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Private firms ‘to enjoy better environment’
    2023-03-14  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

PRIVATE enterprises in China will enjoy a better environment and broader space for development, Premier Li Qiang said while meeting the press after the closing of the First Session of the 14th National People’s Congress yesterday.

The government will step up efforts to foster a business environment that is market-oriented, law-based and internationalized, treat companies of all types of ownership as equals, and protect the property rights of enterprises and the rights and interests of entrepreneurs in accordance with law, he said.

“We will create a level playing field for all kinds of business entities and further support private enterprises in growing and thriving,” Li said.

Thanks to a super-sized market with huge demand, China has a lot of new sectors and new racing tracks that offer vast opportunities for private entrepreneurs, Li said.

Li also stressed that China’s commitment to the development of the private sector is unequivocal and steadfast.

The policy of unswervingly consolidating and developing the public sector and unswervingly encouraging, supporting and guiding the development of the nonpublic sector is a significant element of China’s basic economic system, Li said. “This is a long-term policy that has not changed in the past and will not change in the future.”

Li also called on private entrepreneurs to carry forward the entrepreneurial spirit and strengthen confidence.

People’s well-being

The premier stressed people-centered development philosophy at the press conference yesterday.

“The ultimate aim of the work of the Party and the government is to improve the well-being of the people,” Li said, vowing to make solid efforts on every piece of work concerning the people’s livelihood.

Most people do not keep their eyes on GDP growth all the time. What they care more about are the things that happen in the everyday life like housing, employment, income, education, medical services, and environment, Li said. “Therefore, the government must always plan and carry out its work in light of what the people feel and act according to the people’s aspirations.”

High-quality growth

As the world’s second-largest economy, China has made great progress in economic and social development, but its development is still imbalanced and inadequate, Li said.

Li added that any aggregate volume when divided by the 1.4 billion population will become a small per capita figure.

Going forward, the focus of China’s development will be shifted from providing for people’s basic needs toward delivering a better life quality for the people, said the premier.

Reform, opening up

China will further expand opening up this year in alignment with high-standard international trade rules, and will open its door wider to the world with a better business environment and services, Li said.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up, which has not only developed China but also influenced the world, Li told the press conference.

The premier said China has remained a favored destination for global investment, given that foreign direct investment in the Chinese mainland, in actual use, reached a record high of more than US$189 billion in 2022.

Opening up is a basic State policy of China, and no matter how the external situation evolves, China will stick to pursuing this policy, Li said.

Li highlighted that the annual China International Import Expo, which is a major step for China to open its market to the world and share development opportunities, has been held for five consecutive years despite the pandemic. Last year, more than 2,800 enterprises from 127 countries and regions participated in the expo.

This well proves that an open and big Chinese market provides big opportunities for companies from around the world, the premier said.

Growth target

To achieve the 2023 gross domestic product (GDP) growth target of around 5% on the current high base of China’s economic output is no easy task and requires redoubled efforts, the premier said.

He said stabilizing economic growth is a challenging task not just for China but for all countries in the world this year given the many factors of uncertainty and instability.

China will keep to the general principles of prioritizing stability and seeking progress while maintaining stability, and push for a turnaround in the country’s overall economic performance, Li said.

Institutional strength

The premier said that the notable institutional strength is one of the advantages for China’s economic development.

China is facing multiple advantages and disadvantages in its economic development, Li said.

Its huge market, complete industrial system, rich supply of human resources, solid development foundation, and institutional strength have been supporting the country’s development, he said.

Noting that disadvantages are challenging not only China but also the rest of the world, Li said the Chinese people have always managed to pull through difficult times and achieve new progress.

HK, Macao, Taiwan

The premier said that Hong Kong and Macao will enjoy an even brighter future with the full support from the Central Government.

“I’m confident that Hong Kong and Macao will strengthen their position and role, with the strong backing of the motherland and the institutional safeguards of the ‘one country, two systems’ policy,” he said.

The Central Government has always attached high importance to helping the two special administrative regions leverage their unique strength, Li said.

Since their return to the motherland, with the support of the motherland, Hong Kong’s status as a global financial, shipping and trading center has been strengthened, and Macao has also built itself into a world-renowned tourism and leisure center, he added.

The early restoration of normal exchanges and regular cooperation between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is a shared aspiration and requires joint efforts of both sides, the premier said.

The Chinese mainland will continue to promote economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation across the Strait on the basis of the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, Li noted.

Employment policy

China will continue to pursue an employment-first strategy and increase government support to boost job creation, the premier said.

In particular, support will be heightened in terms of employment services and technical training, while multiple steps will be taken to stabilize and expand employment, Li said.

The premier also promised to support and regulate the development of new forms of employment.

Noting that this year China expects a record high of 11.58 million college graduates entering the workforce, Li said such a large number certainly adds pressure to employment.

“But if we look at it from a development perspective, it is a good thing, because with so many young people entering the workforce, they will inject energy and vitality into our society,” said the premier.

Human resources

A rich supply of human resources remains China’s notable strength, as its demographic dividend has not disappeared and its talent dividend is in the making, Li said.

The driving force for China’s development remains strong and robust, Li told the press conference.

China has nearly 900 million working-age population and 15 million people join the workforce annually, he noted.

“When assessing demographic dividend, we shall not just look at the sheer size of the population but also look at the scale of high-caliber workforce,” he said.

COVID-19 response

Li said that China’s COVID-19 response strategies and measures are completely right and have delivered highly effective outcomes.

It took less than two months for China, a highly populous country, to achieve a smooth transition in COVID-19 response and resume normal economic and social order, which is indeed remarkable, the premier said.

Rural revitalization

China will deepen reform of its rural sector to provide drivers for rural revitalization, the premier said.

China is a major agricultural country, and socialist modernization won’t be complete without agricultural and rural modernization, he said.

Li stressed the need to bring out the initiatives of farmers and let them take part in rural revitalization and share the benefits of reform and development.

Food security

China’s food security is well guaranteed on the whole, and China will make sure that the rice bowls of its 1.4 billion people will always be firmly held in their own hands, Li said.

He said the country will further increase its grain production capacity by focusing on two key factors — arable land and seeds.

Sino-US cooperation

China and the United States can and must cooperate, and there are a lot that the two countries can achieve by working together, the premier said.

He noted that there are some people in the United States who have been trumpeting decoupling with China in recent years.

“But I wonder how many people can truly benefit from this kind of hype,” Li said.

“China and the United States are closely intertwined economically, and both have benefited from the other side’s development,” he said.

“Encirclement and suppression are in no one’s interests,” said the premier.


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