After years of rapid economic growth — growth heavily reliant on mounting debt — China is slowing things down and focusing on stability, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced during his annual speech at the National People's Congress on Tuesday.
The government is lowering its growth target to between six and 6.5 percent, following last year's 6.6 percent growth rate — the country's slowest pace since 1990. Li told the assembled delegation of nearly 3,000 representatives that they must prepare "for a tough struggle" and that the "difficulties we face must not be underestimated."
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However, The Wall Street Journal also reported that despite scrapping "Made in China 2025" — a plan heavily criticized by the Trump administration, which considers it an attempt to turn China into a global technology leader, while simultaneously harming the U.S. tech industry — Li's remarks likely did not do enough to dissuade the White House of its concerns. Instead, Li said the government would promote advanced manufacturing and "encourage more domestic and foreign users to choose Chinese goods and services." But, per the Journal, there is little evidence that the new policy will significantly reduce subsidies to preferred Chinese companies and sectors, despite promises of greater access for foreign companies.
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