China economic activity can return to reasonable range in 2021, says Premier Li

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China would continue to open up and would not pursue a trade surplus but instead lay equal stress on imports and exports. — Reuters pic
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China would continue to open up and would not pursue a trade surplus but instead lay equal stress on imports and exports. — Reuters pic
BEIJING, Nov 24 — China’s premier Li Keqiang said today he expects economic activity in the country can return to a reasonable range next year, after the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on GDP growth in 2020.

“China’s economy this year can achieve positive growth, and we expect next year (economic) operations can recover to a reasonable range,” Li told a news conference with leaders of six major international economic and financial organisations, including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

China’s economy, the world’s second-largest, grew 0.7 per cent in the first nine months of 2020 from a year earlier, while third-quarter GDP was up 4.9 per cent year-on-year.

“We will continue to expand opening up, and we will absolutely not pursue a trade surplus,” Li added, insisting China would put equal emphasis on imports and exports and wanted to achieve a balance of trade.

Beijing will allow consumption to play a “guiding role,” while investment will play an “effective role,” he added.

China this year unveiled a “dual circulation” strategy to cut its dependence on overseas markets and technology in its long-term development, a shift brought on by a deepening rift with the United States.

The country has said it will rely mainly on “internal circulation” — the domestic cycle of production, distribution, and consumption — for its development, supported by innovation and upgrades in the economy.

In a statement released by China’s foreign ministry before the so-called “1+6” news conference, Li said China would maintain a continuous and stable macroeconomic policy, adopt more reform measures and promote the return of economic activity to a reasonable range.

In his round-table meeting with the six institutions, which also include the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Li said China would continue implementing active fiscal policy and a steady monetary policy, according to the statement. — Reuters

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