Report on the Implementation of the 2019 Plan for National Economic and Social Development and on the 2020 Draft Plan for National Economic and Social Development
Delivered at the Third Session of the Thirteenth National People’s Congress on May 22, 2020
National Development and Reform Commission
The National Development and Reform Commission has been entrusted by the State Council to deliver this report on the implementation of the 2019 plan and on the 2020 draft plan for national economic and social development to the Third Session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) for your deliberation. The Commission also invites comments from members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
I. Implementation of the 2019 Plan for National Economic and Social Development
In 2019, under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, as well as the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, all regions and departments fully implemented the guiding principles of the 19th CPC National Congress and the second, third, and fourth plenary sessions of the 19th CPC Central Committee. We raised our consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment; increased our confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics; and resolutely upheld General Secretary Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and resolutely upheld the Party Central Committee’s authority and its centralized, unified leadership. We faithfully executed the decisions and plans of the Party Central Committee and the State Council, implemented the Report on the Work of the Government and the 2019 Plan for National Economic and Social Development approved at the Second Session of the 13th NPC, and adopted the NPC Financial and Economic Affairs Committee’s suggestions based on its review of the 2019 plan. We followed the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, continued to apply the new development philosophy, advanced supply-side structural reform as our main task, pursued high-quality development, and took solid steps to ensure stability on six fronts.* We coordinated efforts to maintain stable growth, promote reform, make structural adjustments, improve people’s lives, guard against risks, and maintain stability. (*The six fronts refer to employment, the financial sector, foreign trade, foreign investment, investment, and expectations.) The main targets and tasks in economic and social development for the year were accomplished, and progress in achieving the main targets listed in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) met our expectations. All of these successes laid a crucial foundation for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
1. We conducted well-conceived macro regulation and kept major economic indicators within an appropriate range. We strengthened range-based, targeted, well-timed, and precision regulation, stepped up coordination between policies, and improved the management of expectations, thus promoting stable and healthy economic growth.
1) Major macroeconomic targets were achieved. China’s gross domestic product (GDP) reached 99.1 trillion yuan, an increase of 6.1%, which was consistent with the projected target. A total of 13.52 million urban jobs were created, and the year-end survey-based and registered urban unemployment rates were 5.2% and 3.62% respectively. The consumer price index (CPI) rose by 2.9%. A basic equilibrium was maintained with regard to the balance of payments, and foreign exchange reserves were kept at over US$ 3 trillion.
2) Counter-cyclical macro policy regulation proved to be effective. With the focus on cutting taxes and fees, we implemented a proactive fiscal policy with greater intensity and better performance, continued to improve the structure of government spending, and ensured sufficient funding for major areas such as the improvement of living standards. Revenue in the national general public budget was 19.04 trillion yuan, an increase of 3.8%; expenditures totaled 23.89 trillion yuan, an increase of 8.1%; and the fiscal deficit was 2.76 trillion yuan, the same as the budgeted figure. Tax and fee reductions totaled 2.36 trillion yuan over the year. We appropriately expanded the range of uses for special local government bonds and quickened the pace of bond issuance. We maintained a prudent monetary policy with an appropriate level of intensity. Counter-cyclical regulation continued to have an effect, and the credit structure continued to improve, while the credit supply to the real economy, particularly to micro and small businesses and private enterprises, was increased further. At the end of 2019, growth in the M2 money supply was 8.7%, and aggregate financing grew by 10.7%. We made greater efforts to implement the policy of prioritizing employment, as well as the policy of refunding unemployment insurance premiums, and increased support for enterprises in keeping employment stable. A stable employment situation was generally maintained with regard to key groups such as college graduates, rural migrant workers, and demobilized military personnel.
2. We moved forward with supply-side structural reform and promoted the formation of a strong domestic market. We adhered to our principles of consolidating the gains made in the five priority tasks, strengthening the dynamism of micro entities, upgrading industrial chains, and ensuring unimpeded flows in the economy. We consistently advanced industrial restructuring, and worked hard to keep circulation dynamic in order to ensure that market supply meets demand.
1) Supply-side structural reform in agriculture was advanced. We made sustained efforts to ensure sufficient grain production, maintaining total grain output at over 650 million metric tons for the fifth year in a row. We adopted a strategy for securing the supply of major agricultural products and implemented a scheme to revitalize the production of soybeans. Functional zones for grain production and protective areas for the production of major agricultural products were established. Farmland irrigation and water conservancy continued to improve, with the total area of high-quality cropland increasing by 5.33 million hectares and the total area of farmland covered by efficient water-saving irrigation increasing by 1.33 million hectares. We continued our efforts to prevent and control African swine fever and accelerate the recovery of hog production, and improved the system for the production, supply, storage, and sale of vegetables. We refined the policy for setting minimum prices for state grain purchases and the policy for guaranteeing base prices for cotton. We advanced reform of the system for the state purchase and storage of major agricultural products and the reserve system for important agricultural supplies. Cold-chain logistics and storage facilities for agricultural products witnessed rapid development. We continuously promoted industrial integration in rural areas, resulting in the establishment of 107 modern agriculture industrial parks and 210 demonstration parks for integrated industrial development in rural areas. We also accelerated the formulation and improvement of a new policy framework to support and protect agriculture.
