China’s economic recovery on track, says Deputy Consul General in U.S.

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Qian Jin

2nd March 2024 – (New York) Qian Jin, China’s Deputy Consul General in New York, affirmed on Friday that China is steadfastly navigating towards an economic resurgence and high-quality development, whilst striving to become a “modern socialist country in all respects”. This assertion comes amidst a backdrop of increasing calls for stringent policies against China from U.S. critics.

Qian’s remarks were delivered amid heightened efforts by President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping’s administrations to solidify ties and capitalise on the goodwill fostered during their November summit in California. These diplomatic endeavours are taking place against the grain of escalating U.S. rhetoric in the run-up to the presidential election this November.

Dismissing the so-called ‘China threat’ narrative and proposals to sever China from vital semiconductor supplies or impose fresh sanctions, Qian emphasised that domestic politics should not derail the positive trajectory of China-U.S. relations.

The statement from Qian, which aligns with previous declarations by Beijing aimed at bolstering investor and consumer confidence, arrives amidst a series of economic challenges. Qian challenged the skepticism surrounding China’s economic progression, discrediting phrases such as “struggling for momentum” and “dragging down the world” as gross misrepresentations.

“The vessel of China’s economy is cutting through the rough seas of the global economy and advancing with a steady hand,” remarked Qian. He pointed to China’s accomplishment of hitting its 5.2 percent growth target in 2023 as evidence of the country’s underlying economic strength and its critical role as a global growth engine.

Despite facing a faltering property market, which plays a significant role in national GDP and household wealth, the Chinese government has been projecting a facade of confidence as it endeavors to steady its economic ship. Challenges such as rising local debt and significant youth unemployment, which soared past 20 percent last summer, continue to loom large. Moreover, apprehensions about deflation have grown, with a noticeable trend of cautious consumer spending during significant periods like the Lunar New Year.

Michael Hirson of 22V Research noted, “Chinese households are engaging with the service economy but are maintaining a cautious approach to expenditure, a key factor behind the sluggish domestic demand since the post-Covid reopening, with few signs of imminent change.”

Nevertheless, Qian maintained that China’s economic foundation was secure, noting the negligible decrease in 2023 grain output compared to 2022, robust R&D investment, and a pivot towards new growth sectors.