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Healthy prospects for recovery after Covid-19 outbreak challenges
By CG Lin Jing, published on Cape Times, July 31

Since the city of Wuhan enforced a lockdown on 23rd January to fight the coronavirus, faced with serious challenges posed by the covid-19 outbreak and a complex and fast-changing environment both at home and abroad, under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with comrade Xi Jinping at the core, the whole nation coordinated efforts to advance both the prevention and control of the epidemic and the economic and social development.

As a result, China is now at the forefront of both epidemic prevention and control and economic recovery. As China has largely brought the disease under control, it's heavily-hit economy is back on the track of vigorous growth again.

China's economy expanded by 3.2 percent year on year in the second quarter, following a 6.8 percent contraction in the first quarter.

The employment remained generally stable. In the first half of this year, 5.64 million new urban jobs were created, achieving 62.7 percent of the annual target. The surveyed urban unemployment rate stood at 5.7 percent in June. By the end of the second quarter, the number of rural migrant workers reached 177.52 million.

Consumer price rose mildly. In the first half of this year, the consumer price Index (CPI) rose by 3.8% on a year-on-year basis. In June, consumer price rose 2.5 percent, in a moderate range.

The performance of the international trade exceeded expectation. In the first half, the total value of imports and exports of goods was 14,237.9 billion yuan, a year-on-year decline of 3.2 percent. The total value of exports was 7,713.4 billion yuan, down by 3.0 percent; the total value of imports was 6,524.5 billion yuan, down by 3.3 percent. The trade balance was 1,188.9 billion yuan in surplus.

While the national economy experienced steady recovery, the people's basic livelihood was effectively guaranteed, and the market expectation was generally good. These conditions have laid a solid foundation for a sustained recovery in the second half.

It is worth noting that the widespread use of new technologies represented by cloud computing, big data, 5G and artificial intelligence, and rapid development of new industries such as digital economy, intelligent manufacturing and life health, along with many newly emerged business formats and new patterns like remote office, online education, and unmanned delivery, have nurtured vigorous new growth points, which will provide stronger support for the economic growth in the next half.

What is needed to be highlighted is that, China has introduced and implemented a series of fiscal, monetary and employment policies in response to the impact of the epidemic, these macro policies are bound to unleash greater positive effects in the second half.

Therefore, a more robust growth is expected in the second half of the year and beyond. According to an IMF projection, China is expected to achieve what could be the sole positive annual GDP growth among major economies.

At present, some parts of China are suffering from catastrophic floods. The Chinese government has coordinated efforts to promote epidemic prevention and control, economic development and flood relief, minimize the damage caused by floods and stabilize economic recovery momentum, so as to win the battle against poverty and achieve the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects.

While sustained improvement was made in epidemic prevention and control, and the resumption of work, production, business and market was advanced at an accelerated pace, the preparation for the third China International Import Expo (CIIE), scheduled to open in early November this year, has entered the final stage. Authorities in Shanghai are racing against time to streamline clearance procedures and lower costs for enterprises while staying vigilant for epidemic prevention and control for this year's expo.

Last year, CIIE attracted more than 3,800 enterprises and 181 countries, regions, international organizations participating in the event. A total of 71.13 billion U.S. dollars worth of tentative deals were reached for a year's purchase of goods and services.

For this year, the total planned exhibition area for enterprises is 360,000 square meters, 60,000 square meters larger than last year. Four new zones for public health and epidemic prevention, energy conservation and environment protection, smart transportation, as well as sports goods and competitions will be set up at the event. The number of top enterprises scheduled to participate with their latest products and technologies will surely surpass that of previous years.

The past two expos have proven that the event will provide opportunities for the manufacturers and businesses from all over the world to exploit the huge potential of China's domestic market, and serve as an important platform to establish business links and contracts, and is also the best testimony of China's commitment to further opening-up and quality development.

While the whole world is still struggling to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sustained economic recovery of China as well as the third CIIE will definitely inject confidence and impetus into the sluggish global economy, and China will remain a robust driving engine of the global economic recovery.

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