By H+K China Government and Public Affairs Team
Every spring, the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, assembles in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, alongside the concurrent session of the nation’s top political advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Known colloquially as the ‘lianghui,’ or ‘Two Sessions,’ the elite conclave is one of the most significant annual political events in China, gathering around 5,000 delegates from across the country, including Party leaders, provincial officials, business executives, military commanders, and more.
This year, the 13th NPC and the 13th CPPCC will respectively kick off on the 5th and 3rd of March and last for roughly 10 to 14 days. As the main event of the Two Sessions, the NPC, in particular, provides an important bellwether for taking stock of the Chinese leadership’s policy plans and strategic priorities for the year ahead as well as its assessment of China’s development over the preceding year. These are encapsulated in the government’s annual work report, the centerpiece document published during the NPC which is typically delivered by the premier on the opening day. In addition, the premier and foreign minister usually hold press conferences while various ministers participate in Q&A sessions and a number of other panels with representatives are also convened, all of which shed further light on China’s official agenda.
Although the Two Sessions is a carefully choreographed and stage-managed affair, the showcase political event provides international businesses with a rare glimpse into the inward workings of the Chinese government and its political and economic decision-making processes. Corporate leaders would be well-advised to closely follow the key outcomes from the meetings and work to discern Chinese officialdom’s policy leanings and top priorities for 2018 and beyond. Doing so will help them to extrapolate the likeliest paths that China will take in its “new era” and plan their corporate strategies accordingly.
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