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Highlights of Premier Li's news conference

(People's Daily Online)    10:00, March 15, 2019


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met the press on Friday at the Great Hall of the People after the conclusion of the annual session of the National People's Congress, the national legislature.

Here are the highlights from the press conference:

1. On economic growth

- It is true that China's economy has encountered new downward pressure, as part of a global trend.

- Last year, people across China made a strong united effort to advance our supply-side structural reform and China achieved the GDP growth goal of 6.6 percent. The country has sent a message of stability to the market.

- We will continue to take measures to boost vitality in the market so that China will have a stronger dynamism for development.

2. On tax cuts

- In the past several years, China has worked to replace business tax with value-added tax (VAT). Three trillion yuan in business tax have been cut over the past three years, which is fairly large scale tax reduction.

- The government has determined to lunch a larger-scale round of tax reductions and fee cuts, which will be a key measure for the country to deal with download pressures on China's economy.

- This year we will make reductions in VAT and social insurance contributions, with two trillion yuan worth of reductions to all companies.

3. On Korean Peninsula issue

- The Korean Peninsula issue is a long-standing and complicated one, which cannot be resolved overnight.

- It's important to stay patient and promote dialogue, especially between the DPRK and the U.S.

- The country is committed to a denuclearized peninsula. We hope there will be peace and stability on the peninsula. It is in the regional and global interest.

4. On China-U.S. ties

- Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 40 years ago, the China-U.S. relationship has been forging ahead and it has achieved fruitful results.

- The twists and turns are changing. However, the trend of moving forward has not changed.

- Our common interests are far greater than differences. Maintaining a stable bilateral relationship is not only beneficial to both parties, but also beneficial to the world.

- China and the U.S., as the two largest economies, have become closely entwined through years of growing their relationship. It is neither realistic nor possible to decouple these economies.

5. On reform and opening up

- Through 40 years of reform and opening-up, China has made remarkable achievements, delivering benefits to all of its population.

- The government will continue to pursue market-oriented and law-based reforms to ensure that concrete outcomes will be delivered through specific actions.

- In carrying out reform, the government must create an enabling environment for the market to perform its role in resource allocation.

- In terms of the certain countries' suspicions that the Chinese government asks Chinese companies to spy on other countries, this is not consistent with Chinese law.

- This is not how China behaves, we did not do that and will not do that in future.

6. On cross-Strait ties

- China upholds the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus and opposes Taiwan independence.

- A total of 31 measures have been introduced last year to promote cross-Strait economic and cultural exchanges.

7. On job markets

- Every year, we see about 15 million people entering the job market, and that growth won't slow down in the near future.

- This year, for the first time, we are elevating the status of employment-first policy to a macro policy together with the fiscal policy and monetary policy. It's projected that 11 million urban jobs will be created this year, but in actual fact, the number will go beyond 13 million.

8. On foreign investment law

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

- China will introduce a series of regulations and documents in accordance with the foreign investment law to protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors.

9. On China-Europe ties

- China and the Europe are each other's largest trading partners, there has been cooperation as well as friction in their relations.

- I hope that both sides will view this relationship from a strategic and long-term perspective and continue to show mutual respect, deepen mutual understanding, and advance cooperation in joint pursuit of sustained healthy growth of our relations.

10. On services for the elderly and infants

- The supply of nursing services for the elderly and infants in China is insufficient and cannot meet demand, and this situation deserves the highest attention.

- Innovative measures are needed to address the shortages of such services to meet public demand. Developing community-based nursing services for the elderly and infants can help as nursing facilities in communities can be more accessible to residents.

11. On China-Russia ties

- Bilateral trade exceeded $100 billion last year for the first time despite the downturn in global trade growth, which shows that there is still a great deal of untapped potential in China-Russia cooperation.

- The two countries could expand cooperation in areas like trade in commodities, cross border e-commerce, aviation and aerospace and also enhance exchanges at the sub-national level and between their peoples.

12. On medical insurance

- Outpatient drugs for chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, will be reimbursable by 50 percent through China's basic medical insurance program this year.

- When it comes to serious illness insurance scheme, we will lower the payout threshold.

13. On China-Japan-ROK free trade zone

- A comprehensive, high-standard and mutually beneficial free trade agreement among China, Japan and the Republic of Korea is in the interest of the three countries.

- Although Japan and the ROK have pretty large surpluses in their trade with China, China is still prepared to compete with them in an equal manner to bring more options to customers of the three countries.

14. On new business models

- China will continue to exercise accommodative and prudential regulations on new business models such as Internet Plus and sharing economy. What is known about new things is always far less than what is unknown, and they should be given a chance to grow.

15. On internet service

- China aims to cut the cost of internet services by another 20 percent this year, which will involve a total of about 180 billion yuan ($26.8 billion).

16. On micro and small enterprises

- China will this year lower financing costs for micro and small enterprises by one percentage point.

- Authorities will encourage financial institutions to improve management mechanisms to provide cheaper services for small, private companies.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Bianji)

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