China takes steps to boost economic growth
Major transport system on Yangtze River part of state plans to kick-start economy
Qingdao port, Shandong province: the People’s Bank of China will encourage banks to lend more to exporters to boost shipments. photograph: china stringer network/reuters
China’s economy continues to expand, but at a slower rate than previously – GDP rose 7.4 per cent in the first quarter, year on year, the slowest rate since 2012 and down from 7.7 per cent in the previous quarter. The economy is expected to expand by 7.3 per cent this year, which would be the lowest since 1990.
To give the economy a boost, China has announced a series of new steps, including tax cuts, the construction of a multi-tier transport system, involving railway, highway, waterways and aviation-network construction, in the Yangtze river basin, part of economic belt along the waterway, and expanding financing for exporters.
The government is also cutting some utility companies’ taxes by a total of about 24 billion yuan (€2.85 billion) a year, the state council, China’s cabinet, said in a statement after a meeting which was presided over by premier Li Keqiang. He is tasked with shepherding growth in the world’s second largest economy.
The plans for a “golden waterway” involve dredging the 6,300-kilometre long Yangtze, which links Shanghai and the rich eastern seaboard to the poorer regions inland and in western China, and increasing the navigation capacity of the Three Gorges Dam, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The Yangtze is the world’s third largest in terms of length and water volume, and the combined GDP of the 11 provinces and municipalities along the river amounted to 2.6 trillion yuan (€310 billion) last year, some 41.2 per cent of the national total.
China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, said in a separate statement that it would encourage banks to lend more to exporters to boost shipments.
The PBoC also reiterated plans to promote development of direct trading between the yuan and other currencies.