China will seek annual growth of at least 6.5% for 5 years: Xi

November 04, 2015 08:23
China needs minimum annual growth rate of 6.5% to realize its goals for 2020, Xi Jinping says. Photo: Bloomberg

China will aim for annual economic growth of at least 6.5 percent over the next five years, President Xi Xinping said on Tuesday, reiterating a target outlined by Premier Li Keqiang a few days ago. 

The minimum growth rate will be necessary to realize the goals of doubling the gross domestic product and people's average income by 2020 over 2010 levels, Xi said, according to state news agency Xinhua.

"In the next five years, China's development should not just be focused on growth pace, but also growth volume, and, more importantly, growth quality," Xi was quoted as saying.

The comments came after the ruling Communist party, during a Central Committee plenum last week, agreed on guidelines for the 13th Five-Year Plan.

Although details of the blueprint are yet to be made public, party leaders have, among other things, pledged to spur more competition in state-dominated industries such as energy and telecoms, according to Xinhua.

The plan also calls for making the renminbi "freely convertible and usable" over the next five years, setting a new timetable for the long-promised capital account convertibility.

Concerned that an aging population will drag down economic growth, Beijing last week announced that it was abandoning the decades-old one-child policy.

The 13th Five-Year Plan guidelines call for supporting new growth drivers, especially consumption, while also relying on old engines such as exports and investment in infrastructure, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The final version is scheduled for release in March after approval by the National People's Congress, China's rubber-stamp parliament.

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