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People's Daily Online

Epidemic impact on China's economy significant, but temporary: official

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 10:21, May 23, 2020

BEIJING, May 22 (Xinhua) -- The impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on China's economy is significant but will be short-term and temporary, a senior official with the country's top economic planning body said Friday.

He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, spoke to journalists on the sidelines of the third session of the 13th National People's Congress, China's national legislature, which opened Friday.

"Judging from the fundamentals of China's economy, the positive development trend has not changed," said He. "The agricultural industry continued to maintain a good development trend. Emerging industries enjoy a good growth momentum, while traditional industries are recovering well."

The consumption sectors in the tertiary industry, which bore the brunt of the epidemic, were also rebounding in a strong and orderly manner, according to He.

China is able and determined to continue to promote the steady, sound, and sustainable development of the economy, he said.

According to a government work report submitted to the national legislature for deliberation on Friday, China sets no specific economic growth target for 2020 as the country faces some factors that are difficult to predict in its development due to the great uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the world economic and trade environment.

"As the COVID-19 epidemic continues to spread around the world, its impact on the virus-hit countries' economy remains to be seen," said He.

"Setting no specific target for economic growth will enable us to focus on continuously expanding domestic demand and ensuring stability on the six fronts and security in the six areas," he said.

The six fronts refer to employment, the financial sector, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment, and expectations. The six areas refer to job security, basic living needs, operations of market entities, food and energy security, stable industrial and supply chains, and the normal functioning of primary-level governments.

"It will also enable us to concentrate on vigorously advancing the supply-side structural reform, high-quality economic development, creating and tapping new demands, and forming a strong domestic market," said He.

China will give priority to stabilizing employment, ensuring livelihood, winning the battle against poverty, and accomplishing the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, he said.

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