underpinning development is becoming stronger by the day; benefits of reform are being delivered as we speak; and we have gained much experience in conducting macro regulation. We must strengthen our awareness of latent problems while remaining fully confident and taking an active approach to development.
This coming year will be crucial for comprehensively deepening reform, the first year for fully advancing the law-based governance of the country, and a critical year for ensuring steady growth and making structural adjustments. The overall requirements for the government’s work this year are as follows:
— hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics;
— follow the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development;
— comprehensively implement the guiding principles of the 18th National Party Congress and the third and fourth plenary sessions of the 18th CPC Central Committee;
— put into practice the guiding principles from General Secretary Xi Jinping’s major speeches;
— act in accordance with the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy;*
— actively adapt to and guide the new normal in China’s economic development;
— adhere to the general principle of seeking progress while keeping performance stable;
— ensure that the economy performs within an appropriate range;
— focus on strengthening the quality and benefits of economic development;
— give greater priority to transforming the growth model and making structural adjustments;
— tackle tough problems of reform head on;
— pursue innovation-driven development;
— strengthen risk prevention and control;
— strengthen safeguards for people’s standard of living;
— get the right balance between carrying out reform, pursuing development, and ensuring stability;
— promote all-round socialist economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological advancement; and
— achieve steady and sound economic development and ensure social harmony and stability.
Keeping in mind these requirements, we must focus on achieving the dual objectives of maintaining a medium-high rate of growth and moving toward a medium-high level of development. We need to maintain policy continuity and keep expectations stable while moving forward with reform and structural adjustment, and we need to develop twin engines to drive development: popular entrepreneurship and innovation, paired with increased supplies of public goods and services. This will ensure that our growth rate is adjusted without weakening momentum and that growth in quantity is underpinned by greater quality, thereby achieving a better-quality, more efficient, upgraded economy.
We have set the main targets for China’s economic and social development for this year as follows:
— increase the GDP by approximately 7%;
— keep the increase in the CPI at around 3%;
— create over ten million jobs in urban areas;
— ensure that the registered urban unemployment rate does not rise above 4.5%;
— increase imports and exports by around 6%;
— achieve a basic balance of payments;
— ensure that personal incomes increase in step with economic development; and
— cut energy intensity by 3.1%, and continue to reduce the emissions of major pollutants.
The target growth rate of approximately 7% takes into consideration what is needed and what is possible. This target is both aligned with our goal of finishing building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and is appropriate in terms of the need to grow and upgrade our economy. It is also in keeping with the objective laws of development as well as conditions in China. If China’s economy can grow at this rate for a relatively long time, we will secure a more solid material foundation for modernization.
At the same time, the aim of maintaining stable growth is to ensure employment. As the service sector becomes larger, the number of small and micro businesses grows, and the economy gains in size, a growth rate of approximately 7% will ensure ample employment. Local governments need to set targets based on local conditions, be fully motivated to make progress, and tap into their full potential so as to deliver better outcomes.
*The strategy is to make comprehensive moves to:
1) finish building a moderately prosperous society;
2) deepen reform;
3) advance the law-based governance of China; and
4) strengthen Party self-conduct.
To deliver a good performance in the work of the government this year, we need to concentrate on the following three areas:
First, we need to ensure continuity in and make improvements to macroeconomic policies.
We will continue to implement proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy. We will pay greater attention to anticipatory adjustments, fine-tuning, and targeted regulation. We will put both existing and additional financial resources to good use, focusing particularly on strengthening weak spots. We will improve micro-level vitality to underpin macroeconomic stability, explore new ways of achieving supply to boost demand, and balance total supply and demand through structural adjustments to ensure the economy performs within an appropriate range.
Our proactive fiscal policy must sustain the momentum of economic growth and increase economic returns. The government budget deficit for 2015 is projected to be 1.62 trillion yuan, an increase of 270 billion yuan over last year, which means that the deficit to GDP ratio will rise from last year’s 2.1% to 2.3%. Of this amount, the central government deficit will account for 1.12 trillion yuan, an increase of 170 billion yuan, and local government deficit will account for 500 billion yuan, an increase of 100 billion yuan. We need to find the right balance between managing debt and maintaining steady growth. We will develop and improve mechanisms for local governments to secure financing through bond issuance. We will allow local governments to issue an appropriate amount of special bonds, ensure continued financing for eligible projects already under construction, and guard against and defuse risks and latent dangers. We will improve the mix of budgetary spending, redouble our efforts to put government funds on hand into use, and strengthen the effectiveness of government spending. We will continue to make structural tax reductions and cut fees across the board so as to further lighten the burden on enterprises, particularly small and micro businesses.
