BEIJING (AP) – China's 2024 economic blueprint is full of goals and commitments, but it does not spell out concrete moves to achieve long-promised reforms that foreign companies and investors have been hoping for. It's also worth noting that it doesn't.

of work report A report submitted by Premier Li Qiang to the National People's Congress on Tuesday outlined a plan to increase funding for the military by a significant 7.2%, with modest increases in overall spending.

The ruling Communist Party's goal is for the economy to grow by around 5% this year, but economists say that goal may be difficult to achieve. Li said China will also focus on supporting research and industry to achieve breakthroughs in key technologies such as computer chips.

Such goals are consistent with leader Xi Jinping's goal of strengthening China's independence and power in advanced technology as China and the United States battle over technology and national security concerns.

Mr. Lee's work report aims to introduce the public to last year's achievements and convey the top leadership's priorities for this year. But it also provides insight into policy directions that affect both domestic and foreign companies.

James Zimmerman, a lawyer and former president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, said the speech did little to address concerns about prompting foreign companies to reconsider their investment strategies in China.

Apart from ambitious growth targets, “there is no reform, no liberalization, no action plan, no message of reassurance,” he said. “We can only assume that the strategy is to maintain the status quo and hope that things will correct themselves.”

He said the Prime Minister's decision to cancel the annual press conference, which normally ends after Parliament, further exacerbated the sense of reduced transparency.

Tianchen Hsu of the Economist Intelligence Unit said the report mainly reiterates what the government has been saying for the past six to nine months.

What is needed, for example, are moves to liberalize investment in telecommunications and health care, or laws to ensure that private companies can recover unpaid debts.

“The key is that strong commitment and action need to be matched. So far, we have not seen much progress,” Xu said in emailed comments.

China's markets have been weak in recent months, with Hong Kong stocks falling sharply on Tuesday amid selling in tech stocks, with the benchmark Hang Seng index down 2.6%.

E-commerce giant Alibaba fell 3.3%, Baidu fell 5.7%, and fellow e-commerce giant fell 7.5%.

Lin Song, chief economist for Greater China at ING Economics, said in a report: “I wasn't really surprised that the GDP growth target was set at around 5% again. Lowering the target would further boost confidence.'' It will weaken,” he said.

He noted that exports may not get much help this year as some of the post-pandemic help to the economy disappears and forecasts for below-average global demand.

“That said, repeating 5% growth in 2024 will be a more difficult path,” she said. “While there were some positive signs in the Government Activity Report, the road to restoring trust will likely take time and the process will likely be uneven.”

Other highlights of the report include:

— China will encourage consumers to scrap old appliances and replace cars with electric vehicles and other new products to boost domestic demand.

— The government plans to increase spending on research and development by 10%.

military spending It is expected to increase by 7.2% to 1.67 trillion yuan ($232 billion), the same level as last year's growth rate.

-The government plans to issue 1 trillion yuan ($139 billion) of special long-term bonds this year and over the next few years to support key national strategies and build “security capabilities” in key industries.

—An additional 10.4 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) will be earmarked for industrial upgrading and manufacturing modernization.

The report also said China would encourage more investment in venture capital and equity and use “market-based measures” to promote faster development of computer chip manufacturing and advanced information technology.

“We will strive to build China's independence and strength in science and technology,” the report said.

The report, which is expected to be compiled and approved by parliament next week, aims to reduce China's energy consumption by 2.5% this year and move towards “carbon neutrality” in reducing emissions that contribute to climate change. is set.

“We will support new strategic initiatives aimed at breakthroughs in mineral exploration, accelerate the development of clean and renewable energy, and facilitate rapid progress in building new energy systems.”

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