SCIO briefing on promoting high-quality development to set the stage for building a modern socialist country in all respects
Beijing | 10 a.m. March 6, 2023

The State Council Information Office held a press conference in Beijing on Monday about promoting high-quality development to set the stage for building a modern socialist country in all respects.


Zhao Chenxin, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)

Li Chunlin, vice chairman of the NDRC

Yang Yinkai, vice chairman of the NDRC


Shou Xiaoli, deputy director general of the Press Bureau of the State Council Information Office (SCIO) and spokesperson of the SCIO

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Mr. Zhao Chenxin, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)

Mr. Li Chunlin, vice chairman of the NDRC

Mr. Yang Yinkai, vice chairman of the NDRC


Ms. Shou Xiaoli, director general of the Press Bureau of the State Council Information Office (SCIO) and spokesperson of the SCIO


March 6, 2023

Shou Xiaoli:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to this press conference held by the State Council Information Office (SCIO). This is the 10th briefing in the series "Embarking on the New Journey — A Government Perspective." We are honored to have invited Mr. Zhao Chenxin, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC); Mr. Li Chunlin, vice chairman of the NDRC; and Mr. Yang Yinkai, vice chairman of the NDRC, to brief you on promoting high-quality development to set the stage for building a modern socialist country in all respects, and take your questions.

Now, I'll give the floor to Mr. Zhao Chenxin for a brief introduction.

Zhao Chenxin:

Friends from the media, good morning. It is a pleasure to attend today's press conference with my two colleagues and speak with you. First of all, on behalf of the NDRC, we would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks to friends from the press and all walks of life for their long-term care, support and assistance regarding the development and reform work.

Over the past year, China has encountered various challenges, including a turbulent global environment, and the complex and demanding domestic reform, development and stability agendas. However, with the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, our nation has responded effectively to these uncertainties and achieved remarkable progress in economic and social development. We have basically met our primary objectives and tasks for the year. Yesterday, the Report on the Implementation of the 2022 Plan for National Economic and Social Development and the 2023 Draft Plan for National Economic and Social Development, drafted under the efforts led by the NDRC, was submitted for review to the first session of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC) and members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). The report presents a comprehensive overview of the implementation of the 2022 national economic and social development plan, and a summary of the previous year's performance can be condensed into a few key points. The first noteworthy point is the overall strong performance of the economy. We reached a new level of GDP at 120 trillion yuan, which was an increase of 6.1 trillion yuan, equivalent to the annual GDP of a medium-sized country. Despite global inflation hitting a new four-decade high, China's consumer price index (CPI) only rose by 2%. China created 12.06 million new urban jobs in 2022, exceeding the government's annual target, and our balance of payments maintained a basic equilibrium. By the end of last year, our foreign exchange reserves exceeded $3.1 trillion. Overall, China's economy has performed exceptionally well among major economies. Achieving such remarkable progress amid numerous uncertain factors is a significant accomplishment that we should cherish. The second point is the steady improvement in the quality of our development. Innovation has played a vital role in leading our progress, and for the first time, China's investment in research and development (R&D) surpassed 3 trillion yuan, with the proportion of GDP rising to 2.55%. Our ranking in the global innovation index rose to 11th place. We have accelerated the pace of structural adjustments in various fields, such as industries, regions, investment, consumption and trade, while also promoting green, circular and low-carbon development. Additionally, we have also consolidated our gains in poverty elimination, improved the social security system, and enhanced the level of public services. Lastly, we have continued to consolidate the foundation of our secure development. Fiscal and financial operations remain stable, and our balance of payments is sound, providing a crucial foundation for our safe development. Grain production has achieved "19 consecutive bumper harvests," with a stable output of over 650 million metric tons for eight consecutive years. The building of the energy production, supply, storage and marketing system has accelerated, and the overall energy supply has been stable. The security and guarantee capabilities of important industrial and supply chains have been continuously improved.

The achievements during the year can also be viewed in a longer time frame, which can provide a more comprehensive, profound and objective understanding of our country's progress. Looking back over the past five years, it has been an exceptionally unusual and extraordinary period for our country. During this time, our nation has consistently adapted to the global and domestic situations, social conditions and public opinion to promote economic and social development. We have effectively and efficiently responded to multiple challenges, including the accelerating changes unseen in a century, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the domestic economic downturn. As a result, we have achieved an average annual economic growth rate of 5.2%, significantly higher than the global growth rate of around 2.3% over the same period. China's position as the world's second-largest economy, largest manufacturing country, and largest trader in goods has been further consolidated and improved. We have also made sustainable and healthy progress in various undertakings, resulting in a significant improvement in the people's sense of gain, happiness and security. Especially in the past three years, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, we have achieved major and decisive victories in epidemic prevention and control. Furthermore, looking at the last 10 years in the new era, the country has achieved historic achievements and undergone historic changes in economic and social development. It was a decade marked by a turn toward high-quality development. The economic output of China has continuously surged to new heights, and its contribution to world economic growth ranked first. In particular, we have secured a historic success in eradicating absolute poverty, achieving a miracle in humankind's history of poverty reduction. We have built a moderately prosperous society in all respects on schedule, providing a more comprehensive institutional guarantee, a more solid material foundation, and a more vibrant spiritual force for Chinese modernization.

