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Forum paints rosy economic picture
2007-07-29 17:51:43 Xinhua English

BEIJING, July 30 -- Experts predict China will likely surpass Japan in the coming decade to become the world's second largest economy.

A host of China's influential mainstream economists painted the rosy picture during the weekend at Tianheng Island in East China's Shandong Province.

Experts said the economic outlook was conditional on whether the country could swiftly adjust itself to ever-evolving domestic and global circumstances.

The members of Beijing-based China Economist 50 Forum gathered to debate the country's "big development topics of strategic importance" in the coming 10 years, ahead of the 17th Congress of the Communist Party of China, scheduled for autumn.

Some experts said they believed that China faced obstacles, including environmental problems and resource constraints, rising labor costs, imbalanced foreign trade, economic restructuring and an incomplete social security network.

Even "moral degradation" has been taken as "daunting challenge."

Despite the challenges, one prediction is that China is on the way to becoming a world-class economic power only after the United States by about 2018.

At that time, China's per capita GDP (gross domestic product) is expected to surge from the current 1,870 U.S. dollars to about 6,000 U.S. dollar, a benchmark between middle- and upper-developed countries.

"The benchmark is of great significance," said Xu Shanda, an economist chairing the discussion among the members of the think-tank organization.

The organization also predicated that China's growth pace would gradually slow down from the current blistering 11.5 percent to 8-9 percent by 2018.

If growth is sustained, China will outpace Japan as the world's second biggest economy.

Despite the fast growth, the economists reached the consensus that China should step up its efforts to continue its "balanced approaches" to tackle "unprecedented challenges" while becoming globalized.

"I personally believe that the process should be one that moral standards should be redefined and elevated," Fan Hengshan, director of regional development department under National Development and Reform Commission, said.

Yi Gang, assistant governor of People's Bank of China, proposed that China should continue its "put-people-first" approach to tackling long-term challenges. "On one hand, we should create a sound environment for the rich, both at home and from other economies," Yi said.

(Source: China Daily)

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