Nevertheless, it is difficult to separate cyclical elements

and external shocks from the long-term trend and to conclude that China’s potential growth rate really is 6-6.5 percent.

Many Chinese economists cite long-term supply-side structural factors-such as demographic agi

ng, environmental degradation, and a lack of progress on reform-to argue that China has simply en

tered a new stage of development, characterized by significantly lower potential growth rates.

Structural factors don’t explain falling growth rate

While this may be true-everyone in China agrees that 9-10 perce

nt annual growth rates are a thing of the past-there is no clear indication of how much Chin

a’s growth potential has actually declined. Long-term supply-side structural factors do not explain, for exam

ple, why the growth rate fell from 12.1 percent in the first quarter of 2010 to 7.4 percent in the third quarter of 2013.

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As an important power promoting human develop

ment and progress, international communicators should further play up their special role in advancing unders

tanding, deepening friendship and expanding cooperation in the fast-changing world. They should push world pro

gress in the right historical direction while promoting exchanges among civilizations and mutual learning.

First, we should act as promoters of exchanges among human civilizations. The mutual depende

nce, exchanges and learning of different civilizations give shape to the abundant and colorful world tod

ay. As the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity points out, cultural diversity “is the common herit

age of humanity”. The diversity of human civilizations is a basic characteristic of the world, as well as a sour

ce of the progress of humanity. In turbulent international situations, to maintain world peace, devel

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The Belt and Road Initiative, which originated in C

 China but belongs to the world, has become an open and inclusive platform for international cooperation and a well-recog

nized global public good thanks to the concerted efforts of the parties involved, Xi said.

Calling think tanks significant forces for Belt and Road constructi

on, the president said developