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Moderately prosperous society beckons 2020

Moderately prosperous society beckons 2020

By Hu Angang

China's goals for 2020, first proposed in the report of the 16th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2002, are: four times the GDP of 2000, significantly enhanced overall national strength and international competitiveness, and basically realizing industrialization. Zeng Peiyan, then minister of State Development Planning Commission, gave three quantitative indicators in 2002: by 2020, China's per capita GDP would cross $3,000, roughly equivalent to the average level of middle-income countries; the urbanization rate would exceed 50 percent; and the proportion of employment in agriculture would drop from 50 percent of the total in 2000 to about 30 percent. These quantitative targets were surpassed by 2018. That year China's GDP(calculated according to 2010 constant price) was 4.84 times that of 2000, with an average annual growth rate of 9.2 percent?and per capita GDP reached $7,287(based on 2010 constant price), with an annual growth rate of 8.7 percent. Measured in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP, 2011 international dollar), China's per capita GDP had reached 16,187 international dollars, exceeding the world's average of 15,941 international dollars (PPP, 2011 international dollar). Furthermore, the urbanization rate reached 60 percent, and the share of the agriculture sector in total employment fell to 26.1 percent. According to US Central Intelligence Agency data, in 2018 China's GDP(PPP) ranked 105 among 228 countries and regions, thus becoming part of the top 46.1 percent in the world. Despite these figures, many so-called foreign experts continue to suggest that China's total GDP is overestimated. But the fact is that, according to Fourth National Economic Census data, the revised GDP is even higher, by 2.1 percent, of which the added value of the tertiary industry registered a nearly 2 trillion yuan ($284.50 billion) increase, equivalent to an increase of 0.39 percent of the world GDP(PPP). Consequently, China's per capita GDP for 2018 has been adjusted to 16,527 international dollars, that is, 29.7 percent that of the US. According to our projection, China's total GDP in 2020 is expected to be 5.45 times that of 2000, with an average annual growth rate of 8.8 percent. GDP (PPP, 2011 international dollar) will rise to 25.98 trillion international dollars. Calculated according to the statistical method of PPP, in 2000 China's GDP was only 36.3 percent that of the US, but in 2020 it will rise to 137 percent. Also, China's per capita GDP will reach 18,622 international dollar (PPP, 2011 international dollar), 5.05 times that in 2000, with an average annual growth rate of 8.4 percent and per capita GDP jumping from 8.1 percent that of the US in 2000 to 32.0 percent in 2020. And in terms of per capita GDP(PPP), China will occupy the 94th position among 228 countries and regions, thus becoming part of the top 41.2 percent in the world. What is remarkable is that China has transformed from the world's largest poor country into the world's largest all-round moderately prosperous society (quanmian xiaokang) in the least number of years. The World Bank measures poverty based on three factors: a lowest-income poverty line of $1.90 per day, a lower-middle income line of $3.20 per day, and an upper-middle income line of $5.50 per day. According to these criteria, in 2015 China's poverty incidence rate was 0.7 percent, 7.0 percent, and 27.2 percent respectively. By 2020, these figures will drop to 0 percent, 3 percent, and below 10 percent respectively. Which means China will finally bid farewell to absolute poverty in 2020?a major achievement in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. In the first two decades of the 21st century, China has developed rapidly from a low-income economy to a lower-middle-income economy and then to a higher-middle-income economy. It now accounts for 52.4 percent of the total population (2.65 billion) of higher-middle-income countries. And in the future when it becomes a high-income economy, it will more than double the total population (currently 1.21 billion) of high-income countries. China's development has a huge spillover effect on the rest of the world, which is especially reflected in its contribution to global poverty reduction. According to the lowest international poverty line ($1.90 a day), in 1981 China's poverty-stricken population was 884 million. By 2015, the figure had been reduced to 9.62 million, with China's share in the global impoverished population shrinking from 46.5 percent to 1.32 percent, and the incidence of poverty dropping from 88.3 percent to 0.70 percent. This means, in total, China accounted for 74.4 percent of the global poverty reduction. Measured against the second international poverty line ($3.20 a day), in 1990 China's poverty-stricken