China makes conciliatory gesture to U.S. amid trade war

A military band plays the national anthem during the closing session of the National People's Congress in Beijing's Great Hall of the People on Friday

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrive for the closing session of the National People's Congress in Beijing's Great hall of the People on Friday, March 15, 2019.

Replying to a question on perceptions that Beijing has not taken practical action to back-up its talk of greater reform and opening, and that the new law was accelerated mostly as a response to USA pressure, Mr Li said that opening up "is China's fundamental state policy".

"Russia and China should take all the necessary measures to chiefly provide a stable volume of bilateral trade of $100 billion and to double it in the future", Li Keqiang said.

He made the remarks at a press conference in Beijing after the conclusion of the annual national legislative session. Economic growth a year ago fell to a three-decade low of 6.6 percent.

The government should take more measures to encourage private investment to develop the services, but effective supervision is needed to ensure such services are safe, Li added.

China has announced that it will cut a total of two trillion yuan (USD 297.5 billion) in taxes and corporate pension payments this year to ease financial pressure on enterprises.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrives for a press conference after the closing session of the National People's Congress in Beijing's Great Hall of the P

In an attempt to boost exports by bolstering economic cooperation with its neighboring countries, Li said China will make efforts to realize a free trade agreement with Japan and South Korea, warning against rising protectionism across the globe. China's normally steady unemployment rate rose to 5.3 percent in February, from 4.9 percent in December.

China is still negotiating with the United States to resolve their trade frictions, Li said, adding both sides have far more shared interests than conflicts, and it would be "unrealistic" to decouple the world's two largest economies.

The law will offer better legal support to the protection and attraction of foreign investment, as well as regulate government behaviours, Li said.

On Friday, China's parliament approved a new foreign investment law that promises to create a transparent environment for foreign firms, though there is scepticism about its enforceability.

The supply of nursing services for the elderly and infants in China is insufficient and can not meet demand, and this situation deserves the highest attention, Li said.

Even if we accelerate building elderly nursing homes and multi-functional kindergartens, the supply shortage may not be completely eased due to the rapid population ageing in China, he said. The talks and tensions stretch far beyond trade and tariffs.

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