China to hold key economic reform meeting Nov 9 to Nov 12

Reuters

BEIJING, Oct 29 (Reuters) - China's leaders will hold a keymeeting to discuss deepening financial reforms between Nov. 9and Nov. 12, the official Xinhua news agency said, as the rulingCommunist Party looks to set its economic agenda for the nextdecade.

The meeting marks the third time China's 200-member CentralCommittee has gathered since last year's leadership change.Historically, such meetings, known as third plenums, have been aspringboard for economic change in China.

The meeting "must be a new historical beginning thatcomprehensively deepens reforms," Xinhua said on Tuesday, citinga meeting of the elite Politburo.

No details were given on what changes will be pursued and inwhat manner, but where conditions for reform are ripe changemust be rolled out quickly, Xinhua said.

Analysts and investors are eagerly awaiting the outcome ofthe meeting in the hope that it will outline a growth strategyfor the world's No. 2 economy as it matures and enters a stageof slower expansion. However, political reforms are not expectedto be a major part of the meeting.

China's leaders are trying to shift the economy away from areliance on exports and investment and more towards consumption.That may mean the economy slows, but the leaders hope it willprovide the basis for a more sustainable pace of expansion afteryears of double-digit growth. The government sees GDP risingthis year by 7.5 percent, which would be its weakest increase inmore than two decades.

Yu Zhengsheng, the fourth-ranked member of China's elitePolitburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party, said lastweekend the meeting will unveil "broad" and "unprecedented"reforms.

People familiar with discussions about the meeting said lastmonth that of a long list of proposed changes likely to beannounced after the plenum, only financial reforms have garneredenough support to warrant a plan and a roadmap.

Other proposed reforms including fiscal, land and residencyregistration have been major sticking points as politiciansdebate how to implement change, and as they face resistance frompowerful interest groups such as state firms.

Earlier this week, media said the Development ResearchCentre, an influential think tank linked to China's statecouncil, or cabinet, had recommended eight key areas for reform;finance, taxation, land, state assets, social welfare,innovation, foreign investment and governance.

It was not known if the suggestions would be discussed atthe plenum.

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