population was 1.02 billion. By 2015, the figure had declined to 96.22 million, reducing China's share in the world total from 35.3 percent to 5.0 percent, and the incidence of poverty from 90.0 percent to 7.0 percent. By that measure, China's contribution to global poverty reduction was 94.1 percent. According to the third international poverty line ($5.50 per day), China's poverty-stricken population was 1.12 billion in 1990. By 2015, the figure had dropped to 374 million, with China's share in the world total declining from 31.5 percent to 10.9 percent and the incidence of poverty falling from 98.3 percent to 27.2 percent. Which means China's contribution to global poverty reduction was overwhelming. As can be seen from its remarkable contribution rates, China's success in poverty alleviation and economic development is also the success of the global poverty reduction efforts. The author is dean of the Institute for Contemporary China Studies and a professor at the School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.………….. Washington's disruptive trade practice knows no bounds By Chen Weihua | China Daily | Updated: 2019-12-07 09:00 [Photo/IC] The punitive tariffs announced by the United States against imports from Brazil, Argentina and France on Monday are nothing but the latest display of its unilateral, protectionist and bullying trade policy and practice. US President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday morning that he would slap tariffs on steel and aluminum from Brazil and Argentina because the two countries "have been presiding over a massive devaluation of their currencies". The two largest South American economies had been exempted from US tariffs last year. Just like the US' false accusation in August that China manipulates its currency, its allegation against Brazil and Argentina has not been supported by facts. The two currencies have been depreciating due to the poor economic performance of the two countries. In fact, both governments have tried to prop up their currencies. By imposing punitive tariffs on Brazil and Argentina, the US will inflict more damage on the two economies and thus weaken their currencies further. Wonder what Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro must be feeling; after all, he is widely regarded as a "friend" of the US president. As for Argentine president-elect Alberto Fernandez, the timing of the tariffs could not have been worse, as he takes office on Tuesday amid serious economic challenges. However, many believe the US tariffs are less to do with currency devaluation and more to do with Brazil and Argentina boosting their soybean exports to China at a time when US soybean exports to China have dropped drastically owing to the Washington-triggered trade war. How can the US blame other countries for the trade disruption that its own reckless policy has caused? If, like China, Brazil and Argentina also had a surplus with the US in trade, the White House might have accused them, too, of taking billions of dollars out of the US and once again revealed its ignorance about international trade. The US Trade Representative Office also announced punitive tariffs of up to 100 percent on French products such as wine and cheese in retaliation to France levying "digital service tax" on certain US products, which has affected American technology giants such as Google and Facebook. While these tariffs, to be imposed under the outdated Section 301 of the US Trade Act of 1974, won't be implemented until the end of public hearings on Jan 31, it is a dramatic escalation of the tariff war between the trans-Atlantic allies after the US announced tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of European Union goods in October in response to the EU giving subsidies to Airbus. The EU is a customs union, so a US tariff war against France is a tariff war against the EU. Accordingly, the EU has vowed to fight back. The US move, as a Chinese saying goes, is to "kill the chicken to scare the monkey", because several other countries including the United Kingdom, Austria, Italy, Spain and Turkey are also considering introducing digital service tax. The US administration has no patience or appetite for multilateral organizations. And since the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has already started negotiations on a global treaty on digital tax, the White House seems determined to go its own way. The US has done the same with the World Trade Organization by blocking the appointment of new judges to the Appellate Body. As a result, the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism will cease to function on Wednesday. The latest US tariff war against Argentina, Brazil and France demands that the international community more strongly oppose the US' disruptive trade policy and behavior. The author is chief of China Daily EU Bureau based in Brussels.

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