Cutting taxes means smaller fiscal revenues. This year, our fiscal spending will grow in tandem with the GDP growth rate. We also need to ensure that government spending in key areas related to people’s lives and in fighting the three critical battles will increase. Then it begs the question: where does the money come from? Only increasing the budget deficit ratio by 0.2 percent point is not enough to make up for the shortfall. The answer is: the government will tighten its belt and cut back on its general expenditures. At the same time, certain state-owned financial institutions and enterprises directly under the central government will be asked to turn in a larger share of their profits to the state coffers. The central government will also take back those fiscal funds that have long stayed unused. Through these means, we have put together one trillion yuan. Local governments also need to do their homework and contribute, but for localities in the central and western regions, transfer payments from the central government will be made. Digging into the government’s own revenue stock for slashing taxes and fees would be like the government turning the blade of a knife to itself, which requires significant self-sacrifice. That is why I said this is a key reform that requires exceptional courage and determination.You asked whether the Chinese government will ask Chinese companies to “spy” on other countries. Let me tell you explicitly that this is not consistent with Chinese law. This is not how China behaves. China did not and will not do that in the future.
Our larger-scale tax and fee cuts are a very important reform measure and a crucial decision. Before we took this decision, we did thorough calculations. In the past, there were several different plans under consideration. For example, one of the plans was to cut the VAT rates by just one percentage point each year in the following several years. But that may not bring as many benefits to companies as the current plan. Under the current plan, the VAT rate for the manufacturing sector will be cut by three percentage points. The manufacturing sector accounts for close to 60 percent of all VAT. For construction and related sectors, the VAT rate will be cut by one percent point. For other industries, we will also work to ensure that the tax burden on companies will only go down, not up. Due to the setup of the tax code, with fewer deductions, the tax payments of some sectors may somewhat increase. To address this problem, we will make further tax deductions. In this process, the tax burden on all micro, small and medium-sized companies will be significantly eased. All in all, as I said before, taxes levied on companies will only come down instead of going up. Moreover, employers’ contributions to the basic pension insurance scheme will be cut from 20 percent to 16 percent.China now has over 100 million market entities. When their vitality is fully unleashed, the energies that could be created would be incalculable. We must keep our policies stable and ensure their continuity. We will continue to cut taxes and fees, streamline administration, foster new drivers of growth, broaden market access and level the playing field for all market players. In this way, we will be able to lift the curbs on the market, free up space for companies and resolve concerns for our people. We will generate tremendous creativity in this process. And this will also put us in a strong position to keep major economic indicators within a proper range and achieve high-quality development.China News Service: The Chinese government has been taking measures to improve living standards over the years. However, there are still complaints about some issues concerning quality of life. Next year we will complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects. So in addition to poverty alleviation, what concrete progress can we look forward to in all these livelihood areas and what plan does the government have to improve people’s well-being?