We will pursue prudent and balanced monetary policy. The M2 money supply is forecasted to grow by around 12% in 2015, but the actual growth may be slightly higher than this projection depending on the needs of economic development. We will work to strengthen and improve macro-prudential regulation, adopt a flexible approach in our use of monetary policy tools including open market operations, interest rates, required reserve ratios, and re-lending, and maintain steady growth in the supply of money and credit as well as aggregate financing in the economy. We will speed up the turnover of funds, improve the credit structure, increase the proportion of direct financing to total financing, and reduce the cost of financing, thereby allowing more financial resources to be channeled into the real economy.
Second, we need to maintain a proper balance between ensuring steady growth and making structural adjustments.
In its current stage of development, China has to simultaneously deal with the slowdown in economic growth, make difficult structural adjustments, and absorb the effects of previous economic stimulus policies. As resource-related and environmental constraints grow and costs for labor and other factors of production rise, a model of development that draws on high levels of investment and energy consumption and is heavily driven by quantitative expansion becomes difficult to sustain. We must therefore improve the economic structure while ensuring steady growth. The growth rate must be kept steady to ensure that economic performance is stable, and that employment and personal incomes carry on increasing, thus creating a favorable environment for making structural adjustments and transforming the growth model.
At the same time, structural adjustments must be made to consolidate the foundation for ensuring steady growth. We need to increase research and development spending, raise total factor productivity, improve quality, standards, and brand-building, strengthen the service sector and strategic emerging industries and increase their share of the economy, improve the overall structure of economic growth, and work harder to foster new areas of growth and growth poles. With these efforts, we can ensure that economic upgrading and development reinforce each other.
Third, we need to nurture and hasten the birth of a new force for driving economic and social development.
As the force that has traditionally driven economic growth is weakening, it is imperative that we intensify structural reform, boost efforts to implement the strategy of pursuing innovation-driven development, and upgrade traditional engines while creating new ones for driving development.
We will increase the supply of public goods and services, increase government input in areas like education and health care, and encourage nongovernmental participation to improve the efficiency of supply. This will bolster weak spots and benefit the people, as well as increase demand and promote development.
At the same time, we will also encourage people to start their own businesses and to make innovations, which will not only create more jobs and increase personal incomes, but also improve upwards social mobility and social equity and justice.
China has a population of 1.3 billion and a workforce of 900 million. Our people are hardworking and talented, and there is no limit to their ingenuity. When an abundance of market cells spring into life, they will form a mighty driving force for development, ensuring China’s economy remains resilient in spite of the downward pressure on it, and continues to be full of life and dynamism. The government should be bold in imposing a reform on itself so as to leave ample space for the market and society to play their respective roles and level the playing field for fair competition. Individuals and enterprises must have the mettle to promote their business development and make innovations, and our society needs to nurture a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. In this way, while creating wealth, people will be able to meet their cultural and intellectual needs and realize their full potential in life.
This year is the final year for completing the 12th Five-Year Plan. As we strive to accomplish the tasks and objectives for economic and social development set forth in this plan, we need to formulate the 13th Five-Year Plan, bringing to this work the spirit of reform and innovation and adopting a scientific approach.
III. Deepening Reform and Opening Up
Reform and opening up is crucial for driving development. We must focus on economic structural reform as we comprehensively deepen reform, taking all things into consideration in planning, working solidly to deliver concrete results, making new breakthroughs in areas that can boost development as a whole, and strengthening new momentum to drive development.
We will do more to streamline administration and delegate more powers to lower-level governments and to society in general while improving regulation.
This year, we will delegate the power or cancel the requirement for government review for more items, cancel all non-administrative review, and establish a system for exercising well-regulated management over the government review process. We will deepen reform of the business system; further simplify the process for capital registration; take gradual steps to integrate the business license, the organization code certificate, and the certificate of taxation registration into one certificate; and overhaul and regulate intermediary services. We will draw up a negative list for market access, ensure that provincial-level governments make their lists of powers and responsibilities open to the public, and make sure that anything the law does not authorize is not done, while all duties and functions assigned by law are performed.
