2. Key Policy Steps in Achieving China’s Next Transformation
Which brings me to my second topic—China’s next transformation.
China’s enormous economic progress is due to the courage of its leaders and people who were not afraid to undertake bold reforms, even if they were costly in the short term. China is again at a crossroads. While headline growth numbers remain impressive, this disguises some serious obstacles that need to be overcome.
In a recent address, President Xi Jinping put it this way:” Pausing and withdrawing are not a way out. Reforming and opening up only has a progressive tense, not a perfect tense.”
Pausing and withdrawing are not a way out. Reforming and opening up only has a progressive tense, not a perfect tense.
The challenge is clear: to make growth more inclusive, friendlier to the environment, and more sustainable. The reform blueprint announced at the Third Plenum is an impressively ambitious and comprehensive response to this challenge.
From that blueprint, I would emphasize three key steps:
(i) Unleashing the potential of the services sector;
(ii) Building a modern, globally integrated financial sector; and
(iii) Strengthening inclusion and safeguarding the environment.
Let me elaborate on each:
(i) Unleashing the potential of the services sector
China’s previous round of reforms transformed it into a manufacturing powerhouse. The next round of reforms must be aimed at increasing the role of the modern services sector.
be aimed at以……为目标，致力于
This will not only unlock the substantial growth potential in that sector, but also boost employment, consumption and living standards. As with the previous reforms, removing barriers blocking development of the private sector will be key.
For example: China is currently among the top three countries in the world in filing patent applications—more than 435,000 of them in 2011 alone. It also ranks first worldwide in terms of creative exports—that is, export products based on exclusive trademark registrations in China.
The question is how to safeguard and nurture this success?
Productivity and innovation can only flourish with modern education, advanced health, and integrated financial systems. So the barriers to entry in these key areas need to be reduced—so that innovation can keep China at the leading edge of economic progress.
(ii) Building a modern, globally integrated financial sector
What about the financial sector? It too holds great potential to increase growth and improve welfare.
China has taken commendable steps—including in recent days—to modernize its financial sector. Progress has been made in widening the exchange rate band, and People’s Bank Governor Zhou has committed to complete the process of interest rate liberalization in two years. The market orientation of monetary policy implementation has also increased.
exchange rate band汇率变动幅度
Yet, there is still some way to go to establish the modern, robust, and globally integrated financial system that is essential to support China’s next transformation.
For one thing, Chinese financial institutions would benefit from more competition and knowledge-transfer. This would help to better intermediate the vast pool of domestic savings to the most productive uses. It would also prepare Chinese banks to play a bigger role globally.
A gradual opening up of the capital account would facilitate this process, while helping to diversify domestic savings—and make the economy more resilient to shocks. It would also strengthen the potential role of the renminbi as a global currency.
Of course, opening up the financial sector must go hand-in-hand with a strengthening of macroeconomic policy frameworks and the constant upgrading of regulation and supervision. The crisis has taught us all this very important lesson.
(iii) Strengthening inclusion and safeguarding the environment
I have talked about the services sector and the financial sector as important steps toward improving the quality of growth. The sustainability of growth is just as important. And for growth to be sustainable, it needs to be inclusive, its benefits need to be more widely shared, and it needs to be environmentally viable.
As with many countries around the world, China’s economic success came at a price—increasing inequality and increasing environmental damage.
The IMF’s research shows that excessive inequality is bad for sustainable growth. Increasing opportunities in education, health care, and financial services can help greatly to address inequality. So too can reforms to increase competition. Social cohesion can also benefit from the right kinds of redistributive policies and a strong safety net.
So too can reforms to increase competition.增加竞争的改革也可以做到。
Other recent work by the IMF also shows that there are significant economic gains to be made from increased participation of women in the labor market. In some parts of the world, per capita GDP could be as much as 27 percent higher if gender gaps in the labor market were closed.
Fortunately, China has made important strides in leveling the playing field for women, especially in senior positions. It has also encouraged female entrepreneurship—a quarter of all business people in China are women.
Even so, there are still many constraints. Addressing them will be good for Chinese women and men—and good for China.
In terms of the environment, the challenge is well known. Poor air quality, severe water shortage, and desertification are major health and economic hazards. They pose a serious risk to the next stage of China’s development.
Encouragingly, China has taken some important steps to improve its environmental footprint. An environmental protection tax is being considered and resources are being allocated to close down polluting factories.
And yet, more must be done to make growth greener. One issue that the IMF has been emphasizing for many countries is the better pricing of natural resources—and stricter enforcement of rules. This powerful combination can lead to a significant improvement in the quality of the environment.
I fully appreciate the breadth and depth of these reforms—in the services, financial, and environmental areas—and the courage and commitment needed to see them through. They will not be easy to implement but, if done well, they will indeed support China’s next transformation.
As the wise Chinese proverb says: “Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still”.
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