China to slash taxes, boost lending to shore up slowing economy

China to slash taxes, boost lending to shore up slowing economy

Recent economic data point to the difficulties China faces, with growth in the last three months of 2018 clocking in at 6.4 percent. It will be a crucial year for China as it endeavors to achieve the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, the report says.

Fiscal policy will be "proactive", while monetary policy will remain "prudent", Li said, outlining cuts to the reserve ratios at medium and small banks to unleash more funds into the economy.

The government aims to create more than 11 million new urban jobs this year and keep urban unemployment below 4.5 percent - unchanged from last year.

"China has other national priorities and an over-militarised national economy can deprive the government of much-needed resources, as what had happened to the former USSR", Char said.

In a rare acknowledgment of weakness from the Chinese state, Premier Li Keqiang said the trade war with the United States, which has seen the two countries swap tit-for-tat tariffs on a combined $360 billion worth of goods, was having a material negative impact on the economy.

This year, the government has set a budget deficit target of 2.8% of GDP, up from last year's 2.6%.

Li also warned at the congress meeting that the trade war with the us has had a negative impact on business activities in China. The report pledged a "noticeable decrease" in the tax burdens of major industries, with the total of reductions in tax and social security fees coming to 2 trillion yuan.

At a press conference ahead of the parliamentary session, National People's Congress spokesman Zhang Yesui pointed out that China's defence spending has maintained single-digit growth since 2016, and accounted for 1.3 per cent of GDP previous year, while the defence budgets of other major developed countries took up 2 per cent or more.

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China's top economic official announced a robust annual growth target and a 7.5% rise in military spending on Tuesday at a legislative session overshadowed by a tariff war with Washington.

China, which increased its defence budget in double digits till 2015, has been lowering it to single digit hikes since 2016.

China aims to increase lending to small companies by large commercial banks by more than 30 per cent this year, the premier said.

A balance will be struck between stabilising economic growth and fending off risks, it said.

According to the South China Morning Post, Beijing has set a lower economic growth target for this year and will step up fiscal measures to stabilize the growth.

Those external factors, Li said, have led the central government to decide on a somewhat softer and lower growth target for the country.

BEIJING:China on Tuesday scaled down its growth target for 2019 in the face of uncertainties over the trade war with the US.

Li's comments come, somewhat counterintuitively, as Beijing and Washington look to be close to securing a deal on trade after weeks of negotiations between senior figures in both nations.

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