China to Focus on Fundamentals & Economic Growth Takes Back in 2020
In an extraordinary move, China has not set a target for its economic growth rate for 2020.
In the annual government work report at the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress
, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang categorically called stabilizing employment
and safeguarding livelihoods a priority for this year. Explaining why no target has been
set for this year’s economic growth rate, Mr Li said “We have not set a specific target
for economic growth this year. This is because our country will face some factors
that are difficult to predict in its development due to the great uncertainty
regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and the world economic and trade environment.”
He said that not setting a concrete target for the growth rate would enable all parties
concerned to better concentrate on ensuring stability and security in key areas such
as employment. Premier Li said “China can stabilize the economic fundamentals
so long as it meets the bottom lines in safeguarding basics in six areas,
such as employment and livelihoods. It doesn’t matter if an economy grows at
a slower speed sometimes. What matters is its capacity to corroborate
the basics even in a less-speedy year.”
Aside from stabilizing employment, Chinesee government has thrown its weight
behind a myriad of market entities, especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises,
by significantly reducing their burden of taxes and fees. Support for businesses is more
than helping them survive in a business sense only. Fundamentally speaking,
these grassroots market entities are a dynamic source of innovation helping drive the economy forward.
As the COVID-19 wreaks havoc across the globe, China’s economy has taken
a brutal beating. The last week of January and the entire February basically saw
everything grinding to a screeching halt amid lockdown measures. China’s economy shrank for
the first time in decades last quarter, by 6.8%. The pandemic has pushed job creation targets,
exports, consumption and investments down as lockdowns impacted manufacturing
and demand at home and abroad. With a 6.8 percent GDP drop in the first quarter,
the six percent growth target for 2020 touted by economic policy planners last year
is inevitably not going to be met.
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