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Tang Fuping Attends the Central Economic Work Conference

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From December 19 to 21, the Central Economic Work Conference was held in Beijing. It was attended by Chinese President, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, Chairman of the Central Military Commission Xi Jinping, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, and Han Zheng. Tang Fuping, Chairman and Party Group Secretary of China Minmetals, was also present.

In his remarks, Xi Jinping summarized the economic work done in 2018, analyzed the current economic situation, and made arrangements for the economic work of 2019. Following Xi, Li Keqiang made specific arrangements for the economic work of next year and gave a sum-up speech.

The meeting considered this year the beginning year to implement the guiding principles of the 19th CPC National Congress in all respects. Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core, the Party and the government have carried out the strategic deployments made at the 19th CPC National Congress, continued to seek steady progress and high-quality development, effectively responded to the profound changes outside, stood up to challenges, and progressed solidly. We have basically achieved macro-control objectives, made a good start in the three major fights, advanced the supply-side structural reform, opened the market wider to the outside world, properly handled the trade frictions with the US, continued to improve people's livelihood, and sustained economic development and social stability, progressing towards moderate prosperity in all respects. All these achievements are hard won.

In the past year, we have deepened our understanding of what needs to be done to ensure economic success in the new era: we must adhere to the centralized leadership of the CPC Central Committee and remain at the hem; we must read the current situation from the perspective of long-term development and understand that Chinese economy will turn upward in the long run; we must accurately decide the intensify of macro control, take the initiative to make preventive, minor adjustments, and strengthen policy coordination; we must respond to public concerns as soon as possible and guide market expectations in a targeted way; we must fully mobilize stakeholders and produce strong synergy effects.

While fully recognizing what has been achieved, the meeting also took note of the worrisome changes in stable economic operation, the complex and harsh external environment, and the downward pressure on economic development. These problems arise along with the development, some are short-term, some long-term, and some are cyclical and some structural. We shall remain vigilant and tackle prominent conflicts in a targeted way.

The meeting pointed out that China was still and would remain in a critical stage full of strategic opportunities for a long time. The world is undergoing drastic changes rarely seen in the past century. Wherever there is a crisis, there is an opportunity. The changing world will generate major opportunities for the national revival of China. We should work hard to translate the crisis into our opportunity, capture major strategic opportunities, speed up to optimize and upgrade the economic structure, increase our capacity of technology innovation, deepen reform, open wider to the outside world, accelerate green development, engage in the reform of global economic governance, and turn the pressure into the momentum for high-quality economic development.

The meeting stressed that next year will be the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and a key year for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, to which economic work is vital. We shall follow Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the guiding principles of the 19th CPC National Congress and the 2nd and 3rd plenary sessions of the 19th CPC Central Committee, and coordinate to advance economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological development and the Four-pronged Comprehensive Strategy. We shall continue to seek steady progress, pursue innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, promote high-quality development, focus on the supply-side structural reform, deepen market-oriented reform and open wider at a high level. We shall accelerate to build a modern economic system, continue to fight the three major fights, strive to stimulate the vitality of individual market players, and reform and improve macro control measures. We shall coordinate efforts to stabilize economic growth, advance reform, adjust the structural, improve people's livelihood, and prevent risks, and keep economic operation within a reasonable range. We shall work harder to stabilize employment, finance, foreign trade, foreign investment, investment and market expectations, boost market confidence, and strengthen people's sense of welfare and security. We shall sustain sound economic growth and social stability and lay a solid foundation for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects before the 70th founding anniversary of the P.R. China.

It's also pointed out that macro policies shall strengthen counter-cyclical adjustments, and we shall continue to implement proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy, intervene on a preventive and minor basis when necessary, and stabilize the total market demands; the proactive fiscal policy should be more effective, taxes and fees shall be reduced on a larger scale, and local government bonds increased significantly; the prudent monetary policy shall not be too tight or too loose, liquidity should be reasonably affluent, the monetary policy transmission mechanism should be bettered, and the proportion of direct financing increased, to solve financing problems facing private enterprises and micro and small-sized enterprises. The structural policy shall strengthen institutional development, create momentum through reform, deepen reform in state-owned capital and enterprises, taxes & finance, land, market access, and social governance, highlight the fundamental status of competition policies, create a fair institutional environment for competition, and encourage the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises. The social policy should strengthen functions of the minimum social protection, prioritize employment, guarantee the subsistence needs of the people, and integrate social governance into services.

