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China Approves $586 Billion Economic Stimulus Plan


China has announced a $586 billion stimulus package to boost domestic demand and protect the world's fourth largest economy from the global financial crisis.

State-run media said Sunday the plan includes investing in infrastructure, social welfare, transportation networks and housing. It also prioritizes rebuilding areas hit by natural disasters.

The report said China's cabinet approved the stimulus package at a meeting attended by Premier Wen Jiabao this week.

The cabinet also reformed the way the value-added tax is calculated to cut companies' taxes by about $17.5 billion annually.

The statement did not say how the government will pay for the extra spending through 2010.

China's export-driven economy is starting to feel the effects of the global financial crisis. Economic growth slowed to nine percent in the third quarter this year, the lowest in about five years.

The government has already cut key interest rates three times since September to encourage economic growth.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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