China must focus on domestic demand to spur consumption

An employee oversees the production line of a motor manufacturing company in Yueqing, Zhejiang province. CAI KUANYUAN/FOR CHINA DAILY

China should ramp up more efforts to boost domestic demand and spur consumption next year, which will help promote economic growth to a reasonable range, Ning Jizhe, former head of the National Bureau of Statistics said on Saturday.

Ning, who is deputy director of the Committee on Economic Affairs of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said the optimization of COVID-19 containment measures will help give consumption a boost, and the economy will likely recover next year with the government’s solid steps to boost domestic demand.

His remarks came after the annual Central Economic Work Conference concluded on Friday, mapping out priorities for economic work in 2023.

Citing key tasks mapped out by the meeting, Ning said the country needs to ensure the implementation of the optimized COVID containment measures, speed up the resumption of work and production for business and services, enrich offerings available such as clothes and foods and boost new forms of consumption.

Speaking at an annual Chinese economic meeting held by China Center for International and Economic Exchanges, Ning said the country needs to make a big push to increase people’s incomes through multiple channels, especially raising earnings of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and self-employed households that were hit hard by the pandemic.

More efforts should also be made to strengthen the protection of legitimate consumer rights and interests, uphold the market order of fair competition and build a batch of regional consumption centers and cities, Ning said.

When it comes to expanding and stabilizing investment, he said the country needs to increase the support for key national projects, SMEs as well as innovation-drive and green development and boost private sector investment.

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