CHINA RAMPS UP BID TO OVERTAKE U.S. ECONOMY
China kicks off its biggest political meeting of the year Friday, March 5, 2021, laying out plans that could propel the economy into the world’s biggest this decade, Bloomberg News reported.
The annual gathering of the National People’s Congress (NPC) carries an added significance this year with the Communist Party’s unveiling of its new five-year plan -- a blueprint to boost the domestic market and reduce technological dependence on the outside world, Tom Hancock, Jun Luo, Jason Rogers, Lucille Liu, Lin Zhu, Ailing Tan and Brendan Scott reported for Bloomberg News.
Last year, China did not set any growth rate for gross domestic product (GDP) but analysts said three-quarters of provincial governments have already set annual GDP growth targets of 6%-8% for this year -- conservative in comparison with economists’ median estimates of an 8.4% expansion.
The new five-year plan will also lay out an average growth goal for 2021-2025, which would be about 5.5% a year, compared with a target of more than 6.5% in the previous plan.
It may also cut the budget deficit to GDP at 3.6%, lesser than the 3% before the pandemic struck.
China will also try to catch up with the US, Japan and the European Union (EU) as far as science and technology is concerned and will devote around 3.5% of GDP over five years, if not for direct research and development (R&D), then for military and industrial espionage.
China lags in microchips and advanced science and merely copies warplanes made by the US and Russia.
It will also have to generate 11 million jobs while working to improve the lives of more than 300 million peasants who have been denied higher pay enjoyed by those employed in industrial estates and coastal cities.
With millions of peasants idle, China has been dependent on food imports for many years but has not raised farmer incomes while devoting more funds for military weapons, which grew 6.6% last year.