China cuts 2019 defense budget hike by 0

08 March, 2019, 10:28 | Author: Erin Carter
  • China's economy has been hit hard by the trade war

With this year's increase, China's defence spending moved closer to the Dollars 200 billion mark, making it the highest spender on defence after the United States.

Recent economic data point to the difficulties China faces, with growth in the last three months of 2018 clocking in at 6.4 per cent.

Li also made no mention of the "Made in China 2025" technology blueprint, under which China has been attempting to create global leaders in advanced technologies at the state's initiative.

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.

According to the plan, Chinese inflation will accelerate to about 3 percent this year from 2.1 percent in 2018.

Boasting the world's largest army, China's military spending is second only to the United States, which budgeted $716 billion for defence in 2019.

Also on Tuesday, China's state planner said it would continue to deal with debt risks in an orderly way, resolving issues with shadow banking and local government debt without destabilising economic growth.

In recent weeks, the United States and China appear to have moved closer to a trade deal that would roll back U.S. tariffs on at least US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Li set this year's growth target at 6 to 6.5 percent.

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China's 2019 defense spending will rise 7.5 percent from 2018, according to a budget report issued at the opening of the country's annual meeting of parliament on Tuesday, a slower rate than past year but still outpacing the economic growth target.

In terms of monetary policy, Lee said the government will keep it neither too tight nor too loose, and will not resort to a flood of stimulus while growth in M2 money supply and total social financing this year will be in line with nominal GDP growth.

"We must be fully prepared for a tough struggle", he said.

Smaller firms can expect to have easier access to funds as the premier said that China aims to increase lending to them by large commercial banks by more than 30% this year.

China-U.S. economic and trade friction, in particular, "had an adverse effect on the production and business operations of some companies and on market expectations", said Li, who delivered a work report mapping out policy direction for 2019.

The Work Report is a fixture of the Two Sessions, which in most years is China's biggest political event. This year, Li also did not announce any targets for growth in retail sales or fixed asset investment. A year since removing any legal barrier to remaining China's leader for life, Xi Jinping appears firmly in charge, despite a slowing economy, an ongoing trade war with the us and rumbles of discontent over his concentration of power.

Li's comments come, somewhat counterintuitively, as Beijing and Washington look to be close to securing a deal on trade after weeks of negotiations between senior figures in both nations.

A deal to end the trade war with the USA is on the table but the final outcome remains uncertain.

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