China stepped up efforts curb financial risk, cutting its budget deficit target for the first time since 2012, and setting a growth target similar to last year’s, but with an important difference.
To break down the numbers from the annual work report, CGTN’s Wang Guan explains.
This year’s growth target comes with a subtle difference, though.
Last year, the GDP growth target was also about 6.5 percent, but it included language that said China will ” aim for a faster pace if possible”.
Those words are absent from this year’s report.The government also lowered its deficit target from 3 percent to 2.6 percent of GDP.
Analysts said these are signals China wants to continue economic restructuring, while controlling economic risk posed by debt. The government said it also wants to control inflation.
The work report dropped China’s target for M2 money supply growth, saying it’s expected to expand at similar pace to last year’s.
Government officials also said prudent monetary policy will remain neutral this year-but liquidity will be at a reasonable and stable level.
The item that generated some of the biggest buzz was taxes.
In the report, a key proposal is lifting the thresholds for personal income taxes. Beijing said it will give a combined 800 billion yuan tax cut for businesses and individuals.
Currently, those who make more than 3,500 RMB or $550, or more, a month pay taxes. Some lawmakers are suggesting a higher threshold for taxes that would start at 5,000 RMB ($787), instead. Some are suggesting a threshold that is even higher still-at 10,000 RMB.
This tax reform would save a Chinese person making 9,000 RMB ($1,417)around 200 yuan-or $32 a month.
The government intends to cut fees, too. Beijing said it will reduce Internet data roaming charges, and reduce mobile phone data costs by 30 percent.
This would be accompanied by an expansion of free public WiFi spots. Broadband charges will also be lowered.
Import tariffs on foreign vehicles and some consumer goods will be cut as well.
Beijing said it will “steadily push forward” legislation on property tax to contain real estate bubbles.
The fight aginst pollution and climate change is another priority. Spending to curb pollution will rise 19 percent to 40.5 billion.
The government set a new goal of cutting steel production by 30 million more tons-and coal production by 150 million tons. Key pollutants such as sulfur dioxide will be reduced 3 percent.
China will enforce a series of ban on importing waste and recycled products from other countries. The tax rebate for purchasing clean energy powered cars will be extended for three more years.