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Chinese Premier Reveals Government Work Report at National People's Congress

March 5, 2024 (EIRNS)—Chinese Premier Li Qiang opened the National People’s Congress on March 4 with his Government Work Report, which summed up the year’s work and gave a prognosis of the coming year. Targets set in the Work Report include a 5% growth rate, creating 12 million jobs, an unemployment rate of around 5%, a Consumer Price Index growth of around 3%, and a target of debt-to-GDP ratio at around 3%.

The key theme—and new buzzword—at this year’s conference is “new productive forces” or “high-quality productive forces.” The idea was introduced by President Xi Jinping earlier at a study group of the Political Bureau. Taking the well-known Marxian notion of “productive forces” to a higher level indicates the changes that China has introduced in its science-driven push to counter Western attempts to restrict China’s technological development. That also was a key element in the Work Report, with an emphasis on high-tech development in AI, quantum communications, electric vehicles, and nuclear energy production.

The Work Report also underlined the difficult conditions that China was facing in the world market, with the restrictions that were being placed on it. Li said that China would facilitate the movement of foreign capital to China, open new areas of investment, ease travel to and from China, and create a more even playing field for foreign investment.

With regard to the financial situation, the government has generally rejected a blanket bailout of the stricken real estate sector. Nevertheless, there will be considerable targeted funding for key areas. Local governments will be permitted to issue local bonds to help deal with their loan problems, and the central government will issue “ultra-long treasury bills” to assure funding for key industries, particularly in the high-tech and digital sector.

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