Local governments must completely let go of powers that should be delegated to the market or society, and properly exercise the power of review over all items that have been delegated to them by higher-level governments. We will exercise stronger oversight both during and after the handling of matters, and improve the network of services for both enterprises and the general public. We will work to improve the credit rating system, put in place a national unified system of codes for rating credit, and establish a platform for sharing and exchanging information on credit. We will, in accordance with the law, protect the information security of enterprises and individuals.
It goes without saying that powers should not be held without good reason. Governments at all levels need to adopt effective ways to streamline administration, delegate powers, and transform their functions, creating an enabling environment for enterprises, making it easier to start up in business, and creating the right environment for fair competition. Procedures and processes must be simplified and time frames must be clarified for all items requiring administrative review, and cuts to government power will be made to boost market vitality.
We will take multiple measures to reform the investment and financing systems.
We will substantially reduce the number of investment projects that require government review, delegate more powers of review to lower-level governments, significantly streamline the need for preliminary review for investment projects, and conduct project reviews online. We will greatly relax market access for private investment and encourage the use of private capital to set up equity funds. The government will guide nongovernmental investments toward key projects by subsidizing investments, injecting capital, and establishing funds. We will deepen reform of railway investment and financing by making good use of railway development funds. We will actively promote models of cooperation between government and nongovernmental capital in developing infrastructure and public utilities.
We will take timely action to accelerate price reform.
This reform is aimed at ensuring the market plays the decisive role in allocating resources and significantly reducing the number of categories and items of goods and services for which prices are set by the government. In principle, we will lift pricing controls over all goods and services that can viably compete in markets. The government will stop setting prices for most pharmaceuticals and delegate to lower-level governments the power to set prices for certain basic public services.
We will expand the trials of pricing reforms for electricity transmission and distribution, carry out pricing reforms for water used in agriculture, and improve pricing policies to make them more conducive to energy conservation and environmental protection. We will improve the pricing of resource products and fully implement a system of tiered pricing for electricity, water, and natural gas used for household purposes. At the same time, we must strengthen oversight over pricing, improve market order, and ensure the basic living standards of people on low incomes.
We will ensure that progress is made in the reform of the fiscal and tax systems.
We will put in place a comprehensive, well-regulated, open, and transparent budgeting system. With the exception of cases where classified information is involved, all central and local government departments must release their budgets and final accounts for public oversight. We will increase the percentage of funds transferred from the budgets for state capital operations to general public budgets. We will introduce medium-term fiscal planning. We will design effective measures to make good use of government funds at hand.
We will devote serious energy to completing work to replace business tax with VAT across the board, adjust and improve policies on consumption tax, and extend price-based resource taxes to cover more types of resources. We will submit a proposal to the NPC Standing Committee on revising the Law on the Administration of Tax Collection.
We will reform the transfer payments system, clearly define the respective powers and spending responsibilities of the central and local governments, and make appropriate adjustments to the division of revenue between them.
We will move ahead with financial reform to better serve the real economy.
We will encourage qualified private investors to establish, in accordance with the law, small and medium-sized banks and other financial institutions; there will be no quota imposed on them, and approval will be granted as long as all required conditions are met. We will deepen reform of rural credit cooperatives, and keep their status as legal persons in their counties stable. We will ensure development-oriented and policy-backed financial institutions function effectively in increasing the supply of public goods.
A deposit insurance system will be established. We will further liberalize interest rates and improve the central bank’s framework for their regulation. We will work to keep the RMB exchange rate at an appropriate and balanced level and allow it to float more freely. We will make steady progress in realizing the convertibility of the RMB capital accounts, expand the use of the RMB internationally, accelerate the establishment of a cross-border payment system for the RMB, improve the worldwide clearing system for the RMB, pilot private overseas investment, and launch the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect on a trial basis at an appropriate time.
We will strengthen the multilevel capital market and implement the reform to introduce a system of registration for issuing stocks. We will develop regional equity markets to serve small and medium-sized enterprises, carry out trials of equity crowdfunding, encourage the securitization of credit assets, prompt an expansion of the issuance of corporate bonds, and develop the financial derivatives market. We will launch insurance to cover major disasters and commercial pension schemes that allow for deferred payment of individual income tax.