This year marks the first year of implementing the guiding principles of the 20th CPC National Congress, a crucial juncture to implement the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), and an important period to lay the foundation for building China into a modern socialist country in all respects. Therefore, it is of great significance to ensure economic performance. We will uphold the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, fully implement the guiding principles of the 20th CPC National Congress and the Central Economic Work Conference, and follow a unique Chinese path to modernization. We will adhere to the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, fully and faithfully apply the new development philosophy on all fronts, accelerate the creation of a new development pattern, and work hard to pursue high-quality development. We will better balance both domestic and international situations, coordinate epidemic prevention and control with economic and social development, and development with security. We will comprehensively deepen reform and opening up to strongly boost market confidence. We will make sure that our implementation of the strategy to expand domestic demand is integrated with our efforts to deepen supply-side structural reform. We will make more efforts to stabilize economic growth, employment, and prices and effectively fend off and defuse major risks. We will strive to achieve an overall upturn in economic performance and effectively upgrade and appropriately expand China's economic output. We will continue to improve the people's well-being and ensure social stability, making sure our efforts to build a modern socialist country in all respects get off to a good start and making new and greater contributions with our concrete actions.

That's my introduction. Next, my colleagues and I would like to answer your questions.


Shou Xiaoli:

The floor is open for questions now. Please identify the media outlet you represent before raising questions.

China Media Group:

Since the beginning of this year, China's economy has continued to recover, with a bump in both investment and consumption. Will such economic recovery continue in the future? What do you think of the 5% annual GDP growth target ? What measures will the NDRC take to help achieve such a goal? Thank you. 

Zhao Chenxin:

Thank you for your questions. Your questions cover three specific issues: whether the economy will continue its recovery, how to comment on the growth target of around 5%, and what measures will be adopted to help achieve the goal. I will answer them one by one.

Over the past three years, China has fought an extraordinary battle against COVID-19. Our practices have fully demonstrated that the Party Central Committee's major judgments on the pandemic, major decisions on pandemic-related work, and major adjustments to response strategies were appropriate. Its effective measures have been recognized by the people and helped deliver great effects. Under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China has achieved major decisive success in preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. At present, indeed, as you mentioned, as COVID-19 response measures have been improved and adjusted, and policies have been implemented effectively, leading to an accelerated resumption of transportation and logistics, and a steady improvement in economic operation. You also mentioned consumption and investment. We have seen sound momentum in consumption since the Spring Festival. Consumption related to tourism, transportation, restaurant, and retail services has increased substantially, laying a solid foundation for the first quarter of 2023 and even the entire year. From the perspective of investment, a host of major projects have started across the country recently. Measure, such as policy-backed and developmental financial instruments, medium- and long-term lending to the manufacturing sector, and equipment upgrading in key areas, have effectively ensured that projects are bolstered by funds and production factors. Such efforts have provided strong support to the economic recovery. All of the above have fully proved that China's economy has strong resilience and enormous potential, and the sound momentum for its sustainable and healthy economic growth has been maintained. Moreover, the fundamentals of China's economy remain unchanged, and they will maintain long-term growth. 

We can view the annual growth target of around 5% from three aspects. First, China remains a developing country with development high on its agenda. We need to keep long-term economic growth within a proper range on the basis of improving the quality and effectiveness of the development so as to achieve the targets and fulfill the tasks set at the 20th CPC National Congress. Meanwhile, we also need to maintain a certain growth rate to promote and expand employment, improve people's well-being, and fend off and defuse risks. Second, the target of around 5% is in accordance with economic development trends and the law of economic development. It is also conducive to guiding all sectors of society to put more focus on improving both the quality and the efficiency of economic growth so as to accelerate the building of the new development paradigm and promote high-quality development. Third, local governments have shown confidence in growth and have geared up for development. Moreover, people's congresses at the local level have made their economic growth target for this year. Based on our statistics and analysis, 27 of China's 31 provinces, regions, and municipalities directly under the central government have set a growth target higher than the national one, with 23 provinces aiming at 5.5% or above. Their strong confidence and practical measures have contributed to favorable conditions and laid a solid foundation for realizing the growth target of the country.

The third question is, what measures should be taken? The Central Economic Work Conference has laid out a comprehensive plan for this year's economic work. The next step is to work with other stakeholders to take substantial and meaningful measures to implement those decisions and arrangements of the Party Central Committee. Generally speaking, the overarching goal is to achieve both stability and progress, firmly implement the guidelines on better coordination in six aspects emphasized by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the Central Economic Work Conference, and prioritize stabilizing growth, employment and prices. Specifically, we should focus on the following five priorities. First, we will intensify our macro-policy control and regulation, ensuring that policies are consistent, coordinated, effective, and targeted; increase linkage and coordination between various policies; and conduct evaluations to ensure their consistency with the direction of macro-policies. Last year, under the arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, we successfully conducted consistency evaluations and achieved positive outcomes. This year, in accordance with the requirements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, we will do a better job in this consistency evaluation based on our experiences to ensure policies form synergies and work together effectively to achieve our targets. Second, we will coordinate our efforts to expand domestic demand with the deepening of supply-side structural reform to fully unleash the potential for consumer spending. We will also promote investment to achieve substantial progress, intensify our work in implementing the innovation-driven development strategy, accelerate the development of a modern industrial system, and meet, lead, and create new demands through higher-quality products and services. By doing so, we aim to promote a virtuous cycle of supply and demand at a higher level. Third, we will work towards building a more advanced socialist market economy system and further enhance our level of openness to continually stimulate development momentum and vitality. Fourth, we will coordinate development and security, prudently handle and resolve risks in areas such as real estate, finance, local government debts, and effectively enhance our security capabilities in fields such as grains, energy resources, and major industrial and supply chains. Fifth, we will implement solid and targeted employment-first policies, strengthen basic public services, and continuously safeguard and enhance people's livelihoods. Meanwhile, we will further enhance economic monitoring, predictions, and early warning, conduct early policy analyses before their implementation, enrich policy tools, prepare for worst-case scenarios, and be better equipped to address complex and difficult situations. We will maintain a firm hold on the initiative in our work and promote overall improvements in economic performance.

