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Weekly policy snapshot of Chinese economy

Updated: Apr 7,2019 10:00 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — The following are the key moves taken by policymakers in the past week to enhance China’s economic strength and sustainability:

— Milestone inclusion of Chinese bonds

China’s yuan-denominated bonds were added to the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index on April 1, a move to further expand opening-up of the country’s financial market.

A total of 356 government and policy bank bonds have been added into the index over the next 20 months, making Chinese bonds the fourth largest currency component, following the US dollar, euro and Japanese yen, after their full inclusion.

When fully implemented, China will be approximately 6.06 percent of the index, using data as of Jan 31 this year.

— Cut of rail freight fees

China started to lower rail freight fees on April 1 to support the real economy.

Fee cuts are expected to amount to about 6 billion yuan (around $893 million) per year.

The country also announced plans to lower value added tax for rail freight on April 1.

— Building Macao’s neighbor district into international tourism island

China will develop the Hengqin district in southern Guangdong province into an international tourism island in its efforts to further integrate the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Hengqin, located on an island, is next door to Macao. The 106.46-square-km region is expected to become a global tourism destination with a modern industrial system, green ecosystem and smart services.

A free trade pilot zone will also be promoted in the region.

— Cut of tax rates for inbound baggage, postal articles

China will cut the tariff rates for baggage brought by individuals and articles mailed into the country starting April 9 to expand imports and consumption.

The tax rate on products including food and medicine will be lowered from 15 percent to 13 percent, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

The rate for commodities including textiles and electric appliances will be cut from 25 percent to 20 percent.

— Revisions of laws, regulations related to foreign investment law

China will amend laws and supporting regulations and policies to ensure the implementation of the foreign investment law.

Draft amendments for administrative licensing law, trademark law, construction law and electronic signature law were passed on April 3 at a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

It was also decided at the meeting to submit the draft amendments to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, for deliberation, according to a statement after the meeting.

— Release of 13 new professions

China has released 13 new professions in order to keep pace with economic and technological development, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

The 13 new professions, jointly released by the ministry, State Administration for Market Regulation and National Bureau of Statistics, include artificial intelligence (AI) technicians, Internet of Things (IOT) technicians, big data technicians, cloud computing technicians, electronic sports specialists, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) pilots, agricultural managers, industrial robot system operators, among others.

As the Chinese economy is shifting from high-speed growth to high-quality development, new jobs requiring new skills and knowledge have appeared in various industries attracting a relatively stable number of workers.

— Cut of social insurance contributions of businesses

China expects to slash the social insurance contributions of enterprises by over 300 billion yuan this year, said You Jun, vice-minister of human resources and social security, at a press conference on April 4.

The incentive is part of China’s efforts to reduce the tax burden and social insurance contribution of businesses by nearly 2 trillion yuan in 2019.

Employers will see at least 190 billion yuan less paid in basic aged-care insurance contributions, and 110 billion yuan in unemployment insurance and work injury compensation insurance premiums, he said, adding that private enterprises as well as small and micro businesses were among the top beneficiaries.