就像罗纳德里根(Ronald Reagan)和玛格丽特鈠切尔(Margaret Thatcher)30年前在美国和英国推行的“供应侧”改革那样，中国官员承诺削减繁文缛节和降低行政税费。许多在中国从事制造的企业提出，在某些地区，他们面临的成本与在美国和欧洲的同行不相上下，如果不是更高的话。
China’s economic planners pledged to adopt more “proactive” and “flexible” fiscal and monetary policies in the new year, the official Xinhua news agency reported yesterday, as the country looks poised to post its slowest annual economic growth rate in 25 years.
The government will embrace more “accommodative” fiscal and monetary policies, said a policy official familiar with the planning, while reducing surplus production capacity, lowering costs for businesses and selling off stockpiles of properties and industrial goods.
“There will be fiscal policy to expand government spending and increase the government’s deficit,” the official said, adding that the economy “will follow an L-shaped path; it won’t be V-shaped”.
China has struggled to reach its GDP growth target of “around 7 per cent” and recently said that it expected average annual growth to slip to 6.5 per cent over the next five years.
In a statement at the end of Beijing’s annual Central Economic Work Conference, the government said that “China’s current proactive fiscal policy needs to be more forceful, and the fiscal deficit ratio needs to be raised gradually.”
However, the planning, which focused on “supply side” reforms, may be met with scepticism by foreign investors who have complained that bold reforms promised two years ago have yet to materialise.
While China’s overall debt-to-GDP level has soared past 250 per cent in recent years, largely due to excessive leverage in the corporate sector, the central government and local administrations can increase their borrowing to support the economy.
After the financial crisis, local governments borrowed through specially created finance vehicles that invested heavily in infrastructure and property.
“The [central government] will have larger fiscal deficits and allow local governments to issue more bonds,” said Chen Long, China economist at Gavekal Dragonomics. “Meanwhile, local government finance vehicles will be allowed to borrow at full speed.”
Chinese officials have argued that even as traditional economic engines such as property and infrastructure investment lose steam, consumption will make up for the reduced slack in the economy.
However, they admit that many of the most demanded products and services, especially in education and healthcare, are in short supply, leading to a need for “supply side” reforms.
“There are a lot of unmet demands in the economy,” the official said. “We are not facing a lack of demand.”
Like the “supply side” reforms by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in the US and UK 30 years ago, Chinese officials have promised to cut red tape and lower administrative taxes. Many China-based manufacturers argue that in some areas they face costs comparable to, if not higher than, those in the US and Europe.
The Chinese government has, however, stopped short of embracing privatisation, with recent state sector reforms instead focused on reorganising existing state-owned enterprises.