We will explore new approaches to financial regulation to prevent and diffuse financial risks. We will channel great energy into developing inclusive finance and ensuring equitable access to financial services for all market entities.
We will deepen the reform of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and state capital.
We will push forward with targeted reform of SOEs on the basis of having clearly defined their functions. We will move more swiftly in carrying out trials on establishing state capital investment companies and operating companies, create a market-based platform for state capital operations, and improve their performance.
We will take systematic steps to implement the reform of introducing mixed ownership to SOEs, and both encourage and regulate equity investment made by non-state capital in SOE investment projects. We will accelerate structural reform of the electricity, oil, and natural gas industries. We will work, through multiple channels, to relieve SOEs of their obligation to operate social programs and help them solve longstanding problems, while at the same time ensuring that the legitimate rights and interests of workers are protected. We will ensure that SOEs improve their modern corporate structure, and incentive and restraint mechanisms for their executives are reformed and strengthened. We will strengthen regulation of state-owned assets and guard against their loss, and ensure that SOEs improve their performance.
The non-public sector is an important component of China’s economy. We will remain firmly committed to encouraging, supporting, and guiding the development of this sector, work to enable entrepreneurs to give full expression to their talent, put into effect all policies and measures encouraging the development of the private sector, strengthen the vitality of enterprises under all types of ownership, and protect the property rights of all types of enterprise-legal persons in accordance with the law.
We will continue to push ahead with reforms in science, technology, education, culture, medical and health care, pensions, public institutions, and the housing provident fund. Development needs to be driven by reform, and the people are expecting the real benefits reform delivers. We must work hard to make sure that reform boosts development and benefits our people.
Opening up is itself a reform. We must carry out a new round of high-quality opening up, move more swiftly in building a new open economy, and maintain momentum in development and in international competition by pressing ahead with opening up.
We will transform and upgrade China’s foreign trade.
We will improve the mechanism for sharing the cost of export tax rebates between the central and local governments, with the central government paying all the increase for the benefit of local governments and exporting enterprises beginning in 2015. We will overhaul and regulate charges for imports and exports, and establish and release a complete list of such charges. We will implement policies and measures to enable China’s foreign trade to develop new competitive edges, facilitate the transformation of processing trade, develop market purchase trade and a comprehensive service platform for foreign trade, expand comprehensive trials in cross-border e-commerce, turn more cities into trendsetters in undertaking services outsourced by other countries, and increase the share of service trade in China’s foreign trade. We will adopt a more active import policy to increase the import of advanced technology, key equipment, and important parts and components.
We will take a more active, more effective approach to making use of foreign capital.
We will revise the Catalogue for the Guidance of Industries for Foreign Investment. We will focus on making the service and manufacturing sectors even more open by halving the number of industries in which foreign investment is restricted. We will introduce, across the board, the management system under which foreign investment projects generally need only to be placed on record, with government review required in only a limited number of cases. We will delegate to lower-level governments the power of review for a large number of projects that are encouraged by the state; and work actively to explore the management model of pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list. We will work to improve the foreign investment regulatory system, revise laws concerning foreign investment, and create a stable, fair, transparent, and predictable business environment.
We will speed up the implementation of the “go global” strategy.
We will encourage Chinese companies to participate in overseas infrastructure development projects and engage in cooperation with their foreign counterparts in building up production capacity. We will work to increase the international market share of Chinese railway, electric power, communications, engineering machinery, automobile, aircraft, electronics, and other equipment, and encourage the metallurgical, building materials, and other industries to invest overseas. Outbound investment will be mainly managed on a record-keeping basis. We will scale up export credit insurance to provide export financing insurance for all insurable complete sets of large equipment.
We will broaden the channels for using foreign exchange reserves, provide better financial services, information services, legal services, and consulate protection to Chinese firms investing abroad, guard against risk, and strengthen our capacity to protect the rights and interests of Chinese enterprises overseas. We are confident that these steps will enable Chinese companies to go global and go steadily, emerging stronger in international competition.
We will foster a new environment in all-round opening up.
