China is targeting at least 6 per cent growth this year, reflecting the government’s confidence in the wake of its successful containment of the coronavirus pandemic in the world’s second-largest economy.
Premier Li Keqiang announced the new economic target on Friday at the opening of this year’s National People’s Congress, and pledged to create more jobs in China’s cities.
This marks a return to strong economic growth after China’s economy was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic last year.
In 2020 the economy only grew by 2.3 per cent, the weakest result in decades, though it was the only large economy in the world to see growth.
This prompted China to drop a GDP growth goal from the premier’s work report for the first time since 2002.
At the opening of this year’s meeting of parliament, Li Keqiang said: “In setting this target, we have taken into account the recovery of economic activity.
“In 2021 China will continue to face many development risks and challenges but the economic fundamentals that will sustain long-term growth remain unchanged.”
“A target of over 6 per cent will enable all of us to devote full energy to promoting reform, innovation, and high-quality development,” he added.
The 6 per cent target falls well below the International Monetary Fund’s estimate of 8.1 per cent growth for China’s economy.
The prime minister also set a target for urban unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent, aiming to create more than 11 million new jobs in cities, up from 9 million last year.