Looking back at the past year, we can see that our achievements did not come easily. China also faced a profound change in its external environment in 2018.
Setbacks in economic globalization, challenges to multilateralism, shocks in the international financial market, and especially the China-US economic and trade frictions, had an adverse effect on the production and business operations of some companies as well as on market expectations.
China faced severe challenges caused by the growing pains of economic transformation.
An interlacing of old and new issues and a combination of cyclical and structural problems brought changes in what was a generally stable economic performance, some of which caused concern.
Moreover, China was facing a complicated terrain of increasing dilemmas, with multiple targets to attain, such as ensuring stable growth and preventing risks, as well as multiple tasks to complete, like promoting economic and social development.
The country also had multiple relationships to handle, including that between short-term and long-term interests, while the difficulty of making policy choices and moving work forward increased markedly.
Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.6 percent, exceeding 90 trillion yuan.
Consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.1 percent.
A basic equilibrium in the balance of payments was maintained.
China created 13.61 million new jobs.
The service sector’s contribution to growth approached 60%.
Last year, China cut about 1.3 trillion yuan in taxes and fees.
China brought down average tariff from 9.8% to 7.5%.
China has included 17 cancer drugs on the medical insurance list. Patients can be expected to purchase these anti-cancer drugs at lower prices.
The country's "three tough battles" against major risks, poverty and pollution got off to a good start in 2018.
China has forestalled and defused major risks. The macro-economic leverage ratio trended toward a stable level, while the financial sector was generally stable.
Precision poverty alleviation made significant progress, with the poor population in rural areas reduced by 13.86 million, including 2.8 million people assisted through relocation from inhospitable areas.
Pollution prevention and control was strengthened, and PM2.5 levels continued to fall. Marked achievements were made in ecological conservation.
China set its GDP growth target for this year at between 6 percent and 6.5 percent.
China will raise its fiscal deficit target to 2.76 trillion yuan, or 2.8 percent of GDP, this year from 2.6 percent in 2018.
Total government expenditure is budgeted at over 23 trillion yuan, up by 6.5 percent from last year.
China aims to create over 11 million new urban jobs. The surveyed urban unemployment rate is projected to stay around 5.5 percent, and the registered urban unemployment rate within 4.5 percent.
The country will continue to pursue a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy.
The country will implement an employment-first policy.
China aims to maintain a consumer inflation level of around 3 percent.
The country will lift at least 10 million people out of poverty this year.
China's energy consumed per 10,000 yuan of its gross domestic product (GDP)will fall 3 percent.
China will balance maintaining stable growth and guarding against risks to sustain healthy economic development in 2019.
The above projected targets are ambitious but realistic—they represent our aim of promoting high-quality development, are in keeping with the current realities of China's development, and are aligned with the goal of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respect.
We will reduce the current value-added tax rate of 16 percent for manufacturing and other industries to 13 percent, and lower the rate for such industries as transportation and construction from 10 percent to 9 percent.
We will lower the share borne by employers for urban workers' basic aged-care insurance, and localities may cut contributions down to 16 percent.
A vocational skills training initiative will be implemented with 100 billion yuan from the surplus in unemployment insurance funds allocated to provide training for the 15 million targeted attendees, helping job seekers to upgrade skills or switch jobs or industries.
We will work to ensure employment for key groups such as college graduates, demobilized soldiers and migrant workers.
We will further shorten the negative list on market entry.
We will deepen market-orientated reforms in the electric power section, overrode surcharges on electricity prices, lower electricity costs in manufacturing and cut the average electricity price for general industrial and financial businesses by another 10 percent.
This year, average broadband service rates for small and medium enterprises will be lowered by another 15 percent, and average rates for mobile internet services will be further cut by more than 20 percent.
We will create industrial internet platforms and expand Intelligent Plus initiatives to facilitate transformation and upgradation of manufacturing sector.
We will strengthen intellectual property (IP) protection across the board, improve the system of punitive compensation for IP infringements, and promote invention and creation and their industrial application.
We will take significant steps to develop the elderly care sector, especially community services. We will provide support to institutions offering services in communities, like day care, rehabilitation, assisted meals and assisted mobility, by using measures such as tax reductions, fee cuts and exemptions, funding support, and reduced charges for water, electricity, gas and heating.
We will expand effective investment, accelerating the implementation of a number of key projects. 800 billion yuan will be invested in railway construction, 1.8 trillion yuan in road construction and waterway projects. Work will start on a number of major water conservancy projects and the planning and construction of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway will be sped up.
We will continue to increase the size of special enrollment quotas in key universities for students from rural and poor areas.
We will improve agriculture, particularly grain production.
We will make solid steps to upgrade rural infrastructure.
We will also deepen the comprehensive rural reforms.
To address unbalance and insufficient development, we will reform and improve relevant mechanism and policies to enable regions to complement each other with their respective strengths and promote integrated urban and rural development.
In pursuing integrated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, we will reduce the noncapital functions in Beijing and construct the Xiongan New Area according to high standards.
New urbanization should be people-centered, we need be better at conducting flexible governance and providing thoughtful and precise public services to make our cities more livable, and give them a more inclusive and welcoming feel.
We will pursue both high-quality development and environmental protection by reforming and refining relevant systems. Green development is a critical element of modernizing an economy and a fundamental solution to pollution.
This year, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions will be cut by three percent, and there will be a continuous decline in PM2.5 density in key areas. Air pollution in and around the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, in the Yangtze River Delta, and in the Fenhe-Weihe River Plain area will be further curbed.
We will focus on resolving acute problems at key links, deepen relevant reforms, make our mechanisms and systems better able to promote high-quality development, and fully unlock market dynamism and social creativity
We will accelerate State capital and SOE reforms. We will strengthen regulation of State assets, continue to conduct trials in reform State capital establishments and management companies so as to maintain and increase value of State assets
We will promote reform efforts to clearly define the respective fiscal powers and expenditure responsibilities of central and local governments.
We will open more sectors and improve the process of opening-up. We will continue to promote opening-up based on flows of goods and factors of production, and give greater emphasis to opening-up based on rules and related institutions.
We will continue to push forward China-US trade negotiations. We is committed to mutually beneficial cooperation and aiming to settle trade disputes through discussions in an equal manner.
We will keep government budgetary spending on education above 4% of GDP.
We will continue to increase basic medical insurance and serious disease insurance protection for rural and non-working urban residents.
We will continue to increase the basic retirement pension, urban and rural subsistence allowances, and special assistance.