That concludes my remarks. Thank you.


Cover News: 

Despite the soaring inflation rates worldwide, China's consumer prices remained generally stable last year. How do you view the situation of China's consumer prices this year? What measures will be taken to stabilize prices?

Li Chunlin:

I'm happy to answer your questions. In 2022, amidst staggering inflation rates not seen in many years and increasing pressure for imported inflation, various localities and relevant departments have taken forceful and effective measures to ensure the supply of major products and stabilize their prices, with a focus on grain and energy. They have resolutely implemented the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council and achieved remarkable success. Domestic prices have remained stable, with the monthly CPI consistently kept below 3% and the annual CPI at only 2%. This has demonstrated a stark contrast to the soaring inflation rates seen worldwide.

Due to various factors such as geopolitical conflicts and pressures from imported inflation, domestic prices in China face several uncertainties and instabilities. However, it is important to note that China has achieved a bumper harvest in grain output for 19 consecutive years, with total output exceeding 1.3 trillion jin for many years, which provides a solid foundation for the country to maintain stable prices. Furthermore, we have ample hog production, a sufficient supply of products, stable energy sources, and an improved system to ensure supply and stabilize prices. It is fair to say that China has a solid foundation to stabilize prices, and we are confident in our capacity to meet this year's CPI target.

The Central Economic Work Conference highlighted the importance of stabilizing growth, employment and prices. Looking ahead, we will firmly implement a range of decisions and arrangements aimed at stabilizing prices made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, with particular attention to the following four areas: First, we will strengthen monitoring, prediction, and early warning. This requires close monitoring of both domestic and international commodity markets as well as the markets for major products that impact people's livelihoods. It is essential to analyze and predict changes in supply and demand and price fluctuations and implement targeted regulatory measures in a timely manner. Second, we will further strengthen our efforts in guaranteeing supply and stable prices for products affecting people's livelihoods. We will fully implement the national strategy for food security and the system of city mayors assuming responsibility for the "vegetable basket," stabilize the supply of output, improve links between production and sales, regulate food reserves, and ensure a stable market supply of these products. Third, we will take further steps to ensure supply and stable prices for major commodities such as energy. We will stabilize coal production, enhance our reserve capacity, and continuously regulate coal prices to ensure they are within an appropriate range. Furthermore, we will continue to increase exploration and development of China's oil, gas, and mineral resources; expand reserves and output; and strengthen the country's supply capacity. Fourth, we will also strengthen market regulation and guidance over expectations. This will involve coordinated efforts to regulate both spot trading and the future market. We will crack down on illegal activities such as hoarding and price gouging that violate laws and regulations. In addition, we will improve policy interpretation and press releases and promptly address public concerns. Thank you.


Phoenix TV: 

Last year, China's economic growth came in at 3%, while U.S. economic growth reached 2.1%. However, many analyses showed that the increment of the U.S.' GDP was larger than China's, and the gap between China and U.S. in economic aggregate was widening. How do you view these changes? Thank you.

Zhao Chenxin:

Thanks for your question. It's an important question that you have raised. The question also reminds us that many friends may have some questions when looking at the relevant data. I would like to make a few points for your reference regarding your question.

First, I want to stress that China has made remarkable progress in ramping up economic and social development in 2022 despite the impact of multiple unexpected factors. I summed it up in three sentences at the beginning of the conference: the overall performance of China's economy was very impressive, the quality of development has been steadily improved, and the foundation for safe development has been consolidated. Meanwhile, taking multiple economic indicators into overall consideration, the performance of China among the world's major economies was very outstanding. If we look at the longer time span of five or ten years, we can take a comprehensive and in-depth look at last year's achievements. The outstanding comprehensive performance highlights the quality and level of our country's economic development.

Second, when reading and observing economic data, we need to analyze the precise meaning of these data. Last year, China's economic growth came in at 3%, while U.S. economic growth reached 2.1%, and some other major economies grew by around 1.9% or less than 1%. This data was calculated using constant prices, which can reflect the growth of an economy relatively objectively and accurately. However, regarding the comparison of total GDP between China and the U.S., all countries use nominal GDP calculated at the current price of their own currencies when calculating the total GDP, which are prone to be heavily impacted by commodity prices. Last year, the U.S. experienced elevated inflation, with CPI and PPI recording a year-on-year increase of 8% and 16.5%, respectively. However, China's commodities price remained stable last year as CPI and PPI increased by 2% and 4.1% year-on-year, respectively. The high inflation in the U.S. has largely raised the country's nominal GDP. Whether Americas can feel a sense of gain under the high inflation, I assume that the residents of the country have the most experience. The comparison between China-U.S. GDP aggregate should be calculated after adjusting China's GDP from yuan to U.S. dollars, in which the exchange rate plays a significant role in impacting the final numbers. To curb high domestic inflation, the Federal Reserve resorted to seven interest hikes by 425 basis points, raising the federal funds rate to the highest level since 2007, which also caused a passive depreciation of many other currencies. The increase in U.S. dollar interest rates has caused depreciation of other currencies against the U.S. dollar, and the renminbi exchange rate has also been affected to some extent. When considering the gross GDP scale, there has also been a certain degree of reduction. I provide this information for your reference so that you can analyze the precise meaning of economic data when you read and observe it.

