Report on the Implementation of the 2016 Plan for National Economic and Social Development and on the 2017 Draft Plan for National Economic and Social Development
Delivered at the Fifth Session of the Twelfth National People’s Congress on March 5, 2017
National Development and Reform Commission
The National Development and Reform Commission has been entrusted by the State Council to submit this Report on the Implementation of the 2016 Plan and on the 2017 Draft Plan for National Economic and Social Development to the Fifth Session of the Twelfth National People’s Congress (NPC) for your deliberation and for comments from the members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
I. Implementation of the 2016 Plan for National Economic and Social Development
Last year, conditions both at home and abroad were complex and challenging; the global economic recovery struggled to take effect while downward pressure on China’s economy remained significant. However, under the firm leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, all regions and departments continued to follow the general principle of making progress while keeping performance stable, upheld the new development philosophy, earnestly implemented the 2016 plan approved at the Fourth Session of the Twelfth NPC, and acted in line with the review of the plan by the NPC’s Financial and Economic Affairs Committee. In accordance with the keynote of advancing supply-side structural reform, we appropriately increased aggregate demand, advanced reform with determination, responded effectively to risks and challenges, guided public expectations to ensure they remained positive, and worked hard to deliver a good performance in all areas of work. As a result, economic and social development remained stable and healthy, the 13th Five-Year Plan got off to a good start, and implementation of the 2016 Plan for National Economic and Social Development was successful overall.
1. We developed new and better ways of conducting macro regulation to keep the economy operating within an appropriate range.
On the basis of range-based regulation, we strengthened targeted and well-timed regulation and pursued a more proactive fiscal policy as well as a prudent monetary policy that retained an appropriate degree of flexibility so as to ensure that economic performance was stable. China’s gross domestic product (GDP) rose to 74.41 trillion yuan, an increase of 6.7%, meeting our projected target.
1) Consumption played a more fundamental role.
The action plan to stimulate industrial transformation and upgrading through increased consumption was formulated, and the Ten Initiatives for Boosting Consumer Spending were implemented. We implemented the policies for promoting green consumption, transformation of physical retail businesses through innovation, and integrated development of transportation and logistics. The guidelines on further boosting consumer spending in tourism, culture, sports, health, elderly care, education, and training services were promulgated and implemented; the consumption of services flourished; and consumer spending on automobiles and other physical goods was increased and upgraded. We formulated the guidelines on providing incentives to key groups to promote an overall increase in urban and rural incomes, and people’s ability to consume continued to increase. Total retail sales of consumer goods for the year rose by 10.4%. Consumption served as a major driver of economic growth, making a 64.6% contribution. And there was a further improvement in the ratio between consumption and investment.
2) Investment sustained steady growth.
Strengthening areas of weakness, making structural adjustment, and increasing supply were our primary focus in working to increase rational and effective investment. We further improved the structure of investments falling within the central government budget, took initial steps to set up the reserve of government investment projects and formulate the three-year rolling investment plan, and stepped up the construction of major projects. We channeled great energy into stimulating private investment, formulated a 26-point policy to ensure its sound development, and worked to expand the application of public-private partnership (PPP) models. Total fixed-asset investment for the year rose by 7.9%, of which 61.2% came from nongovernmental sources (excluding rural households).
3) The overall employment situation remained positive.
We sped up efforts to develop community-level facilities providing employment and social security services and to establish public vocational training centers, provided better services to college graduates as well as to workers laid off due to the scaling-down of overcapacity, and continued to advance pilot projects to support rural migrant workers returning home to set up businesses. An additional 13.14 million urban jobs were created over the year, and the registered urban unemployment rate stood at 4.02% at the end of 2016.
4) Overall prices were generally stable.
We increased regulation over commodity prices, effectively carried out regulation over the price of hogs, and strengthened monitoring, early warning, regulation, and oversight over the prices of major commodities such as vegetables during the flood season and major holidays. Oversight over pricing was tightened up and law enforcement efforts to counter monopolistic pricing intensified with numerous cases being investigated and dealt with. The consumer price index (CPI) for the year rose by 2.0%.
5) Risks and challenges were handled appropriately.
We stepped up reviews to verify the authenticity of outbound investment projects and worked to ensure the sound and orderly development of overall outbound investment. We employed market-oriented, law-based measures to guard against and defuse bond default risks. Policies tailored to local conditions were implemented to regulate the real estate market on a per-category basis. We worked to guard against and deal with severe flooding in some regions, particularly the Yangtze basin, as well as other natural disasters, and acted quickly to provide effective rescue and relief so as to minimize damage, and ensure recovery and reconstruction efforts proceeded in an orderly manner.
2. We worked to secure solid progress in supply-side structural reform, achieving initial success in the five priority tasks of cutting overcapacity, reducing excess inventory, deleveraging, lowering costs, and strengthening points of weakness.
