China to support slowing economy

17 Mars, 2019, 13:40 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Premier Li Keqiang said the government would not ask any company to spy on its behalf

China's population above 60 years has touched 420 million and that of children over six years to 100 million, putting heavy pressure on nursing services and day care centres, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday.

Li said China will further cut taxes and fees, simplify administrative regulatory procedures, facilitate market entry and foster new growth engines and fair competition environment to boost market vitality.

Li said, "We certainly need to take strong measures to cope with rising uncertainties that we face this year".

"In actual practice, our goal is to generate the same amount of job opportunities as we did a year ago, which is over 13 million", Li told a press conference after the conclusion of the annual session of China's national legislature.

China is targeting a GDP growth range of 6 to 6.5 per cent this year, down from 6.6 per cent in 2018 - the slowest pace in 28 years.

Maintaining growth will ensure employment remains stable, Li said.

Last year, China lowered banks' reserve requirement ratios five times to release more funding into the economy and further cuts are expected this year.

"China's economy will remain an important anchor of stability for the global economy", Li said.

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Policymakers huddled in Beijing have talked up plans to support the economy, announcing billions of dollars in tax cuts, fee reductions, and financing support for small businesses.

"In terms of policy support - we may provide public rental housing units to private actors to provide services such as mobility, daycare, etc. Tax breaks may be provided to these service providers in terms of expenses on water, electricity and natural gas", he said. But President Xi Jinping did not rule out the use of force during a January speech on cross-strait relations.

On Friday, China's parliament approved a new foreign investment law that promises to create a transparent environment for foreign firms, though there is scepticism about its enforceability.

"We also hope that foreign governments can view in an objective light the cooperation between Chinese companies and their foreign partners based on contractual consent", he said.

"China and the United States as two large economies have become closely entwined through years of growing their relationship and years of cooperation", Li said.

Washington and Beijing have been locked in a tit-for-tat tariff battle as USA presses China for an end to practices and policies it argues have given Chinese firms unfair advantages, including subsidizing of industry, limits on access for foreign companies and alleged theft of intellectual property.

The law will offer better legal support to the protection and attraction of foreign investment, as well as regulate government behaviours, Li said.

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