China’s National People’s Congress has set the country’s growth target for 2016 in a range of 6.5%-7%. Premier Li Keqiang will announce the target in his address to delegates, according to the text of his speech. The annual congress in Beijing sets out to determine both the economic and political agenda for the country.
It comes at a time when China struggles with slowing economic growth and a shift away from overreliance on manufacturing and heavy industry. The party congress is also expected to approve a new five-year plan, a legacy of the communist command economy.
“In setting a projected growth rate of between 6.5% and 7% we have taken into consideration the need to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and the need to advance structural reform,” Mr Li’s text says.
Last year, China’s goal was “about 7%”. The economy actually grew by 6.9% – the lowest expansion in 25 years. Mr Li will also say that China targets consumer inflation at “around 3%” and unemployment “within 4.5%”. Meanwhile, the country’s defence spending will be raised by 7.6%, the state-run Xinhua news agency reports, citing a budget report. This year’s congress is overshadowed by the current economic strains as China experiences slowing economic growth and extreme volatility in stock markets. (BBC News, 2016)