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China to drive global growth, experts say

Confidence voiced over nation's ability to achieve 5% GDP goal set for this year

By Prime Sarmiento in Hong Kong and Wang Xiaodong in Nairobi | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-13 07:11

Workers weld magnetic separation equipment for export to Africa at the factory of the Slon Magnetic Separator Co Ltd in Ganzhou, Jiangxi province, on Jan 23, 2024. [Photo/VCG]

China will remain a key driver of global economic growth, with analysts expressing confidence that the world's second-biggest economy is on track to hit its 5 percent GDP target this year.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang announced this year's GDP target when he delivered the Government Work Report at the opening meeting of the annual session of the country's national legislature on March 5.

Zheng Shanjie, director of the National Development and Reform Commission, said the goal is achievable via enhanced efforts. Zheng said in the March 6 news briefing that China has the confidence, capabilities and conditions to meet the economic and social development targets for this year.

Lawrence Loh, director of the Centre for Governance and Sustainability, NUS Business School, National University of Singapore, said China's GDP target is "realistic", and that the government's plan to boost domestic consumption and develop emerging industries will serve as growth levers.

"These levers are well within the control of domestic economic policies and are thus achievable," Loh said.

Loh predicted China will "go even stronger in opening up markets and investments for foreign participation". He said external trade will augment internal measures to boost the Chinese economy toward the next phase of growth. He also cited China's development of green technology and that the country has reached "a significant momentum in spearheading technological advances" in renewable energy.

"China is the global driver of (renewable) energy," Alicia Garcia Herrero, chief economist for Asia Pacific at Natixis, told China Daily. She said China leads the world in solar panel manufacturing and battery production.

Commerce Minister Wang Wentao said at the same news conference that China will encourage the trade-in of consumer goods, including automobiles, household appliances and home furnishings to bolster consumption.

High potential

He added that from 2013 to 2023, the proportion of per capita consumption expenditure directed toward services increased by 5.5 percentage points. Wang said the potential for further growth in service consumption "remains immense in the foreseeable future".

Wang said there are positive signs in exports and imports despite a challenging global trade environment. He said trade activities boomed during the Spring Festival while the trade recovery that started in September 2023 is expected to continue.

Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said China has to do even better than the 5 percent GDP growth, as it is "the main engine for not only the region but the world".

"Neighboring countries are all eagerly waiting for the spillover effect from China's economic growth. To do that, China has to redouble its efforts in both stimulating domestic consumption and further encouraging entrepreneurship," Oh said.

"The report on the work of the government clearly shows Beijing's efforts to continue pursuing higher-quality economic growth and appropriately increase economic output," said Dennis Munene, executive director of the China-Africa Center at the Africa Policy Institute.

"China's economic achievement is good for the global community. China's continued economic success is not enclosed within its borders," Munene said. "China has helped to transform economies of both developed and developing countries through the offer of global public goods."

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