Communication for Sustainable Development

Experts call for slower economic growth

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The central government has said it will try to slow the country's economic growth over the next five years, many provinces have set ambitious targets of two-digit yearly expansion when making plans for the period from 2011 to 2015.
Experts have warned that overheated economic growth might not be good for sustainable development.
According to new local five-year plans released this month, many provinces and cities have set high targets for growth of their gross domestic product (GDP), while the National Development and Reform Commission, China's economic planning body, has set the national target at a more modest 8 percent for 2011.
The southwestern municipality of Chongqing has targeted an annual growth rate of 12.5 percent in the next five years and planned to make 2015's local gross domestic product double that of 2010.
East China's Anhui province, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and Northeast China's Heilongjiang province also planned to make their GDP in 2015 twice the figure of last year.
Some cities and regions even targeted much higher growth rates. Jiangmen, in South China's Guangdong province, set a target for annual growth of 15 percent from 2011 to 2015. Pingshan New District, in Shenzhen city in Guangdong, set its rate at 30 percent.
Only a few cities lowered their growth target. Shenzhen aimed at an annual GDP growth rate of 10 percent during 2011-2015, down from 13.5 percent over the past five years.
Zhang Xiaojing, an expert with the Institute of Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, attributed local governments' eagerness to pursue high growth rates to the fact that central authorities see GDP growth as a key indicator of the achievements of local governments.
"That would easily lead to competition among provinces to be among those achieving higher economic growth," Zhang told China Daily on Tuesday.
The country's unbalanced development in different regions would also encourage governors of underdeveloped places to seek a higher growth rate, he said.
Zhuang Jian, an economist with the Asian Development Bank, said he worried that China's economic growth might become overheated.
"Provinces' high growth expectations would surely raise the national growth level, which will not be good for sustainable development," he said.
China's major aim over the next five years is to slow its economic growth. Maintaining fast growth would require traditional resources-dependent development to continue, he said.
Zhuang said development should be more sustainable.
"We should develop new economic growth points and promising industries that do not rely largely on resources but are more dependent on technology. This will reduce the use of limited resources and cut down pollution," he said.
(Source: China Daily)
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