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China to take special measures to counter downward pressure

Published: May 18, 2019 19:26:28


China will take specific measures to counter downward pressure on the economy, stabilise the job market and help manage market expectations, as the country prepares for a potentially protracted trade war with the US, Chinese officials said on Friday.

Though stressing that the impact of US punitive tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods is "generally controllable," Chinese officials also acknowledged that the tariffs will have some impact on the Chinese economy.

"This round of US tariffs is something we don't want to see because it is not good for not only China and the US but also the world," Meng Wei, a spokesperson for the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic policy planner, told a briefing on Friday.

"As for countermeasures, we think that the key is to do our own things well."

Meng said that China will study the potential impact of the tariffs and take necessary measures to keep the Chinese economy within a "reasonable range", reports Global Times.

Specifically, China will continue to move forward its plan to reduce taxes and fees for companies, keep sufficient liquidity, speed up investment in infrastructure and other areas.

China will also step up support for companies in hiring, expand help for new graduates in finding jobs and increase professional training programs.

China will also provide "targeted support" for small- and medium-sized companies that are struggling, Meng said, noting that the Chinese economy will be able to deal with external challenges, if the policies are implemented and confidence is enhanced.

The Chinese economy has shown strong resilience so far this year, growing at a better-than-expected rate of 6.4 per cent in the first quarter of the year. However, recent data suggests downward pressure persists.

In April, consumer goods sales growth slowed to 7.2 per cent year-on-year from 8.7 per cent in March, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. Growth in total fixed-asset investment also slowed to 6.1 per cent in the first four months of 2019 from 6.3 per cent in the January-March period.

The continued escalation in the trade war between China and the US, which has raised the stakes by threatening more tariffs on Chinese goods and banning Chinese telecom firm Huawei, also sparked some concerns over the Chinese economy.

On Friday, Chinese stocks closed significantly lower, with the Shanghai Composite Index down 2.48 per cent and the Shenzhen Component Index down 3.15 per cent.

But Chinese officials said the world's second-largest economy still has great potential and growth will be stable.

"The Chinese economy has shown sufficient resilience, massive potential and robust vitality," Meng said.

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