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UPDATED: December 26, 2011 NO. 52 DECEMBER 29, 2011
Top 10 Economic Events

A worker uses an automatic welding machine in a factory in Zouping, Shandong Province (XINHUA)

Slower Economic Growth

China's economy grew 9.1 percent in the third quarter of this year, tapering off from 9.7 percent in the first quarter and 9.5 in the second. The slowdown is a result of voluntary quality-oriented growth moderation and came along with the ease of inflation pressures. The consumer price index (CPI) fell to 5.5 percent in November, from July's peak of 6.5 percent.

Exports, which used to be the growth engine, continued losing steam. In November, exports totaled $174.46, with a year-on-year increase of 13.8 percent, the slowest growth since February.

Containers at Shanghai Waigaoqiao cargo port (CHEN FEI)

Tenth Anniversary of WTO Entry

December 11, 2011 marked the 10th anniversary of China's entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO). China became the WTO's 143rd member on December 11, 2001.

China's total volume of exports and imports ranked second in the world in 2010, up from sixth in 2001, becoming the world's second largest importer and the biggest exporter.

Total tariff levels decreased from 15.3 percent to 9.8 percent during the past decade, reaching and exceeding the WTO's requirement for developing countries.

China opened 100 service trade departments, close to the level of developed countries.

It has also amended its laws and regulations in accordance with its WTO commitments. The Central Government has cleared more than 2,300 laws and regulations as well as department rules. Local governments have cleared more than 190,000 local rules and regulations.

Lower Income Tax

The amended individual income tax law, effective on September 1, raised the monthly tax exemption threshold from 2,000 yuan ($313) to 3,500 yuan ($547). It also lowered the minimum tax rate from 5 percent to 3 percent for people whose monthly taxable incomes are between 3,500 yuan and 4,500 yuan ($703).

Under the new amendment, about 7.7 percent of wage earners will have to pay taxes, down from the previous 28 percent. The number of income tax payers will be reduced from 84 million to 24 million.

By readjusting the income tax rate structure, the government will alleviate tax burdens for the medium and low-income population and increase taxes on high-income individuals, also in compensation to the rising cost of living caused by inflation.

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