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Consumption key to robust development

By OUYANG SHIJIA | China Daily | Updated: 2021-06-25 10:16

Consumers browse cosmetics at a duty-free store in Haikou, Hainan province, on June 18. [Photo by Wang Chenglong/For China Daily]

Political adviser urges more efforts to boost people's purchasing power

China needs to adhere to the key strategy of strengthening domestic demand and expanding consumption in the next five years, with a focus on increasing the range of products and services on offer, improving their quality, protecting consumer rights and interests and promoting consumption upgrades, a national political adviser said.

Zhi Shuping, a member of the Standing Committee of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said stabilizing and expanding consumption is one of the keys to creating a robust domestic market and fostering a new "dual-circulation" development pattern during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25).

"Consumption is playing an important role in spurring stable economic growth," said Zhi, who is deputy director of the CPPCC National Committee's proposal-handling committee. He was speaking during a panel discussion at the 17th session of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the CPPCC, which ran from Monday to Wednesday.

Consumer spending accounted for 54.3 percent of China's GDP last year, compared with an average of 53.4 percent between 2011 and 2019, data from the National Development and Reform Commission showed.

Though final consumption contributed to about 60 percent of GDP growth from 2013 to 2019, that is still lower than the 70 percent to 80 percent levels seen in developed economies, the NDRC said.

Zhi, former director of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, said he's seen huge growth potential in China's vast consumer market and there is still plenty of room for improvement.

He said policymakers will continue to focus on ensuring the recovery of consumption, and more efforts are needed to boost the purchasing power of consumers and improve consumption policies and the overall consumption environment.

China will stabilize and expand consumption-including increasing personal incomes-through multiple channels this year, Premier Li Keqiang said on March 5 when delivering the Government Work Report at the opening of the fourth session of the 13th National People's Congress.

By taking such steps, the country aims to steadily improve people's consumption capacity and the environment for consumption and ensure that people have the ability and willingness to spend, thus improving their lives and driving economic development.

Zhi said the country needs to take targeted steps to lift consumption and boost domestic demand, including encouraging enterprises to develop new products and services, improving the quality of products and services, maintaining market order and protecting the rights and interests of consumers.

He said more efforts are also needed to encourage steady increases in spending on home appliances, automobiles and other big-ticket items, boost new types of consumption such as online shopping, and ensure that products sold domestically are produced on the same production lines as exported products, meet the same standards, and are of the same quality.

"Looking to the next five years, we need to strengthen quality and safety supervision over products vital to people's livelihood, promote quality and safety and the traceability of key industrial products, severely crack down on intellectual property rights infringements and counterfeits, closely monitor market supply and demand and changes in prices, strengthen antitrust enforcement, promote fair market competition and protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers," he said.

According to a recent report by the Center for Forecasting Science at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China's economy is expected to rebound rapidly this year, with consumption being the main force driving economic recovery.

The think tank said China's GDP is expected to grow by 8.5 percent year-on-year this year, while consumption will grow by around 10.7 percent to 11.7 percent.

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