China’s Top Leaders to Meet Oct. 26 to Discuss Economic Plans

China’s top leaders will meet Oct. 26-29 to draft economic and social policies for the next five years, as President Xi Jinping prioritizes domestic consumption and innovation to counter the threat of decoupling from the U.S.

The Communist Party’s Politburo set the dates Monday for a gathering of the larger Central Committee, the official Xinhua News Agency said, without elaborating. The ruling party plans to discuss proposals for the country’s development plan for the 2021-25 period, Xinhua said in July, as well as draw up a long-term blueprint that runs through 2035.

The five-year plan covers almost everything in China’s economic and social life, from growth targets and pollution control to education and national defense. The document, which is being drafted as Xi’s government works to blunt U.S. efforts to contain China, will need a final stamp of approval from the National People’s Congress next year.

The decision to outline plans beyond the party’s usual five-year cycle has renewed speculation that Xi desires to stay in power. Xi, 67, pushed through a constitutional amendment in 2018 to remove term limits that would’ve required him to give up the presidency in 2023.

What We Know:

  • The 14th five year plan will cover the years 2021-25.
  • In October, the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, will put forward a proposal for the next plan.
  • This proposal is usually released weeks after the meeting with some details.
  • The plenum will also advise on the long-term blueprint to 2035.
  • Plan will be approved at the National People’s Congress in 2021, and should cover almost everything in economic and social life, from poverty alleviation to pollution control, education to national defense.
  • It’s normally general and theoretical. Local governments also compile individual plans and central government ministries will roll out more specific plans for different areas.

Xi has urged China to pivot to a more self-reliant “dual circulation” economy to drive growth, supplemented by foreign technologies and investment. He told a Sept. 1 meeting that the shift was a strategic decision made in accordance with “changes in China’s development stage.”

China and the U.S. have been engaged in an intensifying confrontation on everything from democracy in Hong Kong to data security over apps such as TikTok and WeChat. A gloomy global economic prospect post-Covid 19 crisis and President Donald Trump’s efforts to push America’s allies to shun cooperation with Beijing have prompted Chinese leaders to shift inwards.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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