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Chinese premier to visit Europe in April

17 March 2019

Premier li made the remarks at a press conference after the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

China will not let the the world's second-largest economy "slip out of a reasonable range", Premier Li Keqiang said Friday, as he pledged support in the face of "new downward pressure".

China's top economic official says the country needs "strong measures" to counteract downward pressure on growth but Beijing plans to promote market-oriented reforms instead of relying on more lending and deficit government spending.

Speaking to reporters at the close of China's annual parliamentary session, Mr Li listed concrete steps the government would take in the coming months to give teeth to a law that some have said has been rushed out largely to assuage United States concerns. Gross domestic product grew 6.6 percent in 2018 - the least in 28 years.

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Li's comments "reconfirm a consistent pro-growth stance, with clarity on fiscal easing and an earlier-than-expected effective date for tax cuts", Morgan Stanley said in a note, adding that it expects improved growth from the second quarter.

Last year, China lowered banks' reserve requirement ratios five times to release more funding into the economy and further cuts are expected this year.

China will bolster its national coffers by collecting more of the profits earned by some financial institutions and centrally-owned firms, while general expenditure will be cut, Li said.

Data on Thursday showed that China's survey-based jobless rate rose to 5.3 percent in February, from 4.9 percent in December, partly due to job shedding by export-oriented companies.

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China and the united states have become closely intertwined through years of development and cooperation, it is neither realistic nor possible to decouple the two economies, he said.

With speculation that Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump may hold a summit in the near future to end a trade war, Li expressed readiness to make the nation's market more open and transparent to foreigners.

"For some time, China-US trade frictions have been given more prominence, but China-US negotiations have never stopped", Li said.

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, he said skirting question that whether it was passed in a hurry to meet the U.S. demands to a end trade war.

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In response, China, the world's second largest economy after the USA, imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on United States dollars 110 billion of American goods.

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

His comments came after increased worldwide scrutiny of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, which has been caught in the cross-fire as trade tensions ratcheted up.

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Chinese premier to visit Europe in April