The blueprint for China's economic and social development for the next five years has officially been put into action, after being approved at the Fourth Session of the 11th National People's Congress, which concluded on March 14.
By setting a slower average annual GDP growth goal of 7 percent and highlighting the transformation of the economic development model and economic restructuring, the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) will undoubtedly lead China's economic development toward higher quality and more sustainable growth.
During the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10), despite a blow by the global financial crisis, China still achieved 11.2 percent average annual GDP growth, far outpacing the 7.5 percent goal set by the 11th Five-Year Plan. Obviously, growth speed is no longer an issue for China, but growth quality still needs more attention. The economic development model should be changed and economic structure adjusted. Ordinary people should benefit more from economic growth and see a substantial improvement in their livelihood. Economic development should save energy and resources, and protect the environment. A slower growth target will allow more space for the economy to realize quality growth.
As part of the efforts to achieve quality growth, transforming the development model and restructuring the economy are more arduous tasks. Among the 22 numerical targets set by the 11th Five-Year Plan, only three indexes—increases to the proportions of the service industry's output in GDP, jobs in the service industry to overall employment, and research and development expenditure in GDP—haven't been reached, indicating the shortcomings of our economic structure.
Over the next five years, domestic consumption will continue to be expanded to prop up economic growth together with engines of investment and exports. While upgrading the manufacturing sector and fostering strategic emerging industries, the country will further improve the proportion of the service industry in GDP. Technological innovations will further be encouraged by an improved system and greater policy support, so economic growth can be bolstered mainly by innovation rather than resources consumption.
Guided by the 12th Five-Year Plan, China's economy is bound to head for healthier and more sustainable growth. We have confidence in achieving the goals set by the plan and, of course, it needs our unswerving determination and unremitting efforts.