China will offer Taiwan ‘preferential policies’

Clay Curtis
March 17, 2019

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, speaking at a press conference, said Friday that new initiatives will be implemented to invite people from Taiwan to access "the same development" and "work hand-in-hand to realize the dream for our shared nation".

China will "never" ask its firms to spy on other nations, Premier Li Keqiang said Friday, amid United States warnings that Chinese telecommunications behemoth Huawei poses security risks.

Li said China has policy room reserved for dealing with possible uncertainties this year such as raising the deficit-to-GDP ratio, or using other instruments like required reserve ratios and interest rates. However, he added that boosting lending or government spending might "lead to future problems".

Li expressed confidence Beijing can achieve its annual growth target of 6 to 6.5 percent.

China is targeting a GDP growth range of 6 to 6.5 per cent this year, down from 6.6 per cent in 2018 - the slowest pace in 28 years.

He said that maintaining growth would ensure that employment remains stable.

"China's economy will remain an important anchor of stability for the global economy", Li said.

"In terms of policy support - we may provide public rental housing units to private actors to provide services such as mobility, daycare, etc. Tax breaks may be provided to these service providers in terms of expenses on water, electricity and natural gas", he said.

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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.

Li has also said the government would develop innovative mechanisms to better match people's supply and market demand.

Li's comments suggest Beijing will roll out more stimulus measures to ease the strain on businesses and consumers. But President Xi Jinping did not rule out the use of force during a January speech on cross-strait relations.

In response, China, the world's second largest economy after the U.S., imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on Dollars 110 billion of American goods.

On Friday, China's parliament approved a new foreign investment law that promises to create a transparent environment for foreign firms, though there is scepticism about its enforceability.

Li said China would follow through on its reform pledges, including the implementation of regulations for a new foreign investment law.

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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