BEIJING, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- China's top economic planner warned Wednesday that challenges remain in investment and trade, and meeting annual growth targets will require "arduous efforts."
It is estimated that pressure will still remain in economic development in the second half of 2016, said Xu Shaoshi, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, during the top legislature's ongoing bimonthly session.
While delivering a report to the session, Xu expressed confidence that the country could meet major annual targets in economic growth, employment, commodity prices and residents' income.
He also said it was expected that targets for poverty reduction, energy consumption, environmental protection and shanty town renovation would be met.
"Great difficulties remain in meeting goals for investment and trade," Xu said, elaborating on a national economic and social development report.
"Currently, the foundations for stable economic development are not solid enough and downward pressure remains large."
Internationally, the global economy has not recovered as expected and trade protectionism has gained ground, Xu told lawmakers, adding that geopolitical risks and the increasingly complicated security situation in China's periphery will disturb economic stability.
On the domestic front, difficulties remain large in the stable growth of demands, and regional polarization has evolved, with potential risks in sectors such as finance and employment calling for great attention, Xu said.
He also cited farmers' incomes, the increasing number of environmental incidents, severe production safety situation and the arduous tasks of disaster prevention, reduction and relief as difficulties the country must address.
STABILIZING MACROECONOMIC POLICY
According to Xu, China will continue to design and implement targeted and flexible macro-control measures, and pursue a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy.
The country will further reduce tax burdens for enterprises and closely follow the implementation of the replacement of business tax with value-added tax (VAT), said Finance Minister Lou Jiwei while delivering a report during Wednesday's legislative session.
China plans to formulate a pilot policy on commercial pension insurance with individual tax preferences offered to applicants, Lou said.
Also, the country is mulling an increased export rebate rate for some mechanical and electrical products and improving the policy on individual income tax for equity incentives, Lou said.
The central government will promote public-private-partnerships (PPP) and accelerate the PPP legislation procedures, he added.
Meanwhile, China has promised to review government investment, promoting the use of funds to support startups in emerging industries, according to Lou.