Premier: China needs 'strong measures' to support economy

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. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang waves as he arrives for a press conference held after the closing session of China's National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for the closing session of the National People's Congress in Beijing's Great hall of the People on Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

BEIJING — China's top economic official says the country needs "strong measures" to counteract downward pressure on growth but Beijing plans to promote market-oriented reforms instead of relying on more lending and deficit government spending.

Premier Li Keqiang, speaking in a nationally televised news conference, said Friday the communist government will cut taxes and take other steps to "boost the vitality of the market."

Li said, "We certainly need to take strong measures to cope with rising uncertainties that we face this year." However, he added that boosting lending or government spending might "lead to future problems."

Li expressed confidence Beijing can achieve its annual growth target of 6 to 6.5 percent. Economic growth last year fell to a three-decade low of 6.6 percent.

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