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China to Intensify Fiscal, Financial Support to Tide Businesses Over Difficulties
  ·  2020-04-15  ·   Source: Xinhua News Agency

China will make further efforts to ensure the full delivery of all support policies introduced this year, the State Council's executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on April 14.

The meeting stressed efforts to better leverage the country's proactive fiscal policy, and scale up financial support for the real economy to help businesses, especially the smaller ones, to overcome the difficulties.

The premier required that both fiscal and financial measures be harnessed and such policies as tax and fee cuts, financial support and assistance to companies for maintaining payrolls be fully delivered to help smaller firms.

"The support measures we have rolled out since the start of this year are adequate and robust. What is crucial is to ensure their full delivery," Li said.

The meeting took stock of the policy measures rolled out this year by the Chinese Government to boost containment supplies, support businesses, and restore economic activities.

In terms of tax and fee cuts, the value-added tax (VAT) relief was introduced for micro and small-sized enterprises and self-employed businesses. The export tax rebate rate for selected products was raised, while the loss carry-forward period for companies in transportation and hospitality sectors was extended.

Meanwhile, employers' social insurance contributions were temporarily lowered or waived, and payments to the housing provident fund were deferred. Roads and expressways were made toll-free, and electricity and gas rates for enterprises were cut.

These measures, together with the carry-over effect of last year's tax and fee reductions, are expected to lower business costs by 1.6 trillion yuan ($227 billion).

In addition, part of the 2020 quota of local government special bonds totaling 1.29 trillion yuan ($183 billion) was allocated in advance.

In terms of financial support, the three cuts in the required reserve ratio, and re-lending and re-discount provided financial institutions with 3.55 trillion yuan ($503.9 billion) of low-cost capital to issue low-interest loans to businesses. As of the end of March, some 880 billion yuan ($124.91 billion) of principal and interest payments of corporate loans has been deferred.

"Tax and fee cuts are widely welcomed by the micro, small and medium-sized companies, yet they are still confronted with the pressing difficulty of high rents and labor costs," Li said.

"Sub-national governments have taken some steps to help. Relevant departments should also swiftly work out measures to support businesses in retaining workers, otherwise employment will be directly affected," he added.

The meeting called for building on the previous support measures to further intensify the proactive fiscal policy through a multi-pronged approach. It also urged expeditious allocation of an additional amount of local government special bonds in advance upon completing the required procedures.

More steps will be considered to strengthen the role of the financial sector in supporting the real economy, especially the smaller businesses.

Support will be extended to manufacturing and service-providing companies to lower their renting and hiring costs. The subsistence needs of people living in difficulty will be better met.

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