Beijing's 10th Five-Year Plan for the economy, covering the years 2001 to 2005, will commit the country to steady growth and accelerated reform. The plan, whose drafting began more than a year ago, is due to be endorsed at the Communist Party Central Committee plenum slated for the end of the month. Beijing and provincial media have reported the plan will recommend an annual growth rate of seven to eight per cent. The semi-official Hong Kong China News Agency quoted President Jiang Zemin as saying in a recent meeting that the central task of the next five years would be economic development and reform. Because of reasons including China's imminent accession to the World Trade Organisation, Mr Jiang said: 'We must uphold structural innovations through implementing reform.' The news agency quoted him as saying the interests of the masses would be preserved in the course of reform. Other economic sources in Beijing said the Five-Year Plan would carry forward Mr Jiang's decision last year to give a bigger role to non-state and foreign companies. Most state-owned firms would be turned into conglomerates through an ambitious programme of mergers and acquisitions. The sources said the plan had little detail on the speed with which different sectors and regions would open up to foreign capital following entry into the World Trade Organisation. They said the lack of specifics suggested there was still disagreement among Central Committee members on the scale of market reform.