BEIJING — China’s resolve to continue promoting open and high-quality development will provide a much-needed stimulation to global economic growth, world experts and scholars said.
China sets the 2019 gross domestic product (GDP) growth target at 6-6.5 percent, Premier Li Keqiang said in his government work report on March 5 at the opening of the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislative body.
“China’s projection of 6-6.5 percent GDP growth this year, in my personal opinion, is very realistic and achievable,” said Joseph Matthews, a senior professor at the Beltei International University in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.
As unilateralism, protectionism and populism are spreading across the world, Matthews said, China’s further opening up of its economy and market is sending a very clear and positive message to the world.
It demonstrates that “China commits to free market economy and fair and equitable trade practices, and shares its development, wealth and prosperity with all nations irrespective of their region and continent,” he added.
Though China faced a complicated and challenging environment rarely seen in many years with the economy under new downward pressure, the nation managed to accomplish main targets for economic and social development in 2018, Premier Li said in the work report on March 5.
Suliaman Turay is a lecturer and researcher on business and public policy with Pan African Institute for Development West Africa, a think tank in Cameroon.
He said China’s economic growth is a real eye-opener for African countries, and Africans need to gain a competitive advantage in international trade by learning from the Chinese people.
“The steady increase in high-tech investment speaks volumes of the determination of China to maintain stable and quality growth,” he said.
“As long as China continues to upgrade its economic structure for quality growth, driven by innovations in science and technology, its development will continue to offer opportunities for African countries,” Turay noted.
Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, a professor of the University of Yaounde II in Cameroon, said Chinese innovation is helping to boost economic and social development in other countries, and helping them cultivate their own talent.
A good example, Ngolle noted, is the Chinese agricultural technology which “is transforming barren land into fertile farmland in Africa.”
To stimulate growth, Li said in the report, China will reduce the current value-added tax (VAT) rate of 16 percent for manufacturing and other industries to 13 percent, and lower the rate for such industries as transportation and construction from 10 percent to 9 percent.
The move is hailed by overseas experts. Turay said the tax cuts could just be the game changer for China’s defense against economic headwinds as it seeks to stimulate the slowing economy.
“The reduction of VAT for manufacturing and other industries will be very significant and important to the market,” he said.
Miika Wires, client director of the Finnish Tax Administration, said the VAT reduction is good news for Finnish companies.
Wires said he believes that many Finnish companies are interested in going to China because the Asian country “is a big market and Finland stands in the center of the good connection between China and Europe.”