IMF chief urges China to boost growth with ‘pro-market reforms’


Beijing: The head of the International Monetary Fund on Sunday called on China to implement “a comprehensive package” pro-market reforms“To boost a sluggish economy housing market crisislow domestic demand and persistently high youth unemployment,
Chinese policymakers have so far largely resisted calls to stimulate the economy through large-scale government stimulus, instead stressing the need to move toward “high-quality” growth.
Speaking at the China Development Forum in Beijing on Sunday, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said, “The transition from high rates to high quality growth is the right fork in the road ahead and China is committed to doing so.”
According to an official transcript of his speech, the Bulgarian economist warned that “this transition will not be easy”, but argued that “with a comprehensive package of pro-market reforms, China could grow significantly faster than under the status quo scenario”. .
Georgieva said Beijing should take “decisive steps” to reduce the amount of uncompleted housing and leave more room for “market-based reform” in the vital but heavily indebted real-estate sector.
He said authorities should also boost “the spending power of individuals and families” by strengthening China's pension system and taking other steps to improve its vast social safety net.
Georgieva also pressed China to “strengthen the business environment and ensure a level playing field between private and state-owned enterprises”, a long-standing demand of foreign business groups operating in the Asian nation.
Top Chinese politicians have been outwardly upbeat about the economy, with Premier Li Qiang saying at Sunday's forum that Beijing will take “practical, effective actions to promote high-quality growth and inject positive energy into the global economic recovery”.
But China's GDP growth rate has been trending downwards for years, and Beijing this month set an annual target of “about five percent” — a breakneck expansion rate that would sharply increase the country's prosperity. It is quite less.
Sunday's forum was attended by some of the world's most high-profile business figures, including Apple's Tim Cook.
The CEO of the United States' largest smartphone empire was in Shanghai this week to open a new Apple Store, and on Friday he discussed the company's expansion plans in China with Wang Wentao, the country's commerce minister.

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