Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

China to support slowing economy

China to support slowing economy

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

"We hope that the consultations will be fruitful and will achieve mutual benefit and win-win".

Washington and Beijing have been locked in a tit-for-tat tariff battle as US presses China for an end to practices and policies it argues have given Chinese firms unfair advantages, including subsidizing of industry, limits on access for foreign companies and alleged theft of intellectual property.

China's new foreign investment law will lead to the creation of a new complaints filing regime and an information disclosure mechanism to ensure greater transparency, among other things, said Mr Li.

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.

As a tit-for-tat tariff escalation with the United States - worth hundreds of billions of dollars - has choked exports as well as private spending and investment at home, Li pledged to implement "strong measures" to prop up the nation's economy.

However, the law that passed on Friday had just 41 articles, compared to a more-detailed 2015 draft with 170 articles that stalled in the National People's Congress.

He made the remarks at a press conference in Beijing after the conclusion of the annual national legislative session.

"Moreover, we can deploy quantity-based or price-based policy tools such as reserve requirements and interest rates".

"This law will regulate government behaviour, requiring the government to perform its functions in accordance with the law", he said.

"There is none of that now, and there never will be (any of it) in the future", Li told journalists at a press briefing marking the end of China's yearly parliamentary meeting.

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.

"We are not going for monetary easing, but trying to provide effective support to the real economy", Li said.

Li said the country will work to ensure employment of college graduates, whose number will reach a new high of 8.34 million this year.

Li's comments suggest Beijing will roll out more stimulus measures to ease the strain on businesses and consumers.

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