2) Transformation and upgrading of manufacturing picked up pace. We rolled out policies and measures to promote high-quality development of the manufacturing sector and released the Catalog of Industrial Structural Adjustments (2019). We continued to employ market- and law-based methods to cut outmoded coal production capacity by around 100 million metric tons, prudently moved forward with the merging and reorganization of steel enterprises, and implemented major petrochemical projects. We organized a new series of technological transformation projects, and promoted the demonstration and application of newly-developed equipment that was made in China such as Chinese standard type-A subway cars.
3) Solid steps were taken to promote high-quality development of the service sector. We introduced policies and measures on high-quality development of the service sector and transformation and upgrading of traditional service industries, stepped up the development of new forms and new models of business, and promoted the integrated development of advanced manufacturing and modern services. We supported the development of platforms for generic technology R&D, industrial design, and the industrial internet.
4) More support was provided to help reduce costs in the real economy. The rate of value added tax (VAT) was lowered from 16% to 13% in manufacturing and several other industries, and from 10% to 9% in industries such as transportation and construction. We implemented general-benefit tax cuts for micro and small businesses, raising the VAT threshold from 30,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan in monthly sales for small-scale taxpayers. We enabled all provincial-level regions to reduce the ratio of enterprise contributions to workers’ basic old-age insurance to 16%, and extended for another year the policy of temporary reduction of premiums for unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation. We deepened reforms to liberalize interest rates, with overall financing costs being notably reduced throughout society. We settled overdue payments of 664.7 billion yuan owed by government departments and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to private enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). We further cut the number of items in the catalog of government-set business service fees, and cancelled or lowered some administrative charges. The price of electricity for general industrial and commercial businesses was cut by another 10% on average, thus reducing electricity costs for businesses by 84.6 billion yuan for the year. We helped businesses save 79 billion yuan by enabling them to buy electricity directly from power generation companies. We lowered the prices for refined oil products, natural gas city gate prices, and prices for natural gas transmission through trans-provincial pipelines, lightening the burden on consumers by approximately 65 billion yuan. Through rescinding or cutting railway charges, port charges, and civil airport charges, we helped reduce the burden on businesses by more than 10 billion yuan.
5) New growth areas in consumption that benefit the people continued to expand. We introduced several policies and measures to speed up commodity distribution and facilitate consumption, to improve the quality and expand the size of the domestic services sector, to unlock consumption potential in the areas of culture and tourism, to encourage fitness and sports consumption, and to promote the development of “internet-plus social services.” We stepped up support for nighttime consumption, and encouraged the purchase of new automobiles, home appliances, and electronic products to replace old ones. Comprehensive demonstrations for introducing e-commerce into rural areas were carried out. Express delivery depots in rural areas exceeded 30,000, thus covering 96.6% of all townships and towns. Total annual retail sales of consumer goods exceeded 40 trillion yuan, an increase of 8.0%. Total online retail sales nationwide reached 10.6 trillion yuan, an increase of 16.5%, with sales of goods increasing by 19.5% and accounting for 20.7% of the total retail sales of consumer goods. We successfully organized a series of activities for the 2019 Chinese Brands Day.
6) We appropriately expanded effective investment in key areas. We published the Regulations on Government Investment, and lowered, as appropriate, capital contribution requirements for projects in priority areas. We improved the reserve mechanisms for major projects, and actively promoted the construction of projects funded by special bonds. We carried out public-private partnership (PPP) projects in a well-regulated and orderly way, and encouraged the participation of non-governmental capital in key areas to shore up points of weakness. Out of 172 major water conservancy projects, construction has already begun on 144 projects. The Plan for Developing China’s Strengths in Transportation was published. The construction of 23 national logistics hubs was steadily advanced. The preliminary work for the Chengdu-Lhasa railway progressed steadily. Beijing Daxing International Airport began operation. The construction of large hydropower stations such as Wudongde and Baihetan was accelerated. By the end of 2019, the total length of in-service railways exceeded 139,000 kilometers, including 35,000 kilometers of high-speed rail lines, the number of civil airports in service totaled 235, the total length of power grids of 220 KV and above increased by 34,000 kilometers, and trunk oil and gas pipelines increased by 4,000 kilometers. The fixed-asset investment for the year (excluding investment by rural households) rose by 5.4%, with investment from non-governmental sources growing by 4.7%, while the composition of investment witnessed a continuous improvement, with investment in high-tech industry and the social domain up 17.3% and 13.2% respectively.