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Cover Story Series> Business
UPDATED: July 9, 2012 NO. 28 JULY 12, 2012
A Timely Decision

As China's economy undergoes a relatively sluggish state, the Chinese Government's timely decision to promote the development of an environmentally-friendly "circular economy" will bring new opportunities for domestic economic growth.

China is now at a critical point of rapid industrialization and urbanization. On one hand, it is working to accelerate economic development. On the other hand, it is facing challenges in energy conservation, environmental protection and so on. Under these circumstances, promoting economic structure adjustment and the transformation of our economic growth mode is an important measure.

After a seven-year trial, the conditions have formed for China to develop a circular economy, which refers to a system wherein the materials of production circulate in a renewable manner without harming the environment. It has already become a consensus in Chinese society to follow a green and low-carbon road of development. A series of policies and regulations have been set up, leading to industrial breakthroughs in new technologies and deepening the concept of green consumption in people's minds.

China's objective of developing a circular economy is to avoid the traditional economic growth model of "high consumption, high pollution and low efficiency," and instead to take a new road of industrialization to solve environmental problems. Therefore, the road to a circular economy starts in the industrial area.

It is estimated that the circular economy's output value will reach 1.5 trillion yuan ($238 billion) in the next five years. This is an alluring "big cake" for many investors at home and abroad. But, before sharing the cake, we must realize that China is at a stage of rapid industrialization. There are no fundamental changes in its extensive economic growth mode, which means China's economic development will have to go through a stage of huge resource consumption. Thus, resources should be more effectively used and efforts should also be made to reduce waste.

We must change the policy of solely targeting GDP growth. The governments at various levels need to take circular economy, overall development, coordinated development and sustainable development as important tools in working out economic development planning.

Given the situation that some local governments tend to neglect environmental protection due to the pressure of economic growth and employment demand, the current administrative management system in terms of environmental protection needs to be reformed to combat interference from local protectionism.

Meanwhile, China needs to strengthen its cooperation with the rest of the world. We still lag behind developed countries in the area of technology. Absorbing advanced circular economic technologies to update our own industries is a win-win decision.

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