China’s New Five-Year Plan Presents New Opportunities to Caribbean Countries
Chargé d’Affaires Luo Songtao Publishes a Signed Article on Dominica News Online
24 December, 2020
In October 2020, the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee held its 5th plenary session in Beijing, discussing and releasing the proposals for the formulation of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives through the Year 2035. The plenum sets out policy visions for the next 5 years and maps out a blueprint for the next 15 years, marking a new journey on which China is embarking towards fully building a modern socialist country.
Five-year plans are the blueprint for the Chinese government to advance its economic and social development. A total of 13 five-year plans have been enacted and enforced since 1953, witnessing all significant historical junctures as China transitioned from a planned economy to a socialist market economy, from laying the groundwork for industrialization to successfully building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. These five-year plans have proven indispensable to China’s twin unparalleled miracles of great strides in economic development and long-term social stability.
Not a single country in the world except China, has formulated its five-year plans in keeping with the times and executed them persistently, steering national economic and social development on the right path. Such is the institutional advantage of socialism with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of the Communist Party of China.
Achievements over the past 5 years
During the 13th five-year plan period (2016-2020), China has achieved leapfrog economic and social development, widely benefiting its people. In 2020, China’s GDP is expected to cross the 100 trillion RMB mark, equivalent to around 15 trillion USD, with its per capita GDP already exceeding 10,000 USD. A total of 55.75 million rural population have been lifted out of poverty, representing a 70% contribution to world poverty reduction, having achieved the poverty eradication targets set forth by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. The world’s largest social security system has been in place, with basic medical insurance covering over 1.3 billion people, and basic old-age pension close to 1 billion. Major breakthroughs have been made in 5G communications, BeiDou navigation satellite system, lunar exploration and other high-tech fields. As the first country to be struck by the COVID-19 pandemic, China contained the rising spread of the virus in one month, with its daily increase in domestic cases falling to single digits in two months. Meanwhile, China is the first major economy to bounce back from the pandemic slump as its economy grew at 3.2% in the second quarter and 4.9% in the third from the previous year. International Monetary Fund (IMF) also projects China’s economic growth at 1.9% this year.
Outlook for the next 5 years
The 14th five-year plan is a design to start a new journey of fully building a modern socialist country. Guided by the new development concept, namely, innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, China will accelerate the building of the “dual circulation” growth pattern in which the domestic market will play a leading role, with international and domestic markets reinforcing each other. China will strive to make new strides in economic development, take new steps in reform and opening up, make a new development in the social etiquette and civility, make new progress in building the ecological civilization, boost the well-being of the people, and enhance governance capacity. Through the year 2035, China will achieve socialist modernization, putting in place a modern economic system marked by new industrialization, IT application, urbanization, and agricultural modernization and boasting of greater overall national strength.
New opportunities for the Caribbean
In the context of lack of impetus for economic globalization and rising trade protectionism, China’s 14th five-year plan will boost confidence in the recovery of the global economy, while presenting greater opportunities to the development of all countries. China’s Belt and Road Initiative has become a road of opportunity and prosperity for the global public good. The 3rd China International Import Expo saw deals reached for intended one-year purchases of goods and services totaling 72.62 billion USD, setting a historic high, instilling confidence in spurring global trade during the pandemic. As the world’s largest trading bloc covering the largest population, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, signed among China, the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, has injected strong impetus to the revival of the global economy. These speak volumes about China’s resolve to continue its opening-up efforts on a larger scale, in wider areas and on a higher level and China’s will to share development opportunities with the rest of world.
The COVID-19 pandemic is significantly impacting the economic and social development of the Caribbean region, highlighting the need to transform its development model, with a special focus on the development of digital economy and renewable energy, in a way that will facilitate the attainment of sustainable development goals. China’s 14th five-year plan also emphasizes the importance to put innovation front and center in its modernization drive and indicates the need to nurture strategic emerging industries, while accelerating the development of such sectors as digitization, alternative energy, new energy vehicles, environmental protection and maritime equipment. It is evident that China and the Caribbean share compatible development strategies and enjoy bright cooperation prospects.
In the days ahead, as China continues to step up efforts to open to the outside world, share with other countries development opportunities, enhance the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, and promote high-quality development of the Belt and Road, Caribbean countries will be able to board China’s fast train of development and share its development gains. China is ready to join hands with the Caribbean to combat the pandemic, cope with climate change, and push for a rock-solid China-Caribbean relations that will set sail towards a closer China-Caribbean community with a shared future.