March 05th, 2009 | Xinhua Premier vows to promote employment, exports
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pleged on Thursday to take more measures to promote employment and boost exports which plunged due to anemic external demand.
China “must not slacken efforts” to promote export amid a sharp decline in external demand and growing international trade protectionism, a government work report said, pledging reinforced government support.
“We will continue to diversify our export markets and compete on quality, enhance traditional export markets, and energetically open up new markets,” said the report to be delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao at the annual parliament session Thursday morning.
The government is to take a series of measures to relieve the difficulties of exporters and to ensure steady growth in foreign trade, said the report distributed to media before the session.
To improve the country’s financial services for importing and exporting, the government will expand the coverage of export credit insurance, and encourage financial institutions to develop export credit, the report said.
The government will adjust the prohibited or restricted commodity categories of processing trade, and encourage the relocation of export processing industries from the eastern to the central and western regions, it said.
42 Billion Yuan Employment Support
On employment, the premier pledged to do everything in the government’s power to stimulate employment.
The government will implement an even more proactive policy this year and allocate 42 billion yuan to offset unemployment caused by the global crisis, according to the Chinese premier.
To create more jobs, the government will make full use of the role of the service sector, labor-intensive industries, small and medium-sized enterprises, and the non-public sector of the economy, said Premier Wen.
He said priority will be given to finding jobs for university graduates and migrant workers.
The two groups are the hardest hit as the deepening global financial crisis dented job demand in the world’s fastest-expanding economy.
The government will offer social security benefits and position subsidies for college graduates who take jobs in public administration and public services at the community level, he told the country’s legislators.
Wen said graduates who either take jobs in villages or enlist in the army will receive tuition reimbursement and have their student loans forgiven.
Institutions of higher learning, research institutes and enterprises undertaking key research projects will be encouraged to recruit qualified university graduates to do research work.
To help graduates start their own businesses, the government will speed up the establishment of startups industrial parks and incubation bases that require less investment and yield quicker results.
Meanwhile, China will boost government investment and launch major projects to employ more migrant workers, said Wen.
Enterprises in a difficult situation will be encouraged to prevent layoffs by renegotiating wage levels with their employees, adopting flexible employment and work hours, or providing on-job training for them.
The government will also increase the export of organized labor services and guide the orderly flow of rural migrant workers, Wen noted.
With its annual growth slowing to a seven-year low of 9 percent last year, China has seen about 20 million out of 130 million migrant workers returning to their rural homes without jobs.
In addition, there will be 7.1 million college graduates seeking vacancies this year, including 1 million who failed to secure jobs last year.
China is yet to see the worst employment situation while its economy has shown signs of recovery, as the rebound of job creation is usually behind economic turnaround, said Li Yining, a leading Chinese economist with Peking University.
“The economy usually demand less labor after experiencing a crisis because it will see improved technologies, equipment and productivity,” said Li, also a member of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the nation’s top political advisory body.
The urban unemployment rate rose to 4.2 percent at the end of 2008, up 0.2 percentage point year-on-year.
China aims to keep its registered jobless rate below 4.6 percent and provide 9 million new urban jobs this year.
“It’s not an easy target, but the country is actively finding ways to make it happen,” said Li.
Li noted that while China should develop capital- and technology-intensive industries for the long-term growth, special aid should be given to labor-intensive companies to meet the urgent need of boosting employment.
He called for reforms to give fair treatment and easier market access to private enterprises, which can absorb a large part of labor force.
Labor oversupply will continue to exist in China in a long period and can only be solved by stronger domestic demand and faster industrial restructuring, said Cai Fang, head of the Institute of Population and Labor Economics, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.