By enhancing policy guidance and support and establishing an effective work mechanism, we achieved preliminary progress in our efforts to carry out the five priority tasks.
1) Annual targets for cutting overcapacity were met ahead of schedule and were surpassed.
The State Council’s Guidelines on Addressing Overcapacity and Achieving a Turnaround in the Steel Industry (G.F.  No. 6) and the State Council’s Guidelines on Addressing Overcapacity and Achieving a Turnaround in the Coal Industry (G.F.  No. 7) were published and implemented. We launched three initiatives which focused on shutting down outdated production facilities, dealing with projects that violated laws and regulations, and carrying out coordinated law enforcement, thereby strictly controlling the expansion of production capacity, ensuring the shutting down of outdated production facilities was accelerated, and guiding the orderly elimination of overcapacity. We made appropriate arrangements to ensure that laid-off employees were resettled and provided employment and that enterprise debts were properly handled; and we encouraged businesses affected by overcapacity to merge, restructure, transform, and upgrade, or optimize business distribution.
We took timely and appropriate action in responding to the effects of adjustments in supply and demand and price fluctuations. In 2016, we reduced excess production capacity by over 65 million metric tons of steel and over 290 million metric tons of coal; both numbers surpassed the targets for the year. The steel and coal industries operated more efficiently: cases of companies being in arrears were reduced, cash-flow problems were eased, and problems of insufficient investment in workplace safety, overdue wages, and outstanding payments were alleviated to some extent. Overall, the performance of both industries as well as market expectations improved.
2) Work to cut excess inventory surged ahead.
We promoted the granting of urban residency to people who have moved to cities from rural areas and worked to ensure the housing needs of new urban residents were met, such that by the end of 2016, the area of commodity housing for sale was 49.91 million square meters less than it was at the end of 2015. We further expanded the use of direct monetary housing compensation for people displaced by the rebuilding of run-down urban areas. 2.94 million households received monetary housing compensation over the year, accounting for 48.5% of the year’s newly-commenced projects to rebuild run-down urban areas; this marked an increase of 18.6 percentage points over 2015.
3) Efforts to deleverage delivered initial results.
The State Council’s Guidelines on Proactively Yet Prudently Lowering Enterprise Leverage Ratios (G.F.  No. 54) were published and implemented. We encouraged business mergers and restructuring, promoted market-oriented and law-based debt-for-equity swaps, developed equity financing, and adopted other comprehensive measures so as to reduce business leverage ratios in an active yet prudent way. We launched an initiative for enterprises to engage in market-based debt-for-equity swaps with banks. By the end of 2016, a number of commercial banks had selected, via relevant agencies, 20 leading enterprises, which, despite having relatively high debt-to-asset ratios, had good prospects for development. Framework agreements on debt-for-equity swaps were drawn up with these enterprises on the basis of independent consultation, and are worth over 250 billion yuan. At the end of 2016, the debt-to-asset ratio of nationwide industrial enterprises with annual revenue from their main business operations of 20 million yuan or more was 55.8%, a year-on-year decrease of 0.4 percentage point.
4) Significant progress was achieved in reducing costs.
The State Council’s Circular on Publishing the Work Plan on Reducing the Costs of Enterprises in the Real Economy (G.F.  No. 48) was published and implemented. We continued to promote the reforms to streamline administration, delegate more powers, improve regulation, and provide better services, thereby reducing transaction costs imposed by government. We extended trials of replacing business tax with value added tax (VAT) to all sectors and appropriately lowered the ratio of enterprise contributions for old-age insurance, medical insurance, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, maternity insurance, and housing provident fund schemes for the current stage. We implemented the mechanism for coupling the price of coal with that of electricity, promoted price reform of electricity transmission and distribution, increased the number of direct sales by electricity generation companies to users, and improved the implementation of the basic electricity pricing scheme, so as to lower enterprise energy costs. We reviewed and standardized fees and charges levied on enterprises related to imports and exports and financial services, pushed forward in reforming the freight transportation system for railways, launched a cost-reduction and performance-improvement campaign within the logistics industry, and published and implemented an action plan to develop logistics channels.
In 2016, industrial enterprises with annual revenue from their main business operations of 20 million yuan or more reduced their costs by 0.1 yuan per 100 yuan of income from their main business operations and increased their profit rate by 0.19 percentage point on a year-on-year basis.
5) Efforts to strengthen points of weakness were intensified.
Keeping in mind the need to secure both short-term and long-term benefits and focusing on the development of both infrastructure and management and services, we pursued market-based investment and financing initiatives to stimulate bank loans and other forms of investment and worked to strengthen points of weakness in the key areas of poverty alleviation, post-disaster water conservancy restoration and reconstruction, social programs, innovation capacity-building, new industry, and other areas in need of attention. We achieved our target of helping more than 10 million rural residents lift themselves out of poverty over the course of the year.