China is well-placed to avoid the so-called "middle-income trap" and to continue to converge towards the more advanced economies, even though growth is likely to slow from near double-digit rates in the first decade of this millennium to around 7% at the 2020 horizon.
Urbanisation in China has long been held back by various restrictions on land and internal migration but has taken off since the 1990s, as these impediments started to be gradually relaxed. People have moved in large numbers to richer cities, where productivity is higher and has increased further thanks to agglomeration effects.
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This report presents an update of OECD policy advice in areas that are critical to China’s long-term economic performance and social development. They include food security, social safety nets, health reform, green growth, climate change and urbanisation.
A moderate recovery is underway in the major advanced economies, according to the OECD’s latest Interim Economic Assessment. Growth is proceeding at encouraging rates in North America, Japan and the UK. The euro area as a whole is out of recession, although output remains weak in a number of countries.
China’s exceptional economic expansion has led to rising energy demand and pollution as well as other environmental pressures. Strong efforts by the government have moderated emissions of some types of air and water pollution from high levels but others, including greenhouse gas emissions, continue to rise. Poor air and water quality threaten human health, create other costs and reduce well-being.
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China’s new leadership has signalled that it is time to step up the pace of reform, building on the remarkable economic and social achievements to date while recognising the pressing need for deep structural changes. Indeed, far-reaching reforms are necessary for continuing to raise living standards and well-being, even as China is poised to become the world’s largest economy by around 2016.
China has made tremendous progress toward achieving inclusive growth, but major reforms are needed to ensure a fourth decade of rapidly converging living standards and a greener economy, according to the OECD’s latest Economic Survey of China.