'Supply-side reform' is the big new buzz phrase at China's annual parliament in Beijing. But as Eve Johnson reports, right now there's not a lot of consensus about what it actually means.
Communist China's unlikely new inspiration - free market champion Ronald Reagan. His catchphrase 'Supply side economics' tweaked to become 'supply side reform'... THE buzz word for plans to fix the economy at Beijing's annual parliament session. Analysts say it implies cutting taxes and red tape for businesses. But Beijing has avoided giving it a specific definition. Correspondent Sue-Lin Wong says local officials are simply taking it to mean whatever works for them. And some interpretations are downright ludicrous. Some government officials are suggesting that China should produce its own high-tech toilet seats, the kind that Chinese tourists are currently flocking to Japan to buy. Other government delegates are suggesting that noodle shops should upgrade their interior design, should connect to the internet and in this way charge more for noodles and this will be supply side reform. Yet other government officials are suggesting that price controls on medical fees is a form of supply side reform, which is quite ironic considering that Reagan's original interpretation was less regulation, rather than more regulation. China's big problems right now aren't actually on the supply side of things. Rather with demand - there's simply not enough of it. President Xi Jinping's getting ready to deal with that problem by cutting back on wasteful industries like steel, concrete and coal which would also see millions of workers laid off. Experts say keeping the new strategy vague is very convenient for the leadership. It lets them avoid talking about painful cutbacks. While spreading the economic message that they want the people to hear.