We will work with the relevant countries in developing the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. We will move faster to strengthen infrastructure connectivity with China’s neighbors, simplify customs clearance procedures, and build international logistics gateways. We will work to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor. We will make China’s interior and border areas more open to the outside world, promote the innovation-driven development of economic and technological development zones, and upgrade both border and cross-border economic cooperation areas. We will work actively to develop pilot free trade zones in Shanghai, Guangdong, Tianjin, and Fujian, and extend good practices developed in these zones to the rest of the country so that such zones become leading reform and opening up areas, each with its own distinctive features.
We will promote multilateral, bilateral, and regional opening up and cooperation.
We will uphold multilateral trade systems, work to promote expansion of the Information Technology Agreement, and take an active part in international talks in areas such as environmental products and government procurement. We will move faster to implement the strategy of developing free trade zones, ensuring that agreements on free trade zones with the Republic of Korea and Australia are signed as soon as possible; stepping up negotiations on the China-Japan-RoK Free Trade Zone; working for progress in talks on free trade zones with the Gulf Cooperation Council and Israel; endeavoring to complete the talks on upgrading the China-ASEAN Free Trade Zone and on establishing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership; and working to build the Asia-Pacific Free Trade Zone. We will continue negotiations on investment agreements with the United States and the European Union. As a responsible and enterprising nation, China champions the vision of promoting mutually beneficial development, boosting the global economy, and encouraging economic globalization.
IV. Balancing Steady Economic Growth and Structural Improvement
Steady growth and structural adjustment complement each other. We must work hard to ensure that the economy performs within an appropriate range while promoting economic transformation and upgrading, and maintaining sustainable economic growth.
We will move faster to foster growth areas of consumption.
We will encourage private consumption and curb spending on official overseas visits, official vehicles, and official hospitality. We will promote consumption in elderly care, domestic services, and health services, help strengthen spending on information goods and services, raise consumer spending on leisure and tourism, give impetus to green consumption, keep housing consumption stable, and encourage people to spend more on education, culture, and sports.
We will press ahead with the nationwide project to deliver telecoms, radio, television, and Internet service over a single broadband connection, accelerate the development of fiber-optic networks, significantly increase broadband speeds, develop logistics and express delivery services, and ensure that new forms of Internet-based spending, which combine online-offline activities, come to thrive.
We will strengthen monitoring, tracking, and recall systems to ensure the safety and quality of consumer goods, severely punish the production and sale of counterfeit and shoddy goods, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers. In expanding consumption, we need to ensure every drop of spending builds to create a mighty river, so that the potential contained in an ocean of private consumers will be channeled into a powerful force driving economic growth.
We will increase effective investment in public goods.
We will ensure that the projects set out in the 12th Five-Year Plan are completed. We will launch a number of major new projects, including:
— projects for rebuilding rundown urban areas and renovating dilapidated housing, urban underground pipe network projects, and other projects to improve living standards;
— major railway, highway, and inland waterway transport projects in the central and western regions;
— agricultural projects on water conservancy and developing high-quality farmland;
— projects that involve major information, electricity, oil, and natural gas networks;
— clean energy projects, and oil, natural gas, and mineral resource supply projects;
— projects for upgrading traditional industries; and
— energy-saving, environmental protection, and ecological conservation projects.
This year, the central government will increase its budgetary investment to 477.6 billion yuan. However, the government does not intend to perform an investment soliloquy; we need to do more to stimulate private investment and channel the investment of nongovernmental capital into more areas.
We will keep our investment in railway construction above 800 billion yuan and open over 8,000 kilometers of railways to traffic. We will work to ensure that drive-through electronic toll collection systems are connected up on expressways throughout the country, and work toward making transportation truly lead the way in promoting development. Construction on the 57 ongoing major water conservancy projects needs to be accelerated; construction will be started on an additional 27 such projects this year, and investment in the major water conservancy projects under construction will exceed 800 billion yuan. Investment to be made in the above sectors, such as railways, water conservancy, and projects to rebuild rundown urban areas, will be weighted toward the central and western regions, helping stimulate enormous domestic demand.
We will work harder to modernize agriculture.
We will continue to give top priority to our work relating to agriculture, rural areas, and the rural population, speed up the transformation of the agricultural growth model, and ensure that agriculture is stronger, people in rural areas are better off, and rural China is more beautiful.
