China has mapped out a plan to expand its huge domestic market by turning it into a gravitational field that will make it integral to international trade. The country will boost domestic demand and open up the economy more over the next decade, helping to create a “gravitational field of high-end international resources”, according to the document published late on Wednesday by the State Council. The plan builds on the country’s dual circulation strategy, which aims to strengthen self-reliance and tap its enormous domestic consumer market. The announcement throws into focus Beijing’s attempts to turnaround the country’s faltering economic performance, while planning for a more hostile external environment in years to come. Despite a recent loosening of coronavirus curbs, the economy is struggling to recover from three years of sweeping zero-Covid restrictions, which have thrown consumption, investment, industrial activity and the property sector into disarray. The International Monetary Fund has forecast China’s economy to expand only 3.2 per cent this year, the lowest growth rate in four decades, excluding the initial coronavirus crisis in 2020 . The State Council said it would support “economic circulation” at home between 2022-35 to better connect the domestic and international markets. The plan would help counter “unilateralism”, “protectionism”, and “bullying”, according to the statement. The timing of the announcement reflects China’s ambition and agenda to transition into a more open market, said Peng Peng, executive chairman of the Guangdong Society of Reform, a think tank connected to the provincial government. ‘A permanent home’: why a wave of wealthy Chinese is moving to Singapore Since the “reform and opening up” period, China has always counted on exports as the main engine to power its economy. But in the past decade, China has made efforts to open its economy and move up the value chain, though it has struggled with limited access to core technologies. Peng said one solution is to boost self-reliance and surpass developed economies, which could be challenging. The other path is to deepen supply chain and market entanglement so developed countries cannot decouple. “Only powerful purchasing power could enable a country to impose sanctions on others,” Peng said. He said cultivation of a more open market and creating a “gravitational field” effect could lead to US, Japan and European countries to become more reliant on China. The State Council plan covered a wide range of areas, including consumption, investment, regional development, innovation and industrial upgrading, as well as “common prosperity” and food security. But it did not offer quantitative goals or assessment standards, and overlaps with existing economic policy directives, such as the 14th five-year plan and the 2035 goals published last year after the “two sessions” . The report reiterated the country’s commitment for common prosperity and vowed to expand the middle-class, reduce the burden on poor people and step up supervision of the rich. Regional collaboration was also highlighted in the report, while global gateways will be cultivated in major economic zones – the Greater Bay Area, Yangtze River Delta and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.