Via China Daily

A college graduate attends an online job interview. [Photo/Xinhua]

State Council highlights six priorities as nation tackles impact of coronavirus

China will intensify policy support to keep employment stable and safeguard people’s livelihoods, the State Council’s executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Wednesday.

Those at the meeting highlighted the need to advance work in what were identified as the “six priorities” of safeguarding employment, people’s livelihoods, the development of market entities, food and energy security, the stable operation of industrial and supply chains, and the smooth functioning of society.

These efforts are designed to ensure stability in six key areas-employment, finance, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment and market expectations, as well as maintaining solid economic fundamentals.

The meeting reviewed the targeted policy measures introduced in recent weeks to advance the resumption of work and production and to help companies cope with difficulties caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The measures that have been taken include VAT relief for small businesses; extending the loss carry-forward period from five years to eight years for sectors severely hit by COVID-19, providing 2.85 trillion yuan ($401.3 billion) of low-cost lending for smaller businesses, and deferring over 1 trillion yuan of principal or interest payments for more than 1.1 million micro, small and medium-sized businesses.

The meeting urged the full implementation of all policies introduced to help businesses overcome outbreak-related difficulties.

Reviewing the progress made so far, Li said that “the support policies introduced earlier are adequate. In other words, our policy response is appropriate in its intensity and prompt in timing.

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“It will still take some time for industries and the market to recover, and there is also the factor of the impact from the global economic situation. These should inform our decisions on the next-step policies,” Li said.

“We must effectively take forward the ‘six priorities’ to ensure stability in the ‘six key areas’ and maintain solid economic fundamentals,” Li said.

Real benefits must be delivered to businesses to make employment more stable and cushion the impact on jobs and workers’ incomes.

“We must make every effort to meet people’s essential needs. Social protection and fiscal policies should work in harmony. Our financial measures should target micro and small businesses and help lower their financing costs,” Li said.

The meeting called for boosting domestic demand as a matter of strategy and taking steps to drive consumption.