The meeting believed that the major conflict in China's economic operation is still the supply-side structural conflict, and thus we must continue to advance the supply-side structural reform, rely on reform and employ market-oriented, law-based means to "consolidate, strengthen, improve and unblock." Specifically, we should consolidate the outcomes of "reducing excess capacity and stock, deleveraging, cutting costs and making up for weakness", propel industries with excess capacity to reduce stock, lower business costs of all sorts, and intensify efforts to make up for weaknesses in areas such as infrastructure. We should strengthen the vitality of individual market players, mobilize the initiative of enterprises and entrepreneurs, develop market rules that are fair, open and transparent, create a law-based business environment, promote positive inducements and survival of the fittest, and develop more high-quality enterprises. We should improve the quality of industrial chain, form new competitive edges based on technology innovations and scale effects, foster and develop new industrial clusters. We should unblock national economic circulation, accelerate to build a unified, open modern market system with orderly competitive, strengthen the financial system's ability to serve the real economy, and form a benign cycle between domestic market and producers, economic growth and employment expansion, financial system and real economy.

This year we have made a good start at fighting the three major fights, and in the next year, we shall focus on tackling prominent issues. To prevent and resolve major risks, we should continue structural deleveraging, prevent abnormal fluctuations and resonance in the financial market, and properly handle the risks with local government debts, in a firm, controllable, orderly and moderate manner. To win the fight against poverty, we should make special efforts to addressed outstanding problems with "two worry-nots and three guarantees", increase efforts to fight poverty in destitute areas and groups, reduce and prevent the return to poverty, and increase policy support for those whose income is only slightly higher than the poverty line. To win the fight against pollution, we should consolidate what we have achieved, focus on priority tasks such as air pollution control, and increase and coordinate efforts to avoid blinded, blanket solutions. We should strengthen the service awareness and help companies develop solutions for pollution control and environmental protection.

The meeting laid down the following priority tasks for the next year.

First, promote the high-quality development of manufacturing industry. We should promote the deep integration of advanced manufacturing and modern service industries and unswervingly build China into a manufacturing power. We should steadily promote the survival of the fittest among enterprises, speed up the disposal of "zombie enterprises," formulate exit measures, and promote the formation and development of new technologies, new organizational forms and new industrial clusters. We should enhance the technological innovation capability of manufacturing industry, build an open, coordinated and efficient R&D platform for generic technologies, improve the demand-oriented, business-centered industry-university-institute innovation mechanism, accelerate to establish national laboratories, and restructure the system of state key laboratories. We shall also increase innovation support for small- and medium-sized enterprises, strengthen intellectual property rights protection and application, and form an effective incentive mechanism to encourage innovation.

Second, promote the formation of a strong domestic market. The Chinese market is one of the biggest in the world and boasts tremendous potential. We should strive to meet the end demands, improve product quality, speed up the development of services in such areas as education, childcare, old-age care, medical care, culture and tourism, improve the consumption environment, implement the special additional deduction policy for individual income tax, increase the spending power, and provide safe, high-quality and reliable goods for consumers. In the current stage, China still has a strong investment demand. We should use investment to upgrade technology and equipment in the manufacturing industry, accelerate the commercialization of 5G technologies, and strengthen infrastructure construction in areas of artificial intelligence, industrial Internet and Internet of Things. We shall  increase investment in intercity transportation, logistics and municipal infrastructure, make up for the weakness in rural infrastructure and public utilities, and strengthen the ability to cope with natural disasters.

Third, push forward the strategy of rural revitalization in a solid way. We should give priority to the development of agriculture and rural areas, do a good job in agricultural development, especially grain production, increase the grain yield by improving the soil conditions and advancing technological development, rationally adjust the structure of "grain, economy and feed," and increase the supply of high-quality eco-friendly agricultural products. We should attach importance to the cultivation of new types of operators such as family farms and farmers' cooperatives, solve the difficulties facing farmers in production and management, and engage them in modern agricultural development. We should improve the rural living environment, and focus on waste sewage treatment, the Toilet Revolution, and village environment improvement. We should draw experience from the three pilot projects in the reform of the rural land system, consolidate the achievements, and continue to deepen the reform.

