China cuts taxes in bid to stimulate economy


That compares to the 2018 gross domestic product growth of 6.6 percent, which was the weakest pace since 1990.

The two-week gathering of the congress's 3,000-plus delegates in the cavernous Great Hall of the People is China's highest-profile event of the year but does little lawmaking work.

According to Li, these policies will cut costs for businesses by almost RMB 2 trillion (US$298.3 billion).

Spending on the Communist Party's military wing, the People's Liberation Army, will rise to 1.2 trillion yuan ($178 billion), according to a separate report issued by the finance ministry.

Shadow banking risks will be resolved in an orderly way, and China will steadily deal with local government debt risks, the NDRC said.

In a bid to defuse US and European complaints the Chinese system is rigged against foreign companies, Premier Li Keqiang promised in a speech to the National People's Congress (NPC) they will be "treated as equals" with Chinese competitors.

In terms of monetary policy, Lee said the government will keep it neither too tight nor too loose, and will not resort to a flood of stimulus while growth in M2 money supply and total social financing this year will be in line with nominal GDP growth.

China sought to shore up its slowing economy through billions of dollars in planned tax cuts and infrastructure spending, with economic growth at its weakest in nearly 30 years due to softer domestic demand and a trade war with the United States.

The 2019 defence budget will be 1.19 trillion yuan (about Dollars 177.61 billion), according to a draft budget report to be submitted at the opening of the annual session of China's Parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), on Tuesday.

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"A full analysis of developments in and outside China shows that in pursuing development this year, we will face a graver and more complicated environment as well as risks and challenges, foreseeable and otherwise, that are greater in number and size", according to the report.

Li said Beijing is closely monitoring the job situation at exporting companies heavily exposed to the United States market.

To combat problems facing small business, Beijing will raise the Value-Added Tax threshold to 100,000 yuan ($15,000) in monthly sales, from 30,000 yuan ($4,500) and direct large state banks to lend 30 percent more to small firms this year.

"China has long maintained its military is for the defense of its borders but that definition has broadened over the years", Roggeveen said.

Last year, China had already lowered commercial lenders' reserve requirement ratio (RRR) five times to make borrowing easier for small and private firms.

Beijing "will continue to promote China-U.S. trade negotiations", Li said, adding, "China is committed to mutually beneficial cooperation, win-win development and settling trade disputes through discussion as equals". US trade negotiators have also demanded that China buy more of America's products.

Separately, China's top banking regulator said on Tuesday that Beijing could "absolutely" reach an agreement with the United States on opening up its financial sector.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that the two nations are "on the cusp" of a breakthrough to end the trade war.