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China Sets Economic Policy for 2019

Delegates read the work reports which is delivered by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the opening session of the annual National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Tuesday, March 5, 2019.

Tax cuts and increased defense spending are among the measures China will introduce this year to boost its flagging economy.

Premier Li Keqiang announced the measures Tuesday on the opening day of China’s annual National People’s Congress in Beijing.

Li told the legislators that policymakers are targeting economic growth of 6 to 6.5 percent this year, a slight cut from last year’s target of 6.5 percent. The world’s second-largest economy recorded official growth of 6.6 percent in 2018, the slowest pace in nearly three decades, due to slow demand at home and abroad and a bitter trade war with the United States.

The premier said the government will cut $298 billion in corporate taxes and social insurance contribution fees and lower the value-added tax for the manufacturing sector from 16 to 13 percent. Meanwhile, Beijing has approved a $177 billion military budget for this year, an increase of 7.5. percent, and is planning to spend more on

The legislature is expected to pass a new law during this session that will discourage officials from pressuring foreign companies to transfer their technology to Beijing in exchange for market access. The practice has angered the United States and Europe for years and was cited by President Donald Trump as part of his reason to impose huge tariffs on Chinese imports in an attempt to force China into trade concessions.