A panel of international experts applauded in Milan at a gathering Thursday China’s reform blueprint unveiled after the just ended 3rd Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
“China is moving ahead to make the country more efficient,” a concept that is “rooted in China’s civilization,” Alberto Bradanini, Italian ambassador to Beijing, said at the meeting.
“China moves very gradually, which is justified by the complexity of the country and the problems it has to deal with,” he said.
“The government will withdraw from its intervention in the market,” explained Ding Yifan, deputy director of the Institute of World Development under the State Council’s Development Research Center and vice chairman of the China Society of World Economics.
Under the reform plan, the market will play a “decisive role” in the world’s second-largest economy.
“The idea revealed by the Third Plenum communique was that China will continue to put forward the development of a mixed structure of economy in which state-owned enterprises (SOEs) will still contribute to growth in line with private enterprises,” Ding said.
“There will be a healthy competition between private enterprises, SOEs and other structures of companies. We will try to make them compete on an equal footing, which means the government will not continue to provide some fiscal or financial advantage to SOEs,” Ding noted.
Joe Studwell, who has worked as an author and researcher in East Asia for more than 20 years, said he did not see major problems for China to grow for at least another 10 years.
High levels of investment and low consumption have been a “natural trend” of all successful economies, Studwell said. “Consumption in China is not low, it is just crowded out by proactive industrialization.”
He forecast that construction boom would come along with urbanization, and support manufacturing development and rise of China’s global companies.
“Some adjustments however are needed and will be about unlock equity in collectively-owned land, reform ‘hukou’ system, new fiscal arrangements and very gradual reforms of capital account,” he noted.
The real challenges for China’s industrial strategies lie in the future, when the time comes to a tough stage as “more and more vested interests are created around the current system of accumulation,” he said.
There is also a “cultural challenge” that needs to be addressed when it comes to discuss China’s policy, said Martin Jacques, author of the global best-seller “When China Rules the World: the End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order.”
Jacques had no doubt that China will clearly continue to grow steadily and become more competitive in all fields over the next years.
“China tests reforms very sensitively before extending them. We have laws at the beginning, the Chinese have them at the end of the process,” he noted. But Western countries look at China “with their notions and so they do not know China at all.”
The misunderstanding of China was “the greatest intellectual challenge of this century” and would pose the risk of cultural conflict, Jacques said, citing Alberto Forchielli, chairman of the Osservatorio Asia think tank.