Third, China pursues a people-centered approach to development, and the purpose of China's development is to benefit the people. We have always been committed to running our own affairs well, constantly improving and surpassing ourselves to build a better China. We have always been committed to delivering better lives for our people through development and making more and more contributions to world peace and development through China's development. As the world's largest developing country, with a population of more than 1.4 billion, the fact that China has focused on completing its own tasks is a major contribution to human development. We have upheld a mutually beneficial and win-win opening strategy, actively participated in economic globalization, and strived for the common development of all countries. We are willing to make new contributions to world economic development with the new achievements of China's development. We also reach out our arms and welcome other countries aboard the express train of China's development.

Fourth, China's economy is currently operating well on the whole. Many international institutions have recently raised their expectations for China's economic growth. This year is a very important year and the first year to fully implement the guiding principles of the 20th CPC National Congress. Accomplishing the work for economic and social development this year is of major significance. All of us throughout the country have a high degree of agreement on this issue. All regions and all government departments have taken solid, practical, and effective measures. We are confident in achieving this year's targets and advancing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization. Thank you.


Lianhe Zaobao:

The contribution of consumption to China's economy shrank significantly last year. China's top leaders emphasize giving top priority to restoring and expanding consumption. How do you assess the current consumption situation in China? What measures will the Chinese government take to boost consumption? Thank you.

Li Chunlin: 

I am glad to answer your questions. You've raised three questions. How to evaluate the current consumption situation in China? What are the unfavorable factors restricting consumption? And what measures will be taken to boost consumption?

Final consumption is the enduring driving force for economic growth. Overall, China's consumer market has shown a trend of rapid recovery. With increasingly frequent regional population flows, there has been a significant increase in cross-provincial travel and tourism. Catering, culture, entertainment and other industries have picked up rapidly. And with the impact of traditional Chinese holidays, including the Spring Festival and the Lantern Festival, China's consumption got off to a good start at the beginning of the year. I'll share the statistics. During the Spring Festival, domestic tourism revenue reached 375.8 billion yuan, up 30% year on year, and 308 million domestic tourist visits were made, up 23.1% from last year. These two numbers are equal to 73% and 89% of the same period in 2019, respectively. Sales revenue of China's consumption-related sectors rose by 12.2%, and online retail sales of physical goods increased by 14.5%. So, judging from the numbers seen during the Spring Festival, the recovery of consumption has accelerated since the beginning of the year. As uncertainties restricting the release of consumption are gradually eliminated and consumption potential is unleashed rapidly, the growth rate of major indicators in the consumption sector is expected to increase gradually in the first half of this year. Looking ahead to the whole year, consumption can also become the main driving force of economic growth and play a more fundamental role. This is a prediction for the consumption situation of this year.

The Central Economic Work Conference emphasized that the recovery and expansion of consumption should be given top priority. As Mr. Zhao Chenxin mentioned, last year's Central Economic Work Conference stated that stability should be taken as the priority, and progress should be made while stability is ensured. Moreover, growth, employment and prices should also be stabilized. Consumption has played a fundamental role and made a key impact on stabilizing growth.

In the next step, we will fully implement the guiding principles of the 20th CPC National Congress and the Central Economic Work Conference, and promote the sustained recovery and expansion of consumption. Our work will focus on the following four aspects.

First, we will take multiple measures to promote the steady growth of consumption. We will issue policies for the recovery and expansion of consumption. We will introduce practical and effective policies and measures to stabilize bulk consumption, increase services consumption, expand rural consumption, and create a safe consumption environment to release residents' consumption potential.

Second, we will enhance the consumption capacity of residents. Consumption capacity is based on employment and income. We must come up with an innovative mechanism to promote a full-chain, virtuous cycle of employment, income distribution, and consumption. We will increase the income of urban and rural residents through multiple channels, and work to ensure the supply of basic consumer goods and keep their prices stable, so that residents can consume with stable incomes and have the confidence to spend.

Third, we will improve the consumption environment. We will develop the consumption promotion system and mechanisms, formulate polices to create a safe consumption environment, improve the quality management system, and optimize the diversified settlement mechanism for consumption disputes and the mediation mechanism for online consumer disputes. We will continue to optimize the consumption environment so that people will have a stronger sense of gain and are more willing to consume.

Fourth, we will foster new areas for consumption growth. We will vigorously advocate green consumption and new types of consumption. We will support consumption in key areas such as housing improvement, new energy vehicles, elderly care services, education, medical care, culture, health and sports. We will encourage the development of new forms, models and scenarios of consumption to further stimulate the vitality of the consumer market.