Fourth, promote regional coordinated development. We should coordinate the efforts to promote the development of the western region, rejuvenate the northeast in all respects, and facilitate the rise of the central region and the pioneering development of the east. The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and the Yangtze River Delta region have demonstrated many new characteristics in their development course: the economy of scale starts to take effect, infrastructure is more dense and networked, innovation factors are gathering rapidly, and new dominant industries are growing rapidly. We should propel these regions to grow into engines for high-quality development. We should enhance central cities' role in stimulating the development of nearby cities and becoming a strong drive for high-quality development. We should promote the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, carry out systematic ecological protection and restoration of the Yangtze River, and strive to promote high-quality development. We should advance urbanization, help the transferred agricultural population employed in urban areas to get an urban hukou, with the goal of helping 100 million of them by 2020, and improve the management of large cities.

Fifth, accelerate the reform of the economic system. We should deepen the framework reform, focus on strengthening the vitality of individual market players, and further and consolidate relevant reforms. We should speed up the reform of state-owned capital and enterprises by following principles of government-business separation, government-capital separation and fair play, expand the size and improve the quality of state-owned capital, and accelerate the transformation from business management to capital management. We shall set up a number of state-owned capital investment companies through reorganization, and a number of state-owned capital operation companies, actively promote the mixed-ownership reform, and accelerate the shareholding system reform of China Railway Corporation. We should support the development of private enterprises, create a law-based institutional environment, and protect the personal safety and property of private entrepreneurs. We should deepen the reform of the financial system with emphasis on structural adjustment and optimization, develop private banks and community banks, and propel urban commercial banks, rural commercial banks and rural credit cooperatives to gradually return to their original mission. We should improve financial infrastructure and strengthen the capacity of regulation and service. The capital market concerns nearly every aspect of financial operation. By deepening the reform, we should create a standard, transparent, open, dynamic and resilient capital market, improve the quality of listed companies, perfect the trading system, channel in more medium- and long-term funds, promote the establishment of the science and technology innovation board on Shanghai Stock Exchange and launch the pilot registration system as soon as possible. We should promote the reform of the fiscal and taxation system, improve the local tax system, and standardize the mechanism for government debt financing .It is necessary to substantially transform government functions, greatly reduce the direct allocation of resources by the government, strengthen regulation during and after the event, and leave the market's business to the market and companies' business to companies.

Sixth, open wider in all respects. We should adapt to the new situation, grasp new characteristics, and promote the change from the opening of the flow of goods and factors to that of rules and systems. We should relax market access, fully implement pre-establishment national treatment plus negative list management, protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign business persons in China, especially intellectual property rights, and open more areas to sole proprietorship. We should expand import and export trade, diversify export markets and reduce the institutional cost of import links. We should engage more stakeholders in the development of the Belt and Road Initiative, give full play to the main role of enterprises, effectively control all kinds of risks. We should make sure the success of the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. We should promote the building of a community of shared future for mankind, actively participate in the WTO reform, and liberate and facilitate trade and investment. We should implement the consensus reached by Chinese and American state heads in Argentina and promote economic and trade consultations between China and the United States.

Seventh, strengthen social protection and improve people's livelihood. We should improve relevant systems, guard the bottom line and do a good job in projects concerning people's livelihood. We should place prominent emphasis on employment stability, especially the employment of fresh college graduates, migrant workers, and veterans. We should increase investment in preschool education, early child development in poor rural areas, and vocational education. We should improve the old-age care system and address the problems of old-age care in big cities. Greater efforts should be made to ensure food and drug safety, workplace safety and road safety. We should deepen the reform of the social security system, promote the nationwide pooling of the old-age insurance on the basis of province-wide pooling, and extend the medical insurance to cover more life-saving and urgently-needed medicines. We should continue to transfer some state-owned capital to the social security fund. We shall build a long-term mechanism for the healthy development of the real estate market, follow the instruction that "houses are built to be inhabited, not for speculation", roll out different policies and guidance for different cities, consolidate the responsibilities of the city government, and improve the housing market system and the housing welfare system.

Also present at the meeting were members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Secretary of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, members of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, state councilors, President of the Supreme People's Court and Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, senior officials of CPPCC National Committee and members of the Central Military Commission. 

They were joined by Party and government heads of provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the central government, city specifically designated in the state plan, and Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, departmental heads of the CPC Central Committee and state organs, executives of some central enterprises and financial institutions, and high-ranking military officials.


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