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China Focus: Government departments reveal priorities in 2024

BEIJING, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) — As China’s gross domestic product (GDP) reached a new high of over 126 trillion yuan (about 17.74 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2023, what measures are likely to be adopted to reinforce the sound economic fundamentals and what is the outlook for the Chinese economy in the coming year?

Several heads of government departments have recently presented reports addressing commonly asked questions and expounding on the direction of policymaking for the year 2024.

BOOSTING INNOVATION

This year, China will promote industrial innovations through technological advancements while ensuring the stable growth of the industrial economy, according to Jin Zhuanglong, minister of industry and information technology.

In this regard, Jin highlighted initiatives such as launching a program to promote the high-quality development of crucial industrial chains in the manufacturing sector and establishing new innovation hubs for manufacturing, noting that the ministry will support enterprises of different sizes with distinctive approaches.

The ministry will provide support to leading enterprises to help optimize their innovation chains. It will also guide large firms to share innovation resources with small and medium-sized companies and promote the testing and use of products developed by smaller enterprises.

Regarding industries, China will enhance efforts to transform traditional industries, which account for over 80 percent of the manufacturing, through technological upgrades, Jin said, noting that support will also be provided to competitive industries such as the new energy vehicle and rail transport equipment to help sharpen their competitive edge.

SOLIDIFYING FOREIGN TRADE, INVESTMENT

To consolidate the fundamentals of foreign trade and investment, Commerce Minister Wang Wentao stated that efforts should go toward consolidating the three mainstays, namely, trade in goods, trade in services and digital trade.

On upgrading trade in goods, Wang mentioned the need to expand the trade of intermediate goods, promote the sound development of cross-border e-commerce and improve the professional and digitalized standards of overseas warehouses.

On innovating service trade, Wang said the ministry will promote the easing of market access in telecommunication and medical sectors and roll out negative lists for cross-border service trade.

In terms of developing digital trade, efforts will be made to build industrial clusters focusing on innovation of both the tech and the institution, actively participate in the global digital trade governance, and align with international economic and trade rules, according to Wang.

ADVANCING RURAL REVITALIZATION

Agriculture Minister Tang Renjian has underlined the importance of ensuring grain security and avoiding large-scale relapse into poverty in 2024.

Measures will be adopted to foster the development of rural industries, as well as infrastructure and governance in rural areas, he said.

Tang stressed the need to strengthen the roles of science and technology and reforms in advancing rural revitalization, as well as the necessity to expand avenues for rural residents to increase their incomes.

The country is presented with a unique strategic opportunity and favorable conditions to advance comprehensive rural revitalization and strengthen the agricultural sector as Chinese modernization forges ahead, according to Tang.