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22 Dec, 2013

China Embarks On Four-Dimensional Mode Of Economic Growth


BEIJING, Dec 18 (NNN-XINHUA) — In a development which has grabbed global attention, China has embarked on a four-dimensional mode of economic growth which focuses on safe, balanced, inclusive and green development as proposed at the central government’s just-concluded work meeting.

Experts say the new mode, which centres on economic restructuring and seeks urbanization in a resource-conserving and environment-friendly way, will help promote sustainable and effective economic development.

Safe growth

China’s development will be hindered by the basic issue of food, as fast urbanization and industrialization threaten to reduce the country’s 1.8 billion mu (1.2 million-square kilometres) of arable land.

Therefore, the four-day central economic work conference, which ended last Friday, elaborated a national food security strategy based on domestic supply and moderate imports, aimed at ensuring production capacity and harnessing science and technology.

Jiang Wenran, who runs the annual Canada-China Energy and Environment Forum, told Xinhua that China’s focus on food security amid consecutive rich harvests shows that the leadership has strong crisis awareness and attaches importance to people’s lives and security.

Ensuring China was self-sufficient in food when global trade and transport systems were heavily blocked was very important for national security, Jiang said.

Balanced growth

The central economic work meeting also emphasized that the traditional over-reliance on investment for growth had ended, and also highlighted the balance between consumption, investment and exports to adjust industrial structure and reduce over-capacity.

The country should “make efforts to free up demand, give full play to the fundamental role of consumption, the pivotal role of investment and the supporting role of exports”, said a statement issued after the meeting.

Jiang said China was expected to adopt specific measures to realize its goals, and one of them was that gross domestic product (GDP) growth was no longer the only criterion for weighing local governments’ performance.

Hassan Raghab, professor of the Chinese Faculty of Egypt’s Ain Shams University, said the conference sent a message that the Chinese government would continue to reform and open up to the world.

Rather than just pursuing the speed of development, Beijing would put more emphasis on economic and social stability. It might moderately slow development speed but make the economic structure more reasonable and the foundation more solid, so as to prevent potential risks, Raghab said.

Inclusive growth

The meeting also highlighted improving people’s lives, employment of university graduates and re-employment of the laid-off, demonstrating China’s aspiration for inclusive growth.

In Raghab’s opinion, China had to balance the growth of big cities and small towns; and it was noteworthy the government, at the meeting, had stressed the importance of narrowing the income gap and protecting the weak, which were crucial in achieving an inclusive growth.

Song Yu, an economist at Goldman Sachs, said the meeting did not ask to “regulate and control” the real estate market, but to “solve” the housing problem, which reflected a greater concern of the government that prioritized increasing supply instead of reducing demand.

Green growth

The meeting also proposed enhancing environmental governance, protection, and investment and policies.

Axel Berger, a political scientist at the German Development Institute, said if China managed to green its growth model, it would have a tremendous positive effect globally.

“If … a large economy such as China is able to shift its growth model from a high to low carbon one, this will push more reluctant countries to move in such a direction as well,” said Berger, who identifies managing the rapid urbanization while building a low carbon urban infrastructure as one of the key challenges in terms of green growth.

Jiang said if the adjustment of China’s industrial structure went smoothly, it would increase domestic demand and form a sound relationship between the environment and economic growth, which would help boost the development of the Chinese economy and deepen reform and opening-up. — NNN-XINHUA