First, we developed new ways to improve macro regulation and ensured a generally stable economic performance.
Facing new circumstances and developments, we were firm in choosing not to adopt a deluge of strong stimulus policies, and we maintained the continuity and consistency of macro policies. As we conducted regulation to keep main economic indicators within an appropriate range, we also improved targeted and well-timed regulation, and carried out anticipatory adjustments and fine-tuning.
We continued to pursue a proactive fiscal policy, focusing on cutting taxes and fees, strengthening areas of weakness, and promoting structural adjustment. We reduced VAT rates and expanded the coverage of tax relief for small businesses with low profits, and introduced preferential tax policies to encourage R&D and innovation. Over the year, the tax and fee burden on enterprises and individuals was thus reduced by around 1.3 trillion yuan. We improved the composition of budgetary spending, put idle budgetary funds to use, and ensured spending in key areas.
We maintained a prudent monetary policy and encouraged financial support for the real economy. In response to the difficulties and high costs of financing, we reduced required reserve ratios four times, and applied a combination of measures to ease funding shortages faced by private enterprises and small and micro businesses. Initial success was thus made in curbing the rising cost of financing.
We promptly responded to abnormal fluctuations in the stock and bond markets, and kept the RMB exchange rate basically stable. China’s foreign exchange reserves were maintained at over US$3 trillion.
Second, we took solid action in the three critical battles and made good progress in carrying out key tasks.
We drew up and began the systematic implementation of a three-year action plan for the three critical battles.
We made steady progress in structural deleveraging, handled risks in the financial sector prudently and appropriately, prevented and controlled local government debt risks, and reformed and improved mechanisms for conducting regulation over the real estate market.
We made further progress in precision poverty alleviation. We strengthened poverty relief capacity, increased budgetary input, and encouraged society to assist poverty alleviation. The self-development capacity of poverty-stricken areas was steadily enhanced.
We launched an all-out fight to keep our skies blue, our waters clear, and our land pollution-free. Energy and transportation structures were upgraded. The replacement of coal with natural gas and electricity in North China was steadily advanced. The system of river chiefs and lake chiefs was established across the country. The use of both chemical fertilizers and pesticides was reduced. Inspections and law enforcement for environmental protection were strengthened. And we took active steps to respond to climate change.
Third, we deepened supply-side structural reform and steadily unleashed the dynamism of the real economy.
We strengthened work to cut ineffective supply, foster new growth drivers, and reduce costs in the real economy.
We made progress in using market mechanisms to cut capacity in the steel and coal industries.
Measures were implemented to ensure stable investment; as a result, investment in manufacturing and private investment rebounded markedly. Policies were adopted to stimulate consumer spending. Internet Plus initiatives were advanced across the board, and new technologies and models were used to transform traditional industries.
We deepened efforts to streamline government functions and cut taxes and fees. A number of government permits were abolished, the reform separating permits from the business license was implemented nationwide, the time needed to start a business was considerably shortened, and the types of industrial production permits were cut by over a third. Oversight conducted through the random selection of both inspectors and inspection targets and the prompt release of results was implemented nationwide.
We overhauled the charges and fees levied on businesses, and encouraged cuts in the cost of energy, broadband services, and logistics. We advanced the Internet Plus Government Services initiative, the local authorities explored and extended a number of distinctive reform measures, and both businesses and the public now enjoy increasingly better access to government services.