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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang Calls for Small Business Help

Premier says world’s second-largest economy needs cross-cyclical adjustments, urging tax cuts and better funding

Li Keqiang is expected to bow out aftertwo terms as Premier.
Premier Li Keqiang is widely perceived to have seen his role diminished under Xi but has been a source of comfort to investors who view him as a moderate voice amid Xi's shift towards state-driven economic management. File photo: Reuters.


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has warned of severe downward pressures on the country’s economy, urging tax cuts and better funding access for small businesses.

The comments by Li Keqiang are among the most direct reactions to the current slowdown in China, driven by the depressed housing market and the country’s troubled real estate developers.

Li said that the Chinese economy needed cross-cyclical adjustments, noting that the recent manufacturing purchasing managers index dipped below 50, signalling contraction, and recent macroeconomic data have fallen short of expectations.

“We want to work with all countries to fight the pandemic and promote economic recovery,” Li told a World Economic Forum gathering. “We need to keep industry and supply chains stable, and we need to enhance coordination of macro policies.”

The comments are the latest in a series of downbeat observations by the Chinese premier. In October, Li urged China to improve its energy self-sufficiency, pointing out that supply shortages present the largest threat to China’s energy security.

Li’s instructions came after regions across the country grapple with power shortages and blackouts, reflecting the struggle to balance green goals with energy security.

He later said that China has ample tools to cope with economic challenges despite slowing growth, and the government is confident of achieving its full-year development goals.

The World Economic Forum convened more than 300 business leaders from over 40 countries for what it termed a “special dialogue” with Li.


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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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