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Upgrading China's Development Model

The World Post/BIG

Li Keqiang is China's premier. His comments here are excerpted from his presentation to the Berggruen Institute's recent 21st Century Council meeting in Beijing.

THE NEXT PHASE OF REFORM: FROM QUANTITY TO QUALITY

In the past three decades, China has cut its population living below the poverty line by more than 600 million -- according to the standard of the World Bank -- enabling it to enjoy the basic right to survival and human dignity.

This would not have been possible without development. Currently, according to the standard of the World Bank, China is just a middle-income country, and nearly 200 million of its people still live under poverty. Hence, China still needs to develop itself. In fact, in the past 30 years, no matter what kind of challenges we encounter, we have always placed development on the top of our agenda, and we have achieved an annual economic growth of 9.8 percent on average. That is what has brought China to where it is today.

On the other hand, our economy is now faced with a series of deep-seated and structural problems. There cannot be sustainable development without economic transformation. Therefore, we have decided to build an upgraded version of the Chinese economy, focusing on improving the quality and efficiency of development.

While growing the economy, our top concerns are raising personal income in tandem with economic growth, strengthening the social safety net and continually improving people's livelihoods. Our people want not only a better material life, but also a richer cultural life and social justice.

We are accelerating institution-building to provide equal rights, equal opportunities and fair rules while promoting the equity of education, employment and entrepreneurship to enable upward mobility among people of different social ranks.

The future development of China is about economic transformation and upgrading; about expanding domestic consumption and advancing the new type of industrialization, IT application, urbanization and agricultural modernization. And it is about pursuing green growth. This will bring new opportunities to the balanced development of other economies and the world's sustainable development.

Further, we will stick to the policy of reform and opening up to enhance the driving force for development and vitality of the market. We have broken the rigid system of the planned economy and pushed for market-oriented reforms.

China's reform has now entered the deep water zone. Reforms will continue to deepen in the fiscal, financial, pricing and enterprise fields.

MORE OPEN TO GLOBALIZATION

Opening up is a crucial engine of China's development because it can advance and drive reform.

China has actively participated in economic globalization, joined the World Trade Organization and enlarged multilateral and regional cooperation to integrate the Chinese economy into the world economy. China's share of world trade has sharply increased from less than 1 percent more than 30 years ago to the current 10.5 percent.

The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone was launched recently. The zone will advance reform and opening up through streamlining administrative procedures and delegating power to lower levels

The world security order established after World War II has generally kept the world in a peaceful tune. Since the end of the Cold War, the world economy has gotten on the fast track of development. A host of emerging countries have been on the rise. China itself has gained rare opportunities in this process and made considerable achievements.

There is no precedent for China to follow to achieve modernization. Being the largest developing country with a huge population, we will undoubtedly encounter many challenges and difficulties in this course.

Our world is like a global village where countries have become more interconnected and interdependent. People aspire to live in a stable and prosperous world. This represents the common interests of all countries which should be advanced and expanded. China will continue to make its own contribution to this end.

GLOBAL GOVERNANCE

China is an active player in building global governance. We devote ourselves to maintaining the global system with the United Nations as its core. We want greater democracy in international relations and have participated in and advanced relevant reforms with a constructive attitude.

Now the regional economy is undergoing reorganization and structural adjustment. We hope to see progress in the multilateral trading regime like the Doha Round negotiations and greater liberalization and facilitation of regional trade and investment so that these "two wheels" will forge ahead in parallel.

China has reached consensus with ASEAN countries on building the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) -- a free trade scheme of the 10 ASEAN member states and Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand to be concluded by the end of 2015.

The RCEP and the Trans-Pacific Pact (ed. The U.S. proposed free trade pact with Japan and other Asian nations, excluding China) may interact with and promote each other.