China has cut its growth target this year as it pushes through reforms to address a rapid build-up in debt, and erects a “firewall” against financial risks. Prime Minister Li Keqiang said China aims to expand its economy by around 6.5 per cent. China set a target of 6.5 to 7 per cent last year and ultimately achieved 6.7 per cent growth, supported by record bank loans, a speculative housing boom and billions in government investment. Li said China added 13.14 million new urban jobs in 2016, with the number of college graduates finding employment or starting businesses reaching a record high. “This year’s target for urban job creation is one million more than last year, underlining the greater importance we are attaching to employment,” Li said.
Li said China would continue to implement a proactive fiscal policy, adding that government aimed to cut companies’ tax burden by about 350 billion yuan (US$51 billion) this year. He added that China would also maintain a prudent and neutral monetary policy, he said.