BEIJING (AP) — Chinese leaders on Friday promised tax cuts and more help to entrepreneurs as Beijing tries to reverse a deepening slowdown and resolve a tariff battle with Washington.
A planning meeting led by President Xi Jinping also called for reforms to state industry and to reduce financial risks in the world’s second-largest economy, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
Xinhua gave no indication whether Beijing is changing strategies for state-led industry development that Washington and other trading partners complain violate its market-opening obligations.
Xi’s government is trying to shore up cooling economic growth and avoid politically dangerous job losses without reigniting a rise in debt levels that economists warn are dangerously high.
The 2019 economic plan promises tax cuts and to “solve the difficulty in financing private enterprises,” according to Xinhua.
The announcement follows a decline in economic growth to a post-global crisis low of 6.5 percent over a year earlier in the latest quarter. Consumer demand is weakening and auto sales have contracted for the past four months.
The slowdown, combined with Beijing’s fight with President Donald Trump, has fed gloom among companies, consumers and investors. China’s stock market is on track to end this year down 25 percent.
Ahead of this week’s planning meeting, the ruling Communist Party’s Politburo called Dec. 13 for efforts to stabilize employment, finance, trade and investment and to “boost market sentiment.”
Chinese leaders have been trying to shore up confidence among entrepreneurs who generate China’s new jobs and wealth amid complaints Beijing is dragging its feet on economic reforms and reining in the dominance of state industry.
Xi said in a Nov. 1 speech to an audience of entrepreneurs that the party needs to create conditions to “let the private economy create vitality.”
This week’s meeting called for accelerating “manufacturing technology transformation,” according to another outlet, Sina.com.