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China Signals Slower Growth Is Acceptable to Tackle Debt, Smog

  • Senior official says doubling GDP by 2020 not a ‘huge barrier’
  • Leaders focus on ‘critical battles’ against debt, pollution
Buildings stand in Dalian, China.
Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

China can achieve a goal of doubling the size of its economy by 2020 even if annual expansion slows to 6.3 percent, according to a senior Communist Party official, signaling a greater willingness to tackle debt and pollution at the expense of growth.

In its blueprint for 2016 to 2020, China set a minimum annual growth target of 6.5 percent for the five-year period to achieve the goal of doubling gross domestic product from 2010 levels. But over the weekend, Yang Weimin, an official from the Communist Party committee overseeing economic policy, said annualized growth of 6.3 percent in 2018-2020 would do.