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UPDATED: December 15, 2014 NO. 51 DECEMBER 18, 2014
Slow But Steady for 2015

At the Central Economic Work Conference held from December 9-11, Chinese leaders reviewed the country's economy in 2014 and mapped out plans for 2015. Maintaining economic development through the furtherance of reforms under the "new normal" characterized by a slowed growth rate was agreed to be next year's focus.

Although China's 2014 growth rate has kept within the range of approximately 7 percent, the economy has shifted downward. Since next year marks the final year of China's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), a crucial year for restructuring the economy, the trend of growth will be greatly significant.

The Chinese economy had long been characterized by rapid growth. However, this has proven costly to the environment and natural resources. By the time of the 2008 global financial crisis, it had become clear that such growth was unsustainable. To guarantee employment and people's well-being, China had to stabilize its economy. Calculations show a 7-percent growth rate is ample and hence represents the new normal of the Chinese economy.

To ensure stable growth occurs under this new normal, China will utilize a prudent monetary policy and a proactive fiscal policy in 2015 and make the transformation of its economic growth pattern and economic restructuring a priority. This means that China will give more support to investment, its key strategic industries and the service sector.

Bolstering reform is the main means through which China can maintain its economic new normal. Reform and opening-up measures that have served the country so well for more than 30 years are losing momentum. The country needs new driving forces for its economy. The current problems facing China's economic development are in nature institutional ones and require profound changes.

At the conference, the Central Government made concrete plans for expanding reforms. Systemic reforms will be undertaken and plans which can both accommodate next year's circumstances and yield long-term benefits will be put into effect.

In 2015, China plans to further streamline administration, delegate power to lower levels and attempt to maintain the economic new normal by strengthening finance, foreign trade, science and technology; facilitating the creation of mixed ownership companies; and coordinating regional development.

China will also make greater contributions to the world economy, as it advances the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiatives as well as the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. At the conference, it was requested that China should realize more of its latent domestic demand potential in 2015 so as to reach a balance between imports and exports and between inbound and outbound investment.

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