Bolstering demand high on agenda

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This photo taken on July 3, 2023 shows the final inspection line at the general assembly workshop of GAC Aion New Energy Automobile Co., Ltd. in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province. [Photo/Xinhua]

China is planning to bolster the economy by funding key projects, boosting consumption and tackling challenges faced by private enterprises, in a bid to hit its annual growth target for 2024, according to the country's top economic regulator.

Liu Sushe, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said the country will accelerate the issuance and use of local government special bonds and speed up the implementation of the central budget investment plan.

"So far, China has already allocated more than 200 billion yuan ($27.63 billion) of the investment plan within the central government budget, accounting for over 30 percent of the total plan for 2024," Liu said at a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday.

"The commission has completed the preliminary screening of this year's local government special bond projects. And the Ministry of Finance is currently reviewing the balance of project financing and revenues, and localities are also preparing for projects in advance."

On China's plan to issue ultra-long-term special-purpose treasury bonds for several consecutive years, Liu said the country has drafted an action plan to support its key strategies and enhance its capacities to ensure security in key areas. For starters, the country will issue 1 trillion yuan in ultra-long-term special-purpose treasury bonds this year.

He said the focus will be on achieving greater self-reliance and strength in science and technology, promoting integrated urban and rural development, facilitating coordinated regional development, enhancing the capabilities of ensuring grain and energy security and spurring high-quality development of the population.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics offer the latest official snapshot of the stabilization of the economy. China's economy beat expectations to expand by 5.3 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, following a 5.2 percent gain in the fourth quarter of last year.

Yuan Da, deputy secretary-general of the NDRC, said, "With announced policy measures taking gradual effect and more policy stimuli in the offing, the economic recovery trend will be further consolidated, giving us more confidence to achieve this year's goals with high quality."

Yuan also said that private enterprises still face difficulties and hurdles, and the NDRC will ramp up efforts to support their development.

"We will help accelerate the legislative process for the private economy promotion law," Yuan said. "More efforts will be made to further tackle issues faced by the private sector and create a better environment."

As the broader economy is still facing both internal and external pressures, Yuan said the country will step up macroeconomic policy support and strengthen countercyclical adjustments, and more efforts will be made to expand domestic demand as well as boost spending on cars, home appliances, cellphones and cultural tourism.

To further boost consumption, Jin Xiandong, director of the commission's office of policy studies, said the focus will be placed on creating more jobs to boost household purchasing power, encouraging new scenarios and businesses for consumption, and developing emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and the internet of things.

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