Left to right, Roberto Azevedo, the director-general of the World Trade Organization; Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank; Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, center; Mark Carney, chairman of the G20's Financial Stability Board; Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund; and Guy Ryder, director-general of the International Labor Organization; attend the “1+6” roundtable dialogue meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, Sept 12, 2017. (ETIENNE OLIVEAU / POOL / AFP)
BEIJING – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has said that Chinese economy has embarked on a path of innovation-driven development that features steady growth and accelerated transformation.
A positive momentum is taking hold, Premier Li said Tuesday while talking about China's economic performance at a roundtable with heads of major international economic institutions in Beijing.
“We have managed to keep China's economic performance within a proper range and at a steady pace. In the first half of 2017, the economy grew by 6.9 percent, and this momentum has been maintained in the second half of this year,” he said.
The Chinese premier hosted the “1+6” roundtable titled “Promoting an Open, Invigorated and Inclusive World Economy” at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Bejing.
Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group; Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund; Roberto Azevedo, director-general of the World Trade Organization; Guy Ryder, director-general of the International Labor Organization; Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; and Mark Carney, chairman of the Financial Stability Board, took part in the roundtable.
With China's GDP surpassing US$11 trillion, each 1 percentage point of growth now would generate the same additional output as 1.5 percentage points of growth five years ago or 2.5 percentage points of growth a decade ago, said the Chinese premier.
Worldwide, China remains a leading performer in economic growth and contributes more than 30 percent of global growth, he added.
CHINA PURSUING A NEW ROUND OF OPENING-UP
Premier Li noted that given China's deep integration into the world economy, it cannot achieve economic transformation and upgrading without mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries.
While paying careful attention to the protection of intellectual property rights, we should put a premium on technology transfers and diffusion to make the most of innovations for the benefit of more people
Li Keqiang, Premier, China
Despite continuous decline in global trade, China has stayed away from competitive currency devaluation to boost exports and instead took the voluntary initiative to increase imports. It has further broadened market access for foreign investment through repeatedly revising its foreign investment catalogue, which brought down the number of restrictive items by 65 percent from 2012, he said.
China has set up 11 pilot free trade zones to explore a foreign investment management system based on pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list, with the aim of cultivating a more open, enabling and rules-based business environment, he said, adding that China remains a most favored destination for foreign investment.
CHINA'S ECONOMIC STRUCTURE HAS BEEN STEADILY UPGRADED
On the Chinese economy, Premier Li said that the value added of the services sector accounted for 54.1 percent of GDP growth in the first half of 2017, creating 1.5 times as many jobs as the industrial sector.
Consumption has become the primary growth driver, contributing 63.4 percent to economic growth in the first six months of 2017, up from 47 percent in 2013, he pointed out.
The past two years have seen growth in fixed-asset investment coming down to single-digits and export growth consistently in negative territory. Yet thanks to robust support from growing consumption, the economy has maintained a steady performance.
STRUCTURAL REFORMS SHOULD BE PURSUED MORE VIGOROUSLY
The Chinese premier pointed out that countries need to seize the opportunities presented by the latest round of technological and industrial revolution, make institutional innovations, relax market controls and promote fair competition to boost productivity and encourage entrepreneurship and creativity.
Vigorous efforts should be made to restructure the economy by developing emerging sectors, he suggested.
“While paying careful attention to the protection of intellectual property rights, we should put a premium on technology transfers and diffusion to make the most of innovations for the benefit of more people,” said Li.
NEW TECHNOLOGIES, INDUSTRIES AND BUSINESS MODELS
Talking about China's economic performance, Premier Li said new industries and new forms and models of business have made much greater strides than anticipated in recent years.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at a press conference following the “1+6” roundtable dialogue meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on September 12, 2017. (WANG ZHAO / AFP)
Research shows that new drivers of growth now contribute 30 percent of China's economic growth and create 70 percent of new urban jobs, becoming an important underpinning of growth.
The Chinese government has been implementing the Internet-plus and big data strategies and fostering the digital economy, sharing economy and green economy through accommodating and prudential regulation to promote healthy growth of these emerging industries, he said.
“In the meantime, we have worked to upgrade the production, management and marketing of traditional industries and encouraged enterprises to pursue product innovation, quality improvement and brand promotion.”
STABLE EMPLOYMENT A BIG ACHIEVEMENT
Pointing out that the main objective for promoting sustained growth is to generate a steady flow of jobs, Premier Li cited stable employment as a major highlight in the Chinese economy.
“Without a proper level of economic growth, we would not be able to create jobs for all these people,” he said.
Over 13 million new jobs have been created each year for the past four years. The surveyed unemployment rate in 31 large cities has dropped below 5 percent since last September, the lowest in years.
WORLD ECONOMY IMPROVES BUT VULNERABILITIES REMAIN
The world economy has come to a crucial juncture marked by signs of upturn on the one hand and significant vulnerabilities on the other, Li said, adding that recovery remains fragile for lack of robust growth drivers and is uneven.
This requires countries to act in a spirit of partnership and cooperation to advocate multilateralism, support multilateral trade rules and stay committed to economic globalization, he said. “They should step up communication and coordination to jointly work for sustained recovery of the world economy.”
GLOBAL GROWTH NEEDS TO BE MORE INCLUSIVE
Employment is the key to the pursuit of inclusive growth, the Chinese premier pointed out, adding that it would be hardly possible to increase incomes and reduce poverty without employment.
“The international community should work together to spread the benefits of growth more fairly and to more countries and more communities.”
Countries need to give priority to employment, create more and better jobs, and make social security benefits more equitable and sustainable to reduce poverty and inequality and deliver a better future for all, he added.