CHINA SCRAPS GROWTH TAR­GET

FU­TURE TENSE Coun­try’s econ­omy shrank 6.8% in first quar­ter of 2020 com­pared with a year ear­lier

Hindustan Times (Ranchi) - - Front Page - Su­tirtho Pa­tra­nobis spa­tra­nobis@htlive.com ■

BEI­JING/ SHANG­HAI: For the first time, China has de­cided against of­fi­cially set­ting a GDP growth tar­get, tak­ing into ac­count the eco­nomic un­cer­tain­ties caused by the coron­avirus pan­demic. The de­ci­sion was made known in a govern­ment work re­port re­leased by the coun­try’s Premier Li Ke­qiang on Fri­day. Li read out the re­port at the launch of the an­nual sum­mit of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress (NPC) - China’s par­lia­ment - in Bei­jing on Fri­day, pledg­ing govern­ment sup­port to help the pan­demic-hit econ­omy and set­ting out broad eco­nomic goals for the rest of the year.

BEI­JING: For the first time, China has de­cided against of­fi­cially set­ting a GDP growth tar­get, tak­ing into ac­count the eco­nomic un­cer­tain­ties caused by the coron­avirus pan­demic.

The de­ci­sion was made known in a govern­ment work re­port re­leased by the coun­try’s Premier Li Ke­qiang on Fri­day.

Li read out the re­port at the launch of the an­nual sum­mit of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress (NPC) - China’s par­lia­ment - in Bei­jing on Fri­day, pledg­ing govern­ment sup­port to help the pan­demic-hit econ­omy and set­ting out broad eco­nomic goals for the rest of the year.

China’s econ­omy shrank 6.8% in the first quar­ter of 2020 com­pared with a year ear­lier, as the coron­avirus spread from the cen­tral Chi­nese city of Wuhan, the cap­i­tal of Hubei prov­ince, where it emerged late last year.

“We have not set a spe­cific tar­get for eco­nomic growth this year. This is be­cause our coun­try will face some fac­tors that are dif­fi­cult to pre­dict in its devel­op­ment, due to the great un­cer­tainty re­gard­ing the Covid-19 pan­demic and the world eco­nomic and trade en­vi­ron­ment,” Li was quoted as say­ing by of­fi­cial me­dia while read­ing out the work re­port at the Great Hall of the Peo­ple on Fri­day morn­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, China is tar­get­ing a 2020 bud­get deficit of at least 3.6% of the GDP, above last year’s 2.8%, and fixed the quota on lo­cal govern­ment spe­cial bond is­suance at 3.75 tril­lion yuan ($527 bil­lion), up from 2.15 tril­lion yuan.

In a draft bud­get re­port sub­mit­ted to the NPC, the govern­ment set a 6.6% growth rate for its de­fence bud­get, lower than the 7.5% rise in 2019, an out­lay that’s closely fol­lowed glob­ally.

The pro­posed de­fence bud­get stands at 1.268tn yuan ($178bn), ac­cord­ing to the draft bud­get.

WILD AN­I­MAL TRADE TO IN­VITE PUN­ISH­MENTS

The Chi­nese govern­ment has de­cided that it will se­verely pun­ish the il­le­gal hunt­ing and trad­ing of wild animals, it said in its govern­ment work re­port that was is­sued on Fri­day.

China is look­ing to im­ple­ment a na­tion­wide ban im­posed in Jan­uary as a re­sult of the coron­avirus out­break.

The Covid-19 pan­demic has been blamed on a seafood mar­ket in Wuhan that is be­lieved to have sold wild animals such as bats and pan­golins, and China has promised new leg­is­la­tion to make the ban per­ma­nent.

Wuhan, Shang­hai and sev­eral other cities in the coun­try have al­ready banned wild an­i­mal con­sump­tion, and sev­eral prov­inces have also is­sued ac­tion plans to curb hunt­ing, breed­ing and traf­fick­ing.

AFP

■ Sol­diers of the Peo­ple's Lib­er­a­tion Army march next to the en­trance to the For­bid­den City dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony of the Chi­nese Peo­ple's Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence in Bei­jing on Thurs­day.

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