China’s Leaders Unveil Economic Reforms

· Nov. 12, 2013, 7:54 pm

China’s leaders have laid out a plan to wrest a bigger chunk of the country’s economy from state control and turn it over to the free market in hopes of stimulating growth and curb corruption.

At the end of the four-day Third Plenum meeting, Communist Party leaders said that state ownership would continue to play a key role in the economy, but endorsed more private ownership.

“The core issue is to straighten out the relationship between government and the market, allowing the market to play a decisive role in allocating resources and improving the government’s role,” a statement from the meeting said, according to Reuters news agency reports.

The BBC reports:

“A lengthy television story heading China’s flagship state newscast showed rows of Communist Party officials, including Chairman Xi Jinping, sitting at long tables studying paper documents in front of them.

The report contained a long list of vague party pledges – from a plan to create a modern military to one that encourages foreign investment in China’s coastal cities, our correspondent adds. Other changes include promises to institute stronger systems to check corruption.”

NPR’s Frank Langfitt, reporting from Shanghai, spoke with Andy Xie, an economist who’s described as normally pessimistic about China’s long-term prospects.

Xie says new President Xi Jinping is cracking down on corruption and seems poised to make real change.

“This the guy who is going to determine the future of our economy,” Xie tells Langfitt. “If he is serious about anti-corruption, China’s economy will build a base over the next few years based on consumption that will take China’s economy to the largest in the world by 2030.”

However, The Associated Press quotes Mark Williams, chief Asia economist at Capitol Economics, as saying that the initial sense is that the meeting fell short of expectations.

“Some disappointment was probably inevitable given the unrealistic belief in some quarters that it would deliver a detailed policy package,” he said.

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