Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday delivered a government work report to lawmakers at the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) opened at the Great Hall of the People here.The Chinese Premier reviewed the government’s work for the past year particularly in the domain of economic development, poverty relief efforts, opening up achievements, environment protection and army building.
He said that China’s gross domestic product (GDP) has risen from 54 trillion to 82.7 trillion yuan, registering an average annual growth of 7.1 percent.
The government has extended the value added tax (VAT) system to all sectors, replacing the 66-year-old business tax scheme. All in all, our market entities have seen savings of more than three trillion yuan.The performance of SOEs has been greatly improved, with profits last year growing by 23.5 percent.
On foreign investment, the country has intensified efforts to attract talents, and the number of foreign experts working in China has grown by 40 percent, he added.
Talking about people’s livelihood, Li noted that living standards have been continuously improving, saying that more than 68 million people have been lifted out of poverty.
People’s life expectancy in China has reached 76.7 years while social pension schemes for the elderly now cover more than 900 million people, and basic health insurance plans cover 1.35 billion people, forming the largest social safety net in the world.
Over the past five years, China has committed to opening-up and focused on promoting win-win cooperation with other countries. The premier listed a series of China’s economic accomplishments in recent years, including establishing 11 pilot free trade zones. In its effort to reduce air pollution, China has achieved a drop of over 30 percent in the average density of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in key areas in the past five years. Around 71 percent of coal-fired power plants now achieve ultra-low emissions while the country has improved its energy mix, cutting the share of coal consumption by 8.1 percentage points and increasing the share of clean energy consumption by 6.3 percentage points. In addition, China has taken over 20 million vehicles with high emissions off the roads.
About army building, he informed that China has basically completed the task of reducing the armed forces by 300,000 troops.
Over the past five years, China has embarked on a new stage in strengthening and energizing the armed forces, he added. While laying out the country’s overall requirements and policy direction for economic and social development in 2018, he said that the government has set the projected targets for development this year including 6.5 percent GDP growth and around three percent increase in CPI. He said that over 11 million new urban jobs will be created while there will be a steady rise in import and export volumes and a basic equilibrium in the balance of payments.
Li Keqiang also put forward proposals for the work of the government in this year and called for speeding up work to build China into a leader in manufacturing and taking steps in all sectors to improve quality of domestically made goods. “China will encourage the spirit of craftsmanship, and ignite a revolution in the quality of Chinese-made goods,” he added. He said that China will continue to implement the principle of ”One Country, Two Systems,” and the principles and policies on the work related to Taiwan, uphold the one-China principle, and promote the peaceful growth of cross-Strait relations on the basis of the 1992 Consensus.