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China to ensure steady economic, social progress through stability in 6 key areas

Zhang Yue
Updated: March 3, 2020 23:42

China will refine the coordination mechanisms for stable performance in six key areas, namely, employment, finance, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment, and market expectations, to promote both effective outbreak response and steady economic and social progress, it was decided at the State Council's executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on March 3.

The Chinese government attaches great importance to parallel progress in epidemic control and economic and social development. General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed the imperative to keep stability in the six key areas and make policy adjustments with intensified efforts. Premier Li Keqiang also underlined the need to ensure both effective outbreak response and stability in the six key areas.

"The coordination mechanisms for stable performance in the six key areas have, since their launch, played an important role in forging inter-agency synergy to keep major economic indicators within the proper range. This year we may face even greater challenges, hence there is a higher need to refine these mechanisms to make our work across the six areas better targeted,"Premier Li said.

The meeting underlined the need to advance epidemic control and economic and social development in parallel. It urged targeted steps in ensuring stability in the six key areas to more effectively manage the impact of the outbreak on the economy.

Inter-agency coordination on macroeconomic policies, foreign trade and investment, and financial stability must be fully leveraged to formulate strong and effective response measures to boost the internal dynamism of the economy and keep major economic indicators within the proper range for the whole year.

"The most pressing task now is to manage the impact of the epidemic. Maintaining stability in the six key areas will help keep capital flowing and the industrial chain running, and contribute to economic performance within the proper range," Premier Li said.

The meeting also adopted a host of policies for facilitating the restart of business activities in the logistics sector, including transportation, shipment and express delivery services, to provide a strong underpinning for epidemic control, help smooth the flow of economic activity, and meet people's daily needs.

The meeting called for following the region-specific, tiered and targeted approach to encourage businesses to resume operations in an orderly way. Any arbitrary requirements on the resumption of work must be lifted. Face masks and other protective gear should be made available through coordination. Sub-national authorities are required to provide equal convenience for both postal and courier services providers under all types of ownership.

"A major obstacle in current outbreak response and production resumption lies in logistics. Undue restrictions should be removed as quickly as possible. Otherwise, the operation of both industrial and supply chains will be hampered,"Premier Li said.

Further tax and fee cuts will be made to logistics-related services. Insurance companies will be encouraged to lower or exempt premiums for commercial vehicles, ships and aircraft whose operations are suspended during the outbreak, by way of extension of insurance period and deduction of policy renewal fees.

For toll-road operators encountering difficulty in repaying their financial debts as a result of the toll-free pass policy, financial institutions will be guided toward providing support through deferring interest payment, extending principal repayment, and rolling over maturing loans.

"It is important to further cut costs for logistics companies, deferring or exempting related payments as needed. Such steps should also enable truck and taxi drivers to get tangible benefits," Premier Li said.

"We must enhance preparedness in terms of policies and projects, do everything we can to keep economic development and employment stable, and work hard to meet this year's targets for economic and social development."