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China's slowing economy takes center stage at annual parliament

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 1, 2019 - Duration: 01:33s

China's slowing economy takes center stage at annual parliament

China's leaders will pledge in parliament next week to keep the country on safe footing as the economy faces its biggest test in years.

The world's second-largest economy has taken a hit thanks in part to a bruising trade war with the U.S. Eve Johnson reports.

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China's slowing economy takes center stage at annual parliament

China's Communist Party is under pressure as the country gears up for its annual session of parliament.

The world's second-largest economy is running at a nearly 30-year low.

But its leaders have a message: we got this.

Premier Li Keqiang will kick things off on Tuesday (March 5) with a speech expected to be full of promises to help small businesses, boost demand and protect jobs.

Reuters Ben Blanchard says he'll also be delivering a reality check.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, BEN BLANCHARD, SAYING: "We're expecting him to announce that economic growth this year will be about or between 6 percent and 6.5 percent which is slower than the target for last year which was about 6.5 percent." Beijing is keen to keep growth above 6 percent.

Officials worry a deeper slowdown could spark big job losses and stir unrest.

China's economic troubles are thanks - in part - to a bruising trade war with the U.S. Top of the agenda at this year's parliament - a new foreign investment law aimed at easing tensions.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, BEN BLANCHARD, SAYING: "This is designed to provide a better legal framework for foreign investors in this country and to outlaw practices that have particularly upset America and European companies, things like forced technology transfers, also to better protect intellectual property in China.

" The National People's Congress will run for about ten days, during which time the foreign investment law - which was pre-approved by top leaders - is expected to pass.

The NPC is seen as a rubber stamp parliament that doesn't vote against the decisions of the Communist Party.

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