Chinese premier to visit Europe in April

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China is facing "downward pressures", Premier Li Keqiang admitted Friday as he announced plans to boost market vitality with a new foreign investment law backed by tax cuts to stabilise growth in the world's second-largest economy amid a bruising trade war with the US.

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.

He renewed his call not to flood the economy with new stimulus measures as in past downturns and instead advocated doubling down on market economics to "hold off downward pressure".

The Chinese stock market closed higher, with the Shanghai Composite Index up 1 percent at 3,021.75, while the blue-chip CSI300 index was up 1.3 percent.

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Last week Li laid out a lower growth target of 6.0-6.5 percent this year, from 6.6 percent growth in 2018, which was already the slowest pace for nearly three decades.

Beijing's tax cut efforts have focused on the manufacturing sector and small businesses that are vital for economic growth and employment.

"We have to prepare more and we have reserved policy room (to address uncertainties)", Li told a news conference after the annual parliament meeting ended.

The main job of the government is to ensure fair market access and enhanced market oversight to ensure these services are both safe and reliable, Li added.

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According to the statistics provided by China's General Administration of Customs, the volume of trade between Russian Federation and China for January-February increased by 1.7% year-on-year, reaching $16 billion: exports from China to Russian Federation for the specified period decreased by 4.8% and stood at $7.07 billion.

China can use tools such as lowering interest rates and the reducing amount of cash banks must keep in reserve to support growth, he said.

Beijing is counting on its millions of consumers and renewed investment to stabilize the economy as slowing global growth and a trade dispute with the U.S. hit its export machine.

Li added he hopes that Sino-U.S. negotiations will "achieve results that yield mutual interests", hours after Chinese media reported senior trade officials of the two countries made "further substantial progress" during their telephone talks on Thursday.

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As a tit-for-tat tariff escalation with the United States - worth hundreds of billions of dollars - has choked exports as well as private spending and investment at home, Li pledged to implement "strong measures" to prop up the nation's economy.

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