The Daily Update: China Confidence / Sino-US Relation

According to Zhu Guangyao, the former Vice Finance Minister, the Chinese administration is confident the economy can maintain a potential growth rate of around 6% over the next five years, with the hope of doubling its GDP within 15 years to a moderately developed country. The moderately-developed status targeted in Beijing's 2035 vision aims to double the current $10,000 per capita GDP. That would require a growth rate of under 4.5% to achieve the target, well below the 6.5% that the economy grew in last quarter of 2020.

Zhu, who served as vice finance minister from 2010 to 2018 and remains a senior government advisor, says that for the current year China will maintain an expansionary fiscal policy targeting higher-quality growth, together with the People's Bank of China's prudent monetary policy. He did warn that pursuing high-quality development whilst lowering carbon emissions makes the target ‘challenging’.

However, if the Chinese government was hoping that the new Biden administration would help thaw the current fraught relationship, they could be disappointed. House Ways and Means Committee Democrat Chairman Richard Neal said he thinks the US’s relationship with its Asian rival needs to be more 'strategic' given his concerns about China's hard line on among other things Hong Kong. This attitude seems to be common with the Biden administration and many Congressional Democrats and could well limit the prospect for a rapid improvement in Sino-US relations.

Neal was more upbeat about relationships and trade deals elsewhere. He would 'very much like' the US to agree a trade deal with the EU, while adding that it 'makes sense' to move on with the US-UK bilateral deal given that the Brexit deal avoided a hard border in Ireland.