Over the coming year, we will adopt various policy tools to deal with the unfavorable factors restricting consumption. We have the confidence and capability to implement measures to boost consumption so that consumption will contribute more to the annual GDP growth of around 5% this year. Thank you.



Investment last year was a key driver of economic growth, but local government finances are seeing increasing stress because of the cost of COVID zero and the housing slump. What's your estimate for infrastructure investment this year? And based on the information we have, are there enough quality projects qualified to use that 3.8 trillion yuan quota for local special government bonds? Thank you.

Yang Yinkai:

Thank you for your questions. Last year, in accordance with the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, the NDRC worked together with relevant parties to actively expand effective investment. In 2022, China's fixed-asset investment increased by 5.1% year on year. Infrastructure and manufacturing investment grew by 9.4% and 9.1%, respectively, playing an important role in stabilizing the overall macroeconomic market.

This year, we will fully implement the guiding principles of the 20th CPC National Congress and the Central Economic Work Conference. We will continue to expand effective investment and make solid progress on major projects. We will effectively drive investment of the whole society through government investment and policy incentives. We will consolidate the sound momentum of steady growth in infrastructure investment and manufacturing investment and enhance the key role of investment in improving the supply structure. We will focus on the following four aspects.

First, we will focus on weak links and accelerate construction in key areas. We will implement the 102 major projects listed in the country's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) in an orderly manner. We will strengthen food security, energy security, and the security of industrial and supply chains. We will accelerate the construction of major infrastructure in transportation, water conservation, energy and other fields. We will also strengthen investment in manufacturing and high-tech industries and develop a systematic layout for new infrastructure. Moreover, we will accelerate the renovation of aging urban gas pipelines, address urban waterlogging, and promote social programs regarding people's livelihoods.

Second, we will give full play to the role of a package of investment policies and advance the development of major projects in a coordinated way. We will adhere to the requirement that projects follow their planning and that investment funds and other production factors stay with the projects they are allocated to. We will fully use our experience and actions in promoting the coordination mechanism for key projects of effective investment and continue to improve and expand the long-term working mechanism for effective investment. According to the report from the State Council on the execution of the central and local budgets for 2022 and on the draft central and local budgets for 2023, as well as the draft central and local budgets for 2023 submitted to the first session of the 14th National People's Congress for deliberation yesterday, investment from the central government budget will reach 680 billion yuan this year. Next, we will further improve the investment mix and pool all resources to accomplish major tasks and deal with difficulties and emergencies at the national level. We will organize relevant authorities to prepare for special-purpose bond projects for local governments, urging local governments to accelerate the issuance and use of special-purpose bonds, and kick-start and advance the projects. We will continue to accelerate the creation of policy-based and developmental financial instrument projects, which began last year, and make efforts to do much more work.

Third, we will build up the number of investment projects in reserve and continue to raise the quality of preliminary work for investment projects. We will guide local governments to keep building up a reserve of major projects securing both short-term and long-term benefits to lay the foundation for expanding effective investment. We will urge local authorities to launch in-depth preliminary research and demonstration for projects, effectively improving the quality and efficiency of preliminary work for projects. We will coordinate with relevant authorities to strengthen the support of land use, environmental protection assessments, and other factors of production.

Fourth, we will further stimulate private investment and continue to improve the investment environment. We will establish and enhance the mechanism of private investors' participation in the development of major projects. We will fully use the mechanism for facilitating cooperation on investment and financing of nongovernmental capital to encourage more private capital to get involved in developing major national projects to strengthen areas of weakness. We will promote advanced experience and earnestly implement the policy documents supporting the development of private investment. We will guide private capital to use idle assets in various ways and promote high-quality private investment projects to issue infrastructure REITs.

Concerning your question about special-purpose bonds for local governments, special-purpose bonds have now become important sources of funding for construction projects of local governments. According to the arrangement and requirements of the State Council, next, we will take practical measures to fulfill the duties of establishing criteria for investment and screening projects. We will guide local authorities to continue to plan for and build up a reserve of special-purpose bond projects. Rolling groups of projects will be applied and launched one after another. We will tighten the review of projects and urge local authorities to follow the principle that investment funds and other production factors stay with the projects they are allocated to and choose projects from a list of projects in reserve we have screened and established for bond issuance. I would like to emphasize that all projects included in the list of projects in reserve are infrastructure and public service projects that conform to planning, are led by governments, will be launched sooner or later, and have certain benefits. Meanwhile, in addition to the bond issuance in the areas of transport, energy, agriculture, forestry and water conservancy, social programs, utilities and industrial parks, and new types of infrastructure, we will follow the decisions and arrangements of the Party Central Committee and the State Council and work with relevant authorities to actively explore and further expand the areas for the issuance of special-purpose bonds. Thank you.


Xinhua News Agency:

This has been the third year since the implementation of the outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan. During the process of implementing the previous five-year plans, the mid-term assessment was conducted. Can you provide an update about the progress of the mid-term assessment this year? Thank you.

