Against the global slowdown in 2021, China's economy showed development potential and growth resilience. The reform and opening up and innovation were further advanced, the people's livelihood was strongly and effectively safeguarded, new strides were made in building a new development paradigm and new achievements were secured in high-quality development.
First, the economic growth maintained a leading position in the world. The annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 114.367 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 8.10 per cent, and the growth rate continued to be at the forefront of the major economies. The ffiscal revenue grew rapidly, the foreign exchange reserves remained above US$3.2 trillion for eight consecutive months, and the balance of payments was basically balanced. As of the end of December 2021, the foreign exchange reserves stood at US$3.25 trillion.
Second, the new urban employment continued to expand. In the whole year, 12.69 million new jobs were created in cities and towns. The average urban surveyed unemployment rate in the whole year was 5.1 per cent, down 0.5 percentage points from the previous year on average.
Third, the consumer price was in a reasonable range. The efforts to ensure supply and stabilize prices continued to expand, the lending of basic living necessities to residents increased, and the consumer prices maintained a moderate increase, an increase of 0.9 per cent year-on-year.
Fourth, the foreign trade and foreign investment increased rapidly. The total import and export of goods for the year was 39.1 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 21.4 per cent. The export scale and international market share reached a new high. The actual use of foreign capital in the whole year was 1.15 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 14.9 per cent.
Fifth, the grain production achieved another bumper harvest. The total grain output for the year was 682.85 million tons, an increase of 13.36 million tons or 2 per cent over the previous year, and reached a new high. It has remained above 0.65 trillion kilograms for seven consecutive years, laying a good foundation for ensuring market supply and stabilising prices.
Sixth, the new industries and new businesses forms were developed vigorously. The added value of high-tech manufacturing industry increased by 18.2 per cent year-on-year. The new generation of information technology accelerates the penetration and integration of new consumption fields such as online shopping, mobile payment, and online and offline integration. The foreign trade and foreign investment increased substantially.
Seventh, the protection of people's Livelihood was strong and effective. The growth of residents' income was basically synchronised with economic growth, the achievements in poverty alleviation were consolidated, the investment in people's livelihood continued to increase, and the investment in education and health increased by 11.7 per cent and 24.5 per cent year-on-year respectively.
Eighth, the contribution to the world economy was enhanced. According to the latest forecast of the International Monetary Fund, China's GDP will account for about 18 per cent of the world economy in 2021, and it will increase steadily year after year. In order to ensure the steady, sound and balanced development of China's economy, China promoted the following relevant key works in 2021:
The foresight and effectiveness of the macro policies were strengthened on the base of the continuity and stability. Focusing on consolidating the foundation for economic recovery, the macroeconomic policies were implemented accurately and effectively, and the pre-adjustment and fine-tuning were timely made to prevent consecutive economic downturn. The necessary scale of fiscal expenditure was maintained. Various monetary policy tools were flexibly used. The reasonable and sufficient liquidity were maintained. The policy of reducing burdens, stabilizing jobs and expanding employment were continued. In response to the prominent contradictions in the economic operation, appropriate measures were taken timely.
The demand of the market entities were directly helped to alleviate difficulties. Some policies of the tax or the fee reduction were improved and new structural tax cuts were implemented while reducing the cost of the land, network and road freight, etc. The policies of deferral of principal and interest repayment and credit loan for small and micro enterprises were continued to be implemented. 300 billion yuan loan increased newly was relent. The total amount of market entities exceeded 150 million.
The reform and opening up were deepened and the business environment was optimised. The reforms of the market system and the state-owned enterprises were promoted. The reforms to streamline the governance, to delegate power, and to improve government services were deepened. Pilot projects for business environment innovation were launched. The approval procedures and processing time limits were further reduced. The anti-monopoly and preventing expansion of capital disorderly were developed. The carbon peak neutralisation top-level design and working mechanism were built. Regional development strategies were deeply implemented. Pragmatic cooperation in jointly building the "Belt and Road" was deepened, and RCEP to take effect was promoted as scheduled.
The innovation-driven was strengthened and the industrial and supply chains were stabled. The national strategic scientific and technological strength were strengthened. The research on key core technologies was sped up. The deduction ratio for R&D expenses was increased in the manufacture industry. The management of the central government's scientific research expenses was improved. The digital transformation and upgrading of traditional industries were promoted. The supply of key components were increased.
The people's livelihood was ensured and improved through development. The construction of ecological civilization was continuously promoted. The basic pension for retirees were continued to be increased. Compulsory education in rural areas was strengthened. The goal of expanding the enrolment of three million students was completed in higher vocational education during three years. The system of preventing and controlling diseases was improved. More outpatient expenses were included in the reimbursement scope. The affordable rental houses were promoted in big cities. The production and market supply of agricultural products were emphasised.
The development of China's economy in 2021 proves fully that the fundamentals of China's economy, characterised by strong resilience, enormous potential and long-term sustainability, remain unchanged. We are confident in the future of China's economy development. China will further strengthen international economic cooperation, engage more in major global issues and support high-quality development under the "Belt and Road" initiative framework in 2022.
Liu Zhenhua is Economic & Commercial Counsellor, Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Bangladesh.