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Xi Jinping calls for 'contingency plan' to deal with economic slowdown in 2020

The three-day Central Economic Work Conference headed by President Xi, which took place under shadow of the ongoing trade war with the US, concluded here on Thursday. The conference discussed economic targets for 2020, including gross domestic product (GDP) growth and inflation ahead of China's annual legislative session to be held in March.

PTI|
Dec 12, 2019, 09.03 PM IST
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BEIJING: A key economic conference presided over by Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for "contingency plans" to deal with the daunting economic slowdown of the world's second largest economy accentuated by the 18-month long trade with war with the US.

The three-day Central Economic Work Conference headed by President Xi, which took place under shadow of the ongoing trade war with the US, concluded here on Thursday.

The conference discussed economic targets for 2020, including gross domestic product (GDP) growth and inflation ahead of China's annual legislative session to be held in March.

An official statement issued at the end of the meeting said "the country faces rising downward economic pressure amid intertwined structural, institutional and cyclical problems".

The global economy continues to slow down, the world is still undergoing in-depth adjustments due to the global financial crisis, profound changes are accelerating, and sources of turbulence have substantially increased, it said.

"We need to be well prepared with contingency plans," it said, highlighting the serious challenges faced by the Chinese economy.

The greater sense of urgency for the economic reforms, structural adjustment and risk prevention prevailed as the country is facing a series of major economic challenges.

The 18-month old trade war with the US continues, and could escalate further if new US tariffs scheduled to be implemented on Sunday are not delayed, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

Domestic growth is also expected to slow further in the fourth quarter and into next year from the six per cent growth posted in the third quarter of 2019, which was the lowest in nearly three decades.

US President Donald Trump had launched the trade war with China last year demanding Beijing to reduce massive trade deficit.

Trump is also demanding an intrusive verification mechanism to supervise Beijing's promise to protect intellectual property rights (IPR) technology transfer and more access to American goods to Chinese markets.

The conference charted course for the economy in 2020, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

In a speech at the conference, President Xi, who is also the general secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China and head of the military, reviewed the country's economic work in 2019, analysed the current situation and outlined key tasks for 2020.

Facing the complicated situation of mounting risks and challenges at home and abroad in 2019, China has maintained sustained and sound economic and social development and made key breakthroughs in the "three tough battles," seeing notable progress in targeted poverty reduction, effective prevention and control of financial risks, and general improvement in the environment, the statement said.

Meanwhile, China's progress in achieving the major tasks of the 13th Five-Year Plan met expectations, and new major steps have been made toward finishing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, it said.

"The root cause is that we have upheld the centralized and unified leadership of the CPC, maintained strategic resolve, kept pursuing progress while ensuring stability, deepened reform and opening-up, and given full play to the enthusiasm of central and local governments," the statement said and spoke of the need for transforming the growth model, improving its economic structure, and fostering new drivers of growth.

"The country faces rising downward economic pressure amid intertwined structural, institutional and cyclical problems," according to the statement.

The global economy continues to slow down, the world is still undergoing in-depth adjustments due to the global financial crisis, profound changes are accelerating, and sources of turbulence have substantially increased, the statement said.

"We need to be well prepared with contingency plans," it said.

Given this situation, the conference pointed out that the basic trend of the Chinese economy maintaining steady growth toward long-term sound development remains unchanged.

"We can overcome all risks and challenges," the statement said.

To achieve the expected targets for 2020, China will make ensuring stability a top priority, and uphold the policy framework of stable macro policies, flexible micro policies, and social policies that ensure basic needs are met, it said.

The conference underscored sustained vigorous efforts in deepening supply-side structural reform, and ensuring reasonable growth and steady improvement of the economy, it said.

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