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Jiang Zemin Outlines Main Economic Tasks for China

Jiang Zemin, in his report to the 16th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Beijing Friday morning, outlined the main tasks for China's economic development and reform in the first two decades of this century.

The tasks are to improve the socialist market economy, promote strategic adjustment of the economic structure, basically accomplish industrialization, energetically apply IT, accelerate modernization, maintain a sustained, rapid and sound development of the national economy and steadily uplift the people's living standards.

Jiang said that to fulfill the tasks, China must take a new road to industrialization and implement the strategy of rejuvenating the country through science and education and that of sustainable development.

It is necessary to persist in using IT to propel industrialization, which will, in turn, stimulate IT application, blazing a new trail to industrialization featuring high scientific and technological content, good economic returns, low resources consumption, little environmental pollution and a full display of advantages in human resources, he said.

The country must press ahead to bring about an industrial pattern with high and new technology industries as the leader, basic and manufacturing industries as the kingpin and the service industry developing in all areas, Jiang said.

"We must give play to the important role of science and technology as the primary productive force and pay close attention to improving the quality and efficiency of economic growth by relying on scientific and technological progress and raising the qualities of labor force," he said.

Top priority must be given to sustainable development, Jiang said, stressing adherence to the basic state policies of family planning and environmental protection.

Jiang called for efforts to make the rural economy flourish and speed up urbanization, saying the county must strengthen the position of agriculture as the foundation of the economy, carry on the restructuring of agriculture and the rural economy, protect and raise the comprehensive grain production capacity and improve the competitiveness of agriculture in the market.

It is essential to persist in the coordinated development of large, medium and small cities and small towns along the path to urbanization with Chinese characteristics, he said.

Jiang said China must stick to the basic rural policies of the Party and keep stabilizing and improving the two-tier management system that integrates unified with separate management on the basis of household contract management.

"We must continue with the reform in tax and fee in rural areas to lighten the burdens of farmers and protect their interests," he added.

When talking about the development of the western region and the coordinated development of regional economies, Jiang said that to lay a solid foundation and go ahead in a down-to-earth manner, China must give priority to infrastructure and ecological environment improvement and strive for breakthroughs in a decade.

"The state should provide the western region with greater support in such areas as investment projects, tax policies and transfer payments," he said.

The central region should redouble its efforts toward structural adjustment and cultivate new economic growth points, while the eastern region should quicken the pace of upgrading its industrial structure, and further develop the outward-looking economy, he said.

"The eastern, central and western regions should strengthen economic exchanges and cooperation to complement one another and secure common development," Jiang added.

In line with the requirements of releasing and developing the productive forces, Jiang said, China must uphold and improve the basic economic system, with public ownership playing a dominant role and diverse forms of ownership developing side by side.

"We must unswervingly consolidate and develop the public sector of the economy and also encourage, support and guide the development of the non-public sectors of the economy," he said, stressing that the country must stimulate the development of the non-public sectors while keeping the public sector as the dominant player, incorporating both into the process of the socialist modernization drive instead of setting them against each other.

Jiang listed continuing to adjust the distribution and structure of the state sector and reform the state property management system as a major task for deepening economic restructuring.

Jiang said that measures should be taken to give a fuller play to the basic role of the market in the allocation of resources and create an environment for the equal use of production factors by market players and promote free movement of commodities and production factors on markets around the country.

"We must improve the government functions of economic regulation, market supervision, social administration and public services," he said.

Jiang said it is essential to deepen the reform of the distribution system and improve the social security system, indicating that China should establish the principle that labor, capital, technology, managerial expertise and other production factors participate in the distribution of income in accordance with their contributions, thereby improving the system under which distribution according to work is dominant and a variety of modes of distribution coexist.

Efforts should be made to improve the basic old-age pension and medical insurance systems for urban workers, and the systems of unemployment insurance and subsistence allowances for urban residents, he said.

In response to the new situation of economic globalization and China's entry into the WTO, the nation should take part in international economic and technological cooperation and competition on a broader scale, in more spheres and on a higher level, make the best use of both international and domestic markets, optimize the allocation of resource, expand the pace for development and accelerate reform and development by opening up, he said.

Jiang said China should do everything possible to create more jobs and improve the people's lives.

It is the long-term strategy and policy of the state to expand employment. Party committees and governments at all levels must take it as their major obligation to improve business environment and create more jobs, he said.

The country should introduce flexible and diverse forms of employment and encourage people to find jobs on their own or become self-employed, he said.

"The fundamental goal of economic development is to uplift the living standards and quality of life of the people," Jiang said. "As the economy develops, we should increase the income of urban and rural residents to meet their multifarious material and cultural needs."

(Xinhua News Agency November 8, 2002)