China hikes defence budget by 7.5% to $177.61 billion

08 March, 2019, 10:26 | Author: Gerard Cortez
  • China to slash taxes, boost lending to shore up slowing economy

China's economy outperformed the official 2018 goal of "around 6.5 percent" by expanding 6.6 percent. It is also the lowest number in the 15 years the survey has been produced, Hurun said.

He told the 3,000 delegates at the congress that China would deliver almost 2 trillion yuan ($298bn) of cuts in taxes and other company fees.

"Maintaining a proper increase in the national defense budget is necessary to consolidate the country's safety and to tailor related changes to our military", Zhang said.

The website linked the potential slowdown to Chinese officials' efforts to reduce debt risks, preserve the environment and combat poverty.

China also said it will increase military spending by 7.5 percent this year to 1.19 trillion yuan ($177 billion), nearly four times that of Japan, but the budget expansion decelerated from the 8.1 percent gain in 2018.

Li also warned at the congress meeting that the trade war with the USA has had a negative impact on business activities in China.

At a press conference ahead of the parliamentary session, National People's Congress spokesman Zhang Yesui pointed out that China's defence spending has maintained single-digit growth since 2016, and accounted for 1.3 per cent of GDP a year ago, while the defence budgets of other major developed countries took up 2 per cent or more.

China, which increased its defence budget in double digits till 2015, has been lowering it to single digit hikes since 2016.

China announced Tuesday a 7.5 percent increase in military spending in 2019, lower than previous year as the country faces an economic slowdown, but still likely to make Asian neighbours nervous.

S. Korea's Moon urges new US-North denuclearisation talks
But the president never specifically but the blame on Kim, which many lawmakers and Warmbier's family said the blame is to fall. He also said the president acted irresponsibly with regard to North Korea's nuclear arsenal.

To support private and smaller firms, Beijing will step up targeted cuts in the reserve requirement ratio for smaller and medium-sized banks with an aim to boost lending to small companies by large banks by more than 30 percent, Li said.

The Work Report is a fixture of the Two Sessions, which in most years is China's biggest political event.

Nevertheless, the growth target sets a barometer for China's economic performance not only to outside observers and investors, but also to regional governments and lenders. This year, Li also did not announce any targets for growth in retail sales or fixed asset investment.

A balance will be struck between stabilising economic growth and fending off risks, it said.

Meanwhile, US-China trade talks are ongoing and Beijing's work report published on Tuesday stresses the government's commitment to promoting the negotiations and safeguarding economic globalisation and free trade.

Since entering a trade war with the United States, where issues of emerging technology and protectionism of high-tech industries has been a key point of contention, Chinese leaders and media have downplayed Made in China 2025.

Separately, China's top banking regulator said on Tuesday Beijing could "absolutely" reach an agreement with the United States on opening up its financial sector.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday he thought both nations were "on the cusp" of a deal to end their trade war.

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