Related: Economic Arrangement for 2006
Fast, stable and sustainable growth. More competitive domestic enterprises. Boosting rural development to improve the lives of farmers.
These are among the key economic objectives for the new year, according to a central conference which ended in Beijing Thursday.
The three-day annual meeting, held by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council and attended by President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, set guidelines and major tasks for the economy next year.
The meeting agreed that the country's macro-economic policies would continue to aim for fast and stable growth.
Such a growth mode is imperative for increasing national strength and relieving contradictions in economic and social development, said a statement issued after the meeting.
It said the key lies in increasing domestic demand, sticking to prudent fiscal and monetary policies and improving macro-regulation.
The government will continue to rein in excessive investment in such overheated sectors as steel, cement, aluminium and copper.
"The message from the meeting indicates that the highest leadership is determined to make China's economy develop in a sustainable way," said Lin Yueqin, a researcher with the Economic Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a task he described as "challenging."
China's economy, which grew at an average of 9.4 per cent during the past 26 years, is expected to expand by 9 per cent this year.
Liu Shijin, vice-president of the Development Research Centre of the State Council, forecast that the pace of the economy would slow down to between 8.5 and 9.0 per cent next year.
Emphasis is also placed on sharpening the competitive edge of domestic enterprises.
The statement said it is urgent to accelerate industrial restructuring by using advanced technology to upgrade traditional industries and eliminate outdated productive forces.
Efforts will be intensified to save resources and protect the environment, the statement said.
Zhang Jianyu, a visiting scholar at Tsinghua University, said it is essential to build a "resource-saving and environment-friendly society."
"It should be the goal not only for the next year, but for all time," said Zhang.
He said the increasing number of pollution accidents and work safety disasters underscore the urgency for action in this regard.
"New socialist countryside" was highlighted as a new concept and "common action" of the whole Party and nation.
It involves increasing rural production, better livelihood, cultural development, clean villages and democratic management of village affairs.
The building of a new countryside and resolution of problems related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers has a bearing on the building of a well-off society in an all-round way as well as China's modernization drive, the statement said.
President Hu and Premier Wen agreed that it should be regarded as the central task of the Party.
"We should help farmers increase their income and continue to promote improvement in the agricultural structure," said the statement.
The construction of roads, water- and electricity-supply and telecommunication facilities should be stepped up in rural areas, it said.
"We will continue to increase investment in rural educational, cultural and health undertakings."
On other fronts, the meeting also urged deepening reforms and opening wider to the outside world for win-win results.
Lin said this shows the central leadership's vision of "balanced development" both domestically and internationally.
On building a harmonious society, priority will be given to resolve the practical problems concerning the fundamental interests of the general public, said the statement.
(Photo: Xinhua/President Hu Jintao speaks at the annual meeting.)