Party vows to advance reform goals next year

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 December, 2013, 4:26am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 December, 2013, 5:37am

The Communist Party's top leaders vowed to push ahead with economic and social reforms next year, as they expressed confidence that the country would meet its economic goals this year.

The 25-member Politburo met in Beijing yesterday to discuss the policy direction for the year ahead, setting the tone for a key economic work conference later this month when more detailed measures are expected to be thrashed out.

The group led Xi Jinping pledged, who serves as president and party chief, to advance reforms "in all areas and sections of economic and social development" next year, according to Xinhua. It also stressed the importance of the "continuity and stability of policies", ruling out aggressive changes to the current system.

The meeting was the first high-profile gathering since the party's 205-member Central Committee decided at its third plenum last month to deepen reforms of, among other things, land, social policy and the financial system. Beijing said it would pursue a more consumption-led growth model rather than relying on excessive investment or external demand.

Major economic goals would be met this year, Xinhua said, without elaborating.

Beijing has targeted around 7.5 per cent growth in gross domestic product this year. It wants the central government's budget deficit to exceed no more than 2 per cent of GDP and aims for inflation of about 3.5 per cent.

The State Information Centre (SIC) predicted that GDP growth would reach 7.6 per cent this year, before slowing slightly to 7.5 per cent next year. Last year, economy grew at 7.8 per cent, a 13-year low.

But Zhu Baoliang, the chief economist at SIC, which is run by the National Development and Reform Commission, urged the central government to lower its official GDP target to 7 per cent for next year.

"Setting a lower target will allow local governments to focus on reforms," Zhu said. "Otherwise the pressures will remain for them to chase a high growth speed, causing delays on reforms."