This year, we need to keep grain output above 550 million metric tons, and ensure both food security and the supply of major agricultural products. We will make sure that China’s arable land area does not fall below the red line of 120 million hectares. We will carry out work on designating permanent basic cropland throughout the country, launch an initiative to maintain and enhance the quality of cultivated land, improve rural land, improve the subsoil of 13.3 million hectares of cropland, strengthen the building of irrigation and water conservancy facilities, and work hard to develop water-efficient agriculture.
We will step up efforts to develop and expand the use of new technology, new crop varieties, and new agricultural machinery. We will guide farmers to adjust what and how much they grow or breed based on market demand. We will offer support for agricultural products to be processed locally, particularly for grain processing in major grain-growing areas, and carry out pilot projects to replace grain crop cultivation with feed crop cultivation. We will comprehensively address problems such as residual traces of chemicals in agricultural products and livestock shipments. We will work to improve the quality of all agricultural products and make our food more safe to eat.
Our efforts to build a new countryside should benefit the rural population. We will give high priority to building roads and water facilities. This year, we will ensure that 60 million more rural residents gain access to safe drinking water; that 200,000 kilometers of rural roads are built or upgraded; and that bridges are built to replace all ropeways in the western region. We will work toward providing electricity to the over 200,000 remaining people in China who are still without access.
We will strengthen efforts to improve the environment, focusing particularly on refuse and sewage treatment, to build a more beautiful and livable countryside. We will increase rural incomes through multiple channels and keep narrowing the urban-rural income gap.
We will continue to fight the battle against poverty, carry out extensive poverty alleviation and development programs in contiguous poor areas, and take targeted measures to help people lift themselves out of poverty. Regardless of how difficult it may be, this year, we must again reduce the poor rural population by more than 10 million.
Reform is key to modernizing agriculture. On the premise of keeping household operations stable, we will support the development of large family farming businesses, family farms and pastures, farmers’cooperatives, leading agricultural enterprises, and other emerging agribusinesses; cultivate a new type of skilled farmer; and develop diversified and scaled agricultural operations.
We will ensure smooth progress in determining, registering, and certifying contracted rural land-use rights. We will move prudently to carry out pilot reforms relating to rural land requisition, putting rural collective land designated for business-related construction on the market, the system of land use for rural housing, and the rural collective property rights system. We need to ensure that during reform, the acreage of cultivated land does not diminish, its quality does not deteriorate, and the interests of people in rural areas are protected.
We will deepen the reform of rural supply and marketing cooperatives, state farms on reclaimed land, the seed industry, state forestry farms, and state forests, and work to ensure the success of both experimental zones for carrying out rural reform and modern agriculture demonstration zones. We will refine the policy on setting minimum state grain purchase prices and the policy on the temporary state purchase and storage of major agricultural products, and improve the ways that subsidies are granted under the system of guaranteed base prices for agricultural products. We will strengthen the integration and management of funds for agricultural development. Whatever fiscal difficulties we may face, our policies to support agriculture must be strengthened, and related funding must be increased.
We will work to achieve breakthroughs in promoting a new type of urbanization.
Urbanization is a fundamental way to narrow the gap between urban and rural areas and provides the largest source of domestic demand. We will make urbanization people-oriented, focus on the three tasks,* and fully leverage the role of urbanization in underpinning modernization.
We will redouble efforts to rebuild rundown urban areas and renovate dilapidated urban and rural housing. This year, our plan includes building an additional 7.4 million units of government-subsidized housing, of which 5.8 million are to be located in rundown urban areas, an increase of 1.1 million over last year. We will bring the renovation of dilapidated urban housing under the coverage of the policy on rebuilding rundown areas. We will renovate 3.66 million dilapidated rural houses, an increase of one million over the number renovated last year. We will carry out coordinated work to make rural housing more earthquake resistant.
In providing government housing support, we will phase in the policy of using both the provision of physical housing and the allocation of housing subsidies, and transform a portion of available housing into public rental housing or housing to be sold to those being relocated. Housing allowances will be provided to families who live on subsistence allowances and are facing serious housing difficulties. We will give targeted guidance, implement policies suitable to local conditions, assign primary responsibility to local governments for the development of housing, support people’s demand for housing for personal use and second homes, and promote the stable and sound development of the real estate market.
*These tasks are:
— grant urban residency to 100 million people who have moved to cities from rural areas;
— rebuild rundown areas and “villages” within cities where 100 million people are currently living; and