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Premier Li meets the press: Full transcript of questions and answers

Ministry of Foreign Affairs | Updated: 2019-03-16 19:22

China Daily: Last year, the growth of China's domestic consumption trended downward. However, at the same time, hundreds of millions of Chinese chose to travel overseas for shopping. My question is: what measures will the government take to boost domestic consumption?

Premier Li: It is true that the growth of China's domestic consumption has been declining for some time. Consumption and people's well-being are like the two sides of the same coin. There needs to be a reasonable size of investment and increase in consumption. Although consumption is in a certain sense driven by increase in income, we should also recognize there are still obstacles that constrain the growth of domestic consumption. We must resolve these problems, as this will help boost consumption and improve people's lives.

We have seen an increase in travel by roads in recent years. In this year's government work report, we set the goal that within two years, we will eliminate almost all expressway tollbooths at provincial borders. And that has proven to be a very popular policy initiative. It will not just ease traffic congestion, but also help with the growth of related industries and sectors. This goal must be achieved, and we have instructed the relevant departments to make their best efforts to achieve it ahead of schedule.

In recent years, we have also worked to raise the speed and cut the rates of Internet services. That has benefited our consumers and boosted the growth of related industries. This year, the goal is to cut the rates for mobile internet services by another 20 percent, and that will involve some 180 billion yuan. At the same time, we require that it should be made possible for cellphone users to switch their telecommunications service carriers without changing their phone numbers. This will force the carriers to overhaul hidden charges and further improve their services. It will also help to upgrade the whole industry.

We also plan to cut the prices of electricity for general industrial and commercial companies by an additional 10 percent this year. When it comes to e-commerce, there are up to 10 million online shops in China with over 600 million consumers, and e-commerce platforms run 24/7, and these computers consume a lot of electricity. So when electricity price is cut for these companies, it will also make it possible for our consumers to benefit more and transform and upgrade the related industries. It is thus an initiative with multiple benefits. We must endeavor to ease and even eliminate all these institutional barriers that constrain consumption. This will stimulate consumption, energize market players, and unlock public creativity. All government departments must be fully aware of the concerns of the people and do their best to meet our people's expectations.

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