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Economic issues top agenda at China’s upcoming two sessions New law on foreign investment likely to be adopted: expert


Alwihda Info | Par peoplesdaily - 12 Mars 2019

As thousands of Chinese lawmakers and political advisors start to arrive in Beijing for the annual legislative and political consultative sessions, the most important political event in the country, there will be major tasks to be fulfilled and abundant issues to be discussed.


By Wang Cong

Visitors pose for a selfie with Chinese national flags in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday. The hall will host several events at the annual two sessions, including the plenary meetings of China's top legislative body and political advisory body. (Photo: IC)
Visitors pose for a selfie with Chinese national flags in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday. The hall will host several events at the annual two sessions, including the plenary meetings of China's top legislative body and political advisory body. (Photo: IC)
The 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top political advisory body, and the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), the top legislative body, are slated to kick off their annual meetings - collectively known as the two sessions - on Sunday and Tuesday, respectively.

As thousands of Chinese lawmakers and political advisors start to arrive in Beijing for the annual legislative and political consultative sessions, the most important political event in the country, there will be major tasks to be fulfilled and abundant issues to be discussed.

Apart from standard orders of business - reviewing work reports from top government branches and setting the national budget for the year - they are expected to pass or introduce legislation and proposals covering topics such as environment policies and poverty alleviation efforts.

In the wake of profound challenges in the economy, however, economic topics will likely take center stage, with at least one key piece of legislation and numerous proposals expected, observers said.

"Economic topics are usually the hottest topics during the two sessions each year, but given the tremendous internal and external challenge we face, there will be even greater focus on economic policies this year," Li Daxiao, chief economist at Shenzhen-based Yingda Securities, told the Global Times on Friday.

Hot issues

The backdrop of this year's two sessions reveals challenges, as the economy faces persistent downward pressure and a deteriorating international environment marked by a trade war with the US. In 2018, the Chinese economy grew 6.6 percent, the slowest pace in 28 years. And there are even tougher issues regarding employment and private companies.

"I think the hottest topic will be the business environment for private companies," Wang Jun, an expert at the China Center for International Economic Exchange, told the Global Times on Friday. "It is an issue that has attracted a great deal of debate in the past year and touches on deeper, broader issues in the country from employment to the reform of state-owned enterprises."

Amid the adversity, an uneasy debate about the role of the private sector in the economy and society broke out last year, prompting reassurance from top leadership that the government cares and supports the private sector.

"We will probably see more assurances and even specific measures to help private companies," Li said.

Stabilize growth

"I think the most important topic will be how to stabilize growth," Liu Ying, a research fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing ,told the Global Times.

"Without stable growth, all the other topics such as financial reform are not immediately relevant," Li noted.

Through numerous meetings and policy directives prior to the two sessions, Chinese officials have made clear that they will focus on stabilizing growth this year, while also pursuing structural reforms and further opening-up.

China will work to ensure stability in jobs, financial markets, foreign trade, foreign investment, and improve conditions for the private sector and foreign companies, according to a statement from the Central Economic Work Conference in December.

The annual Government Work Report, which is scheduled to be delivered by Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday, will also further highlight the government's plan to stabilize overall growth, while tackling specific issues.
"The broad direction is set, but how specifically we can move forward still needs much work," Liu said.

And that's where the NPC deputies and CPPCC National Committee members come in, according to Wang. "A very important purpose of the two sessions is to draw on the collective wisdom of the representatives of the country and come up with a better plan," he said.

While the government has taken a slew of measures to stabilize growth, including adopting more proactive fiscal policies to increase spending, prudent but more flexible monetary policies to ensure sufficient liquidity, measures to cut taxes and reduce burden on companies, expand access for foreign companies, the representatives will also weigh these policies, Wang said.

NPC deputies will vote on a draft law on foreign investment, which if passed, will ensure greater market access to foreign companies and provide equal protection.

"This could be one of the most significant legislative efforts from this year's two sessions," Li said.

Source: Global Times/People’s Daily