China’s top leaders meet this week to plan for the next five years

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Chinese President Xi Jinping is about to deepen his mark on what could soon be the world’s largest economy.

China’s top leaders meet this week to plan for the next five years

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The central committee of China’s ruling Communist Party, led by Xi, is set to meet in Beijing from Oct. 26 to 29 to discuss a proposal for national development for the next five years — from 2021 to 2025.

The government sets these economic and social priorities every five years — this year’s discussion is the 14th such plan.

With the global turbulence caused by the coronavirus pandemic and rising U.S.-China tensions, the meeting will be launched at a particularly critical time for the Asian nation. Economists predict the country will firmly become the world’s largest economy in the next few years.

For Xi, the next half decade and beyond builds on eight years in which he abolished term limits and consolidated political power.

One of the key milestones ahead is the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party in 2021 — authorities have pledged to build a “moderately prosperous society” by next year. Then in 2022, the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party will shed light on Xi’s future leadership plans.

There are many more dates ahead that the authoritarian government has named for development goals. They include the “Made in China 2025” plan to dominate in high-tech and key manufacturing areas, and “China Standards 2035” for global specifications on leading technology.

The final text of the upcoming five-year plan is due for release next year at the National People’s Congress typically held in March.

“One thing I think will stand out is the supply chain security,” Dan Wang, Shanghai-based chief economist at Hang Seng China, told CNBC in a phone interview.

“I think there will be some major adjustments because this 14th five-year plan is a long-term plan. It’s not an emergency plan,” Wang said. “It will drive some of the long term issues. Now with some of the U.S. competition, there will be a lot of stress on strengthening those sectors related to national security and basic livelihood of (the) people.”

Self-reliance and security

Following years of criticism that state-dominated China has unfairly taken advantage of global markets, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has taken a tougher stance on Beijing that many expect will continue in some form — even if Democratic nominee Joe Biden becomes president next year. Trump has pressured China to buy more American goods, while hampering Beijing’s technological advancement with restrictions on companies such as Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

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The uncertainty of whether Chinese tech firms can continue to collaborate with U.S. companies is accelerating Beijing’s efforts to ensure future technological prowess.

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