BEIJING – China said on Friday that it will not close the door to the world by prioritizing the domestic market, high-quality innovation and its technological self-sufficiency, which the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has set as the country’s objective for the next five years.
Speaking at a press conference to present the Central Committee’s proposals after the conclusion of its annual meeting on Thursday, Wang Zhigang, Minister of Science and Technology, said that China will not close doors to global cooperation in technological innovation.
China increasingly needs the world and the other way around to improve its technology, he added.
Wang stressed that the disengagement between the world two largest economies, the United States and China, was not good for anyone and added that the Asian giant will continue to adhere to its policy of openness irrespective of any changes in the world.
In this regard, the minister recalled that, despite the increase in tension between the US and China in recent months, trade between the two countries grew by 16 percent in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year.
The minister said that deepening reform and openness continued to be key and the inevitable option for development.
Several Central Committee leaders who participated in the press conference said that boosting innovation and achieving technological sufficiency is a crucial issue for China.
The party’s top body established plans for this earlier than for the other sectors in order to adapt to the characteristics of the world’s economic development in the new era, Wang explained.
According to the minister, China needs technological solutions more than ever and thereby has to focus on advancing that sector.
Wang said it was important to do this while pursuing the dual circulation strategy, the new concept of development proposed by China for the next five years, which focuses on expanding domestic consumption while drawing in foreign investment.
In this sense, the country aims to make China the leading choice for talent, companies and experts from around the world, he added.
Han Wenxiu, deputy director of the Office of the Central Economic and Financial Affairs Commission, noted that the weight of Chinese exports and imports in its economy declined from 60 percent to 30 percent between 2007-2019, and so did the trade surplus.
Han said that domestic circulation will be the main objective and it will be reinforced with external circulation.
In order for this to happen, all obstacles to consumption must be removed and the distribution of income improved in the country, he said, adding that the large Chinese market will improve China’s economy and give many opportunities to other countries.
Han said that the five-year plan that the Committee proposed and that will be submitted to the National People’s Congress (China’s legislature) for approval in March will pave the way for the country’s long-term goals in 2035, which the top Chinese leaders also established during their four-day meeting in Beijing.
According to the official, reform, openness and innovation are the top three key factors for achieving their goals for 2025.
However, the leaders acknowledged that China faces risks and challenges, both internationally and domestically.
Among the former they cited unilateralism, protectionism and “coups” against globalization while at the domestic level, they highlighted imbalances and insufficiencies in development and problems related to institutions and mechanisms.
Ning Jizhe, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s macroeconomic planning body, said that there were weaknesses that needed to be reinforced and all challenges addressed with an emphasis on security.
Ning avoided specifying whether the Chinese government will set an economic growth target for the next five years, as it has been doing until 2020 – when a target was not established due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic – and pointed out that the “scheme” will be submitted to the legislature in March.
The Committee paid special attention to correcting development inequalities and the widening income gap both between regions of the country and among its inhabitants over the next five years.
Han said that the country was at a critical moment as it moved from a middle-income country to a high-income one with its GDP exceeding 100 trillion yuan ($14.90 trillion)
Among other priorities of China, the leaders cited strengthening Chinese cultural soft power and the cultural industry as socialist modernization would be impossible without developing a vibrant socialist culture, according to Wang Xiaohui, executive deputy director of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee.