SCIO briefing on China's economy in January and February

The State Council Information Office (SCIO) held a press conference in Beijing on Monday to provide information on China's economic performance in January and February. March 19, 2020

Ta Kung Pao & Wen Wei Po:

How many percentage points of GDP growth by the end of this year does China need to achieve its 2020 targets on economic development and its goal of doubling its 2010 GDP? One more question: You just mentioned that China would expand domestic demand while consolidating external demand, but do you think global proliferation of the epidemic will affect China's overall external demand? 

Mao Shengyong:

As of your first question on the goal of doubling China's GDP from 2010, I think the core of the question is China's economic growth this year. Indeed, the economy is facing some headwinds since the year started: On the one hand, the epidemic has left a clear negative impact on the economy in the first quarter, especially January and February, and on the other hand, the external environment is seeing new changes like sharp fluctuations in the financial market and commodity prices, resulting in gloomy predictions that global economic growth may slow. However, there are some encouraging factors emerging out there: First, the results of epidemic prevention and control in China are going to leave the country stronger. Second, progress has been continuously made in coordinating epidemic control and socioeconomic development and helping enterprises resume production and operations. Third, after the results of epidemic prevention and control are further consolidated, the endogenous dynamic of the Chinese economy will be constantly unleashed, and economic activities that were temporarily contained will reactivate. In the next stage, if work on epidemic prevention and control proceeds well, China will land on a good foundation for strong economic growth in the rest of the year. Especially after more robust hedging policies are implemented, the effects will continue emerging in the second half of this year. I am confident that China will maintain stable, healthy economic development this year. 

To your second question on the epidemic's impact on China's foreign trade: So far, the epidemic has been basically contained in China, but it still maintains momentum of rapid spread outside of China. Certainly, the pandemic situation will impact China's foreign trade. Under this circumstance, two things are extremely important: First, we must continue advancing epidemic prevention and control instead of just calling it a day. In addition to stepping up epidemic prevention and control domestically, we also need to strengthen international cooperation on prevention and control of the epidemic. China has gained valuable experience on this very task and should play a more prominent role as a responsible major country. Second, the global economy is facing some difficulties. Those irrational trade rules and barriers should be removed and abolished to enable the world economy to more effectively offset the impact of the epidemic and bring global trade back to normal. Thank you!

Hu Kaihong:

The press conference is hereby concluded. Thank you, Mr. Mao. Thank you all.

Translated and edited by Liu Haile, Yin Xing, Zhao Yue, Zhou Xin, Xu Shuyuan and Scott Huntsman. In case of any dispute over a discrepancy, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail.

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