China to lower defense budget growth to 7.5 percent China 06:20

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China will push the economic development of Yangtze river delta and build an integrated transportation system along the river.

Value-added taxes will also be reduced to support the manufacturing, transport and construction sectors.

The lower bound of the GDP target would be the slowest pace of economic growth in nearly three decades, a effect of China's long deceleration as policy makers prioritize reining in debt risks, cleaning up the environment and alleviating poverty.

China's 2018 defense budget accounted for roughly 1.3% of GDP, according to government spokesperson Zhang Yesui on Monday, which is still lower than those of some developed countries, many of whom regularly allocate over 2% of GDP to military spending.

"Trade frictions between China and the USA have brought ill impact on the operations of some companies and on the market prospects".

China aims to maintain consumer inflation level at around 3 percent and create over 11 million new urban jobs.

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The world's two biggest economies have also been engaged in an economic conflict over USA allegations that China steals technology and forces foreign companies to hand over trade secrets in an aggressive push to challenge American technological dominance.

In recent weeks, the United States and China appear to have moved closer to a trade deal that would roll back USA tariffs on at least $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

China on Tuesday downgraded this year's economic growth target and made a decision to slow the pace of expansion in its defense budget for 2019, as it has been engaged in trade and security spats with the United States.

The rate marks a fourth straight year for the budgeted growth rate to dip into the single digit since 2016, following five consecutive years of double-digit increases, official news agency Xinhua reported.

China aims to increase lending to small companies by large commercial banks by more than 30 per cent this year, the premier said.

However he still said the government wanted to promote IT, high-end equipment, biotech and next-gen automobiles and touted 'Buy China'.

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China will cut company taxes and employer social insurance contributions paid on behalf of workers by almost 2 trillion yuan (S$403 billion), according to a government report presented to the congress.

According to the South China Morning Post, Beijing has set a lower economic growth target for this year and will step up fiscal measures to stabilize the growth.

Three-quarters of provinces have already lowered their annual growth targets this year.

China is committed to mutually beneficial cooperation, win-win development and settling trade disputes through discussion as equals, the report said.

Separately, China's top banking regulator said on Tuesday that Beijing could "absolutely" reach an agreement with the United States on opening up its financial sector.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yesterday he thought the United States and China were "on the cusp" of a deal to end their trade war, adding to recent positive signs about negotiations from both sides of the Pacific.

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