By Javier Triana
Beijing, Oct 29 (efe-epa).- The change in China’s economic model or the recent commitment to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060 will be two of the main points in the draft of the 2021-25 five-year plan that will be approved Thursday by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) after four days of meetings.
The fifth plenary session of the XIX Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, made up of about 300 leaders, discusses the plan – the 14th in the People’s Republic – meeting in a hotel in Beijing since Monday.
On Friday, the axes that will shape Chinese politics and economy in the next five years will be explained at a press conference, focusing on the following keys:
During the Sep. 22 UN General Assembly, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged reaching carbon neutrality by 2060, an initiative well received by an international community that has seen President Donald Trump’s United States slip away from any such compromise.
Xi’s announcement, which includes reaching peak emissions no later than 2030, will have to be reflected in the economic policies that govern China – the world’s largest emitter of polluting gases – until 2025, according to the official press.
Several environmental experts have been optimistic with this announcement as it is a first step that has already led to a domino effect of environmental commitments: at least Japan and South Korea committed this week to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
However, these same experts, both independent and governmental, believe China must specify what type of emissions will be reduced, since a diffuse language could invite cheating in a country that needs energy and whose coal industry has had a great historical weight (currently 60 percent of its electricity comes from it.)
In fact, the expansion of coal-fired power plants has not stopped in the Asian superpower.
Formed for the first time in the first half of the year, “dual circulation” is an economic concept that is still unclear, but draws on the current economic situation: China wants to reinforce domestic consumption, after the pandemic caused by the market crisis However, Beijing wants to continue to take advantage of it when necessary.
In this way, there would be a national engine that the Chinese government would seek to encourage, to be completed through an international engine.
The importance of the latter has yet to be determined, since although it has been reduced by half since its peak in 2006, the weight of exports on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in China remains a not inconsiderable 18.4 percent, according to World Bank data for 2019.
In the words of the official People’s Daily, “China wants to drastically boost consumption in the domestic market to ensure long-term sustainable growth free of foreign risks ranging from COVID-19 to trade wars.”
This commitment to spur consumption (internal, in this case) is also in line with the change in the economic model promoted by Beijing to jump from a manufacturing economy to one based on consumption.
The growth target of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was largely absent at the conclusion of the annual meeting of the National People’s Assembly (ANP, Legislative) last May, the first time that this happened since 2002.
The uncertainty caused worldwide by the coronavirus pandemic led the communist leaders to exercise prudence to not get their fingers caught when marking specific data.
However, five-year plans usually show an average growth for the following five years.
Quoted by the state newspaper Global Times, Li Chang’an, from the Beijing University of Economics and International Business, said it would be between 4 percent and 5 percent for the period between 2021 and 2025, compared to 6.5 percent marked in the plan above. EFE-EPA