The second session of the 13th National People's Congress opens at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 5, 2019. (Xinhua/Zhang Ling)
On March 5, 2019, Premier Li Keqiang delivered the Government Work Report to the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress in Beijing. Here are the highlights:
1. 2018 in review
China’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.6 percent, exceeding 90 trillion yuan.
A further 13.61 million new urban jobs were added.
The rural poor population was reduced by 13.86 million.
The tax and fee burden on enterprises and individuals was reduced by around 1.3 trillion yuan.
The overall tariff level was reduced from 9.8 to 7.5 percent.
The prices of 17 cancer drugs were slashed and these drugs were included in the national medical insurance catalog.
We must also be clear about the problems and challenges:
Externally-generated risks are on the rise. Downward pressure on the Chinese economy continues to increase. The real economy faces many difficulties. There are still many risks and hidden dangers in the financial and other sectors.
2. Targets for 2019
- GDP growth of 6-6.5 percent
- Over 11 million new urban jobs, a surveyed urban unemployment rate of around 5.5 percent, and a registered urban unemployment rate within 4.5 percent
- CPI increase of around 3 percent
- A reduction of over 10 million in the rural poor population
- A drop of around 3 percent in energy consumption per unit of GDP
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers a government work report at the opening meeting of the second session of the 13th National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 5, 2019. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)
3. Main tasks for 2019
Cut corporate burdens
China plans to reduce the current value-added tax (VAT) rate of 16 percent for manufacturing and other industries to 13 percent, and reduce the tax burdens on and social insurance contributions of enterprises by nearly two trillion yuan this year.
This year, for the first time, China plans to elevate the employment-first policy to the status of a macro policy.
To maintain steady automobile consumption, China will continue preferential policies on the purchase of new-energy vehicles.
800 billion yuan will be invested in railway construction, 1.8 trillion yuan will be invested in road construction and waterway projects.
Financial support mechanisms
China plans to establish a science and technology innovation board that will pilot an IPO registration system.
China plans to reform and improve the basic systems of the capital market to promote the healthy and steady development of multi-tiered capital markets.
Beat poverty with precision alleviation
China plans to intensify poverty alleviation in areas of extreme poverty like the “three regions and three prefectures”.
The “three regions” refers to Tibet, four prefectures of southern Xinjiang--Hotan, Aksu, Kashi, and the Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture of Kizilsu, and the areas of Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu, and Qinghai provinces with large Tibetan populations; the “three prefectures” are Liangshan in Sichuan, Nujiang in Yunnan, and Linxia in Gansu.
Pollution prevention and control
China plans to reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by 3 percent in 2019, and achieve a 2-percent drop in both chemical oxygen demand and ammonia nitrogen emissions.
Central government spending on education will exceed one trillion yuan in 2019.
Medical and health services
China plans to lower and unify the deductible line for serious disease insurance, raise the reimbursement rate from 50 to 60 percent.
Broadband, mobile internet rates
This year, average rates for mobile internet services will be further cut by more than 20 percent. Cellphone subscribers nationwide will be able to keep their numbers while switching carriers.
China plans to shorten the negative list for foreign investment, expand the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, and continue to promote China-US trade negotiations.
China plans to elevate the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta to the status of national strategy and design and implement an overall development plan.