Yang Yinkai:

Thanks for the attention of all sectors of society to the mid-term assessment of the implementation of the 14th Five-Year Plan. This year is crucial to continuing to implement the 14th Five-Year Plan. The mid-term assessment is of great significance for promoting the smooth implementation of the 14th Five-Year Plan. According to the Law on Supervision by the Standing Committees of the People's Congresses at All Levels and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, we are working with relevant departments to carry out the mid-term assessment of the 14th Five-Year Plan. We will comprehensively review the progress in implementing the 14th Five-Year Plan, thoroughly analyze the difficulties and challenges, and put forward upcoming targeted policies and measures to further implement the 14th Five-Year Plan.

In terms of the scope of assessment, the mid-term assessment mainly includes three aspects, i.e., the implementation of the outline of the national 14th Five-Year Plan, the implementation of special plans at the national level, and the implementation of local 14th five-year plans. Concerning the implementation of the outline of the national 14th Five-Year Plan, the mid-term assessment is led and placed under the responsibility of the National Development and Reform Commission and supported by other relevant departments performing their respective functions. Departments that have formulated the plans are responsible for the mid-term assessment of the implementation of the special plans at the national level. Concerning the implementation of local 14th five-year plans, the mid-term assessment is led and placed under the responsibility of the local development and reform commissions.

Regarding the key assessment areas, the mid-term assessment focuses on the macro, meso and micro levels. It comprehensively reviews major objectives and indicators, the promoting of high-quality development, major strategic tasks, major projects and changes in the conditions facing development. At the same time, we will step up innovation in the subjects, methods, processes and assessment criteria. We will take practical measures to ensure that the assessment combines self-assessment with third-party assessment and comprehensive assessment with thematic assessment. It adopts objective- and problem-oriented approaches, assesses both process and effect, and combines standard assessment with customized assessment and objective assessment with subjective experience.

Previously, we officially released a notice asking relevant departments of central and state organs and local development and reform commissions to conduct self-assessments simultaneously. At the same time, we will entrust relevant institutions to carry out a series of thematic research and third-party assessments based on actual circumstances. At present, all our work is progressing in an orderly manner.

Next, we will conduct in-depth research and studies, solicit opinions from all parties, and make a comprehensive, accurate and objective assessment of the progress of implementing the 14th Five-Year Plan. We will make every effort to promote the implementation of major objectives and tasks in an orderly manner to get off to a good start in advancing Chinese modernization. Thank you.



Due to significant fluctuations in the global food market in recent years, food security has become an issue of common concern to all parties. How do you perceive China's food security at present and in the following period, and how to ensure food security in a large country with a population of over 1.4 billion? Thank you. 

Zhao Chenxin:

Thank you for your question. It's quite an important one. Just now, Mr. Li mentioned food security when taking other questions. Now, I will give you a detailed introduction. 

Food security concerns the country's most fundamental interests. General Secretary Xi Jinping has reiterated that we must always have control over our own food supply and fill the rice bowl of Chinese people mainly with Chinese grain. In recent years, uncertain and unpredictable factors have been intertwined worldwide, and the global food market has encountered frequent and substantial fluctuations. We have earnestly implemented the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council with relevant parties and ensured stable domestic grain production and supply in response to the uncertainty of the external environment. The domestic food market has maintained a sound momentum of ample supply and stable operation. Last year, in the face of unexpected factors such as a prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and extreme weather, with joint efforts from all parties, China saw a bumper grain harvest with a record-high output of 686.55 million metric tons. It was the eighth consecutive year that the grain output exceeded 650 million metric tons. We also achieved notable results in expanding the plantation of soybean and oil crops, carried out grain purchases in a steady and orderly manner, and significantly improved our logistics and emergence response capabilities. In general, China has a solid foundation in ensuring grain supply and stabilizing prices as bumper grain harvest continued for many straight years. With the constant improvement of market regulation, a secure and reliable logistics system, a relatively high level of stock, and an enhanced ability to respond to severe natural disasters and public emergencies, China has delivered a good job in ensuring food security. Our food supply can meet people's daily consumption needs and the need to develop relevant industries. 

As China has a population of over 1.4 billion, ensuring food supply always remains a top priority in the governance of the country. We must never relax our efforts to ensure national food security. Following Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, we will implement the food crop production strategy based on farmland management and technological application, and uphold the national strategy on food security featuring self-sufficiency based on domestic grain production, guaranteed food production capacity, moderate imports, and technological support. We will take comprehensive measures concerning all links of grain production, purchase, storage, processing, and sales, and coordinate to enhance our abilities to produce, transport, and store grain so as to consolidate the all-rounded foundation of food security. On the one hand, we will make every effort to increase grain production. We will see that the Party and the government will be equally responsible for food security and arable land protection, and improve policies to support major grain-producing areas, major areas of grain sales, and balanced areas of grain production and sales, in a bid to ensure stable grain acreage. We will launch a new round of actions to increase China's grain production capacity by 50 million metric tons and continue to advance projects to improve soybean and oil production capacity. We will invigorate the seed industry and accelerate breakthroughs in key and core agricultural technologies. On the other hand, we will make every effort to safeguard market supply. We will continue to improve our ability to regulate grain harvest and storage, enhance the balance of grain production and consumption as well as market regulation, and deliver a good job in grain purchases. We will enhance the construction of grain storage and logistics facilities and make good arrangements for the sale of excess grain stockpiles. Continued efforts will be made to optimize a national grain emergency response system. In a word, we have the foundation, conditions, abilities, and confidence to safeguard a secure food supply for Chinese people. We will speed up building a national food security system that is higher-level, higher-quality, more efficient, and more sustainable, providing strong support for the stable and sound development of the economy and society. Thank you. 



I have two questions. First, what are this year's new plans for attracting foreign investment, and in which sectors specifically? Second, the unemployment rate of young people and college graduates was relatively high during the pandemic. What are this year's employment trends, and what policies are going to be released to support employment? Thank you. 

Zhao Chenxin:

Let us invite Mr. Li to answer the question about employment and Mr. Yang about the utilization of foreign investment. 

Yang Yinkai:

I will answer your question about the utilization of foreign investment. In 2022, China achieved fruitful results in attracting foreign investment. Overall, we saw the quality of foreign investment in China improving amid a steady growth, and three new changes emerged in this regard. First, the quality of foreign investment in China continued to improve, with the actual use of foreign capital in manufacturing and high-tech industries up by 46.1% and 28.3%, respectively. Second, sources of foreign investment were more diversified. Investment from the EU and countries along the Belt and Road increased by 92.2% and 17.2%, respectively. Third, the regional distribution of foreign investment tended to be more balanced. The actual use of foreign investment in China's central and western regions grew by 21.9% and 14.1%, respectively. In January 2023, foreign direct investment into the Chinese mainland, in actual use, expanded 14.5% year on year to 127.69 billion yuan, getting off to a good start. The increasing foreign investment in China and its optimized structure have fully demonstrated the confidence of global investors in the country's development. 

This year, in terms of attracting foreign investment, we will further implement the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council and expand institutional opening up regarding rules, regulations, governance, and standards in a steady manner. We will strive to foster a market-oriented and law-based world-class business environment to support global investors to invest in China and promote the high-quality development of our work to attract more foreign investment. We will focus on the following three aspects. 

First, we will implement the plans listed in the Outline of the 14th Five-year Plan (2021-25) and advance opening up in telecommunication, internet, education, culture, medical care, and other sectors in an orderly manner. We will further ease restrictions apart from the foreign investment negative list to ensure that foreign-invested enterprises enjoy all policies on an equal basis. 

Second, we will ensure the implementation of all policies that have been issued. We will fully implement several policies and measures focusing on the manufacturing industry to promote the expansion of foreign investment, stabilize the stock and improve investment quality. This includes the new version of the Catalogue of Industries for Encouraging Foreign Investment, guiding more foreign investment toward sectors such as advanced manufacturing, modern services, high and new technology, energy conservation and environmental protection, and toward the central, western and northeastern regions.

Third, we will enhance foreign investment promotion and services, leveraging major foreign investment projects in China to set better examples, and promoting the improvement of local mechanisms. We will work in unison between the higher and lower levels of government, and provide full-process services. We will organize and conduct a series of international industrial investment cooperation activities to create a platform for multinational companies and local investment attraction.

I would also like to emphasize that China has always been proactive in implementing high-level opening-up policies. We will encourage foreign investors to invest in the Chinese market with a more open and inclusive attitude. Global investors are welcome to invest and do business in China. They can play a greater role in building a new dual circulation development paradigm, with the domestic economy and international engagement reinforcing each other and achieving more significant progress.


Li Chunlin:

I will answer the employment question. Employment is pivotal and fundamental to people's livelihoods. The Party Central Committee and the State Council attach great importance to stabilizing employment, further implementing the employment-first policy, promoting the gradual stabilization and recovery of the employment situation, and maintaining overall stability. The report at the conference yesterday also mentioned that our goal this year is to create around 12 million new jobs, a net increase of 1 million compared to last year. We are fully confident that we will achieve this goal.

Judging from the situation this year, the external environment has become increasingly volatile and grave. The number of domestic college graduates and urban employment demand has reached new highs, and there are still some pressure and challenges to expand employment opportunities and improve employment quality. However, we should also acknowledge that the continuous efforts and effectiveness of various policies and measures aimed at ensuring stable growth, employment, and prices have taken effect. Businesses, including enterprises, continue to recover and grow, leading to an expansion of labor demand and an increase in employment opportunities, resulting in an increase in jobs and a stable and positive employment situation. Last year we set a goal of creating 11 million new jobs, but we actually achieved 12.06 million, exceeding the planned target by 1 million. This year's goal is to create about 12 million new jobs, which is 1 million more than last year's targe, fully reflecting our confidence and determination to stabilize employment.

The second question you raised about employment is regarding what kind of policies will be introduced to stabilize and maintain it. The Central Economic Work Conference clearly stated that promoting the employment of young people, especially college graduates, should be a top priority. The NDRC will firmly follow the decisions and arrangements of the Party Central Committee and the State Council, intensify our support for employment-oriented macro-regulation policies, and take well-coordinated steps toward the promotion of "job expansion, job stabilization, services, and entrepreneurship" to facilitate high-quality and full employment of young people, including college graduates. We will focus on four key aspects.

First, we will focus on expanding the market-oriented employment of college graduates. We will proactively expand effective investment, accelerate the recovery in consumption of consumer services, and expand market-oriented employment space by increasing domestic effective demand. We will encourage the manufacturing industry's high-end, intelligent, and green development, promote the deep integration of modern services with advanced manufacturing and modern agriculture, and create more knowledge-based and technical jobs. We will provide stable employment for college graduates and young people with specific technical expertise.

Second, we will focus on accelerating the efforts to ease the difficulties faced by enterprises and self-employed individuals. We will promptly adjust, optimize and effectively implement policies that alleviate burdens and difficulties, continue to reduce costs, strengthen the security of energy resources and important industrial and supply chains, promote the integration and sharing of credit information related to enterprises, enhance the financial service capabilities for MSMEs, promote the recovery and development of business entities, and improve employment absorption capacity.

Third, we will focus on strengthening employment services for young people. We will increase efforts and improve mechanisms to provide precise, efficient, and continuous employment services for college graduates, as well as provide comprehensive support for young people facing employment difficulties. We will deepen industry-education integration and school-enterprise cooperation for vocational education, promote the joint-construction and sharing of vocational skills training resources, enhance the skills of young people, including college graduates, and closely align what students have learned with market needs.

Fourth, we will focus on unleashing the vitality of youth innovation and entrepreneurship. We will give full play to the leading and serving role of the demonstration bases for innovation and business startups and promote the opening and sharing of entrepreneurial resources. We will strengthen the construction of entrepreneurial parks for people returning or moving to the countryside and guide college students interested in and capable of starting a business to return to their rural hometowns or settle in rural areas to start their own businesses. We will make a big push to develop the digital economy, enhance regular supervision, support platform enterprises to play a greater role in driving development and creating jobs, and encourage young people to rely on platforms to start their own businesses and find flexible employment opportunities. Thank you all.


The Paper:

The international energy supply and demand situation has been challenging since last year, which has exerted huge pressure to China's energy provisions. How do you view the current and future energy security situation in China? What are the NDRC's plans to ensure a stable and sufficient supply of energy ? Thanks.

Li Chunlin:

Like food safety, energy security is also a crucial part in China's national security. It is typically a "matter of national significance." In recent years, despite the complex global energy supply situation and rising prices, we have made solid progress in developing the energy production, supply, storage, and marketing systems. We have continuously enhanced our energy supply capacity, diversified our energy imports, improved reserve capacities, gradually optimized market systems, and achieved remarkable results in green and low-carbon transformation. In recent years, China's energy self-sufficiency rate has remained above 80%. In 2022, domestic crude oil production rebounded to over 200 million tons, reaching 205 million tons; natural gas output reached 220.1 billion cubic meters, increasing by more than 10 billion cubic meters for six consecutive years; by the end of 2022, the national installed power capacity registered 2.56 billion kW, among which the installed capacity of renewable energy exceeded 1.2 billion kW; and the newly installed capacity of wind power and photovoltaic exceeded 100 million kW for three consecutive years. In general, China's energy security is guaranteed.

In 2023, the international energy supply and demand situation remains complicated, with many uncertain factors, and domestic economic recovery and development drive steady growth in energy demand, while problems still exist regarding energy supply and demand between regions and periods. In order to keep the energy supply and prices stable, we will continue to reinforce systems for energy production, supply, storage, and marketing on the basis of our previous efforts and take comprehensive measures to ensure safe and stable energy supply. We will mainly focus on the following four aspects:

First, we will increase energy production and supply. We will continue to improve power supply capacity by vigorously promoting the construction of large-scale wind and photovoltaic power stations mainly in desert and barren areas, particularly in the Gobi desert. We will also develop necessary peak-shaving power sources and coordinate to increase effective power generation. We will increase investment in domestic oil and gas exploration and development to boost oil and gas reserves and production. We will stabilize coal production and supply while strengthening its clean and efficient utilization. We will also ensure the diversified and stable energy imports.

Second, we will constantly consolidate energy reserves. We will establish and improve a sound energy reserve system, bolster coal reserve capacities, and create a stable and efficient oil and gas reserve system so as to continuously enhance our capacity for backup power supplies for national emergencies and peak-shaving power sources.

Third, we will maintain stable energy prices. We will pay close attention to changes in supply and demand and the prices of the energy market and take coal as an "anchor" to ensure the supply and price stability of energy. We will take a combination of measures to regulate and supervise coal price and stabilize electricity prices by keeping coal prices stable. In this way, we will be able to maintain stable energy prices across the country.

Fourth, we will safeguard the bottom line of people's energy use. We will expand the coverage of medium and long-term contracts involving coal supply for power generation, heating, and household gas supplies. We will improve the complementarity of energy sources, including coal, natural gas, electricity, and refined oil, and enhance our capabilities to ensure peak-hour energy supplies. We will also make more efforts to strengthen the monitoring and early warning of power supply and demand. Furthermore, we will refine demand-side combined load management plans and firmly uphold the bottom line of energy use for people's livelihoods. Thanks.

Shou Xiaoli:

Thank you to the three speakers from the NDRC, and thank you to all my friends in the media. Today's press conference concludes here. Goodbye.

Translated and edited by Wang Yiming, Wang Qian, Zhou Jing, He Shan, Guo Yiming, Zhang Rui, Dong Qingpei, Yang Xi, Yan Xiaoqing, Wang Wei, Xu Kailin, Zhou Jing, Liu Jianing, Yan Bin, Zhang Tingting, Li Huiru, David Ball, Tom Arnsten, and Jay Birbeck. In case of any discrepancy between the English and Chinese texts, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail.

/5    Shou Xiaoli

/5    Zhao Chenxin

/5    Li Chunlin

/5    Yang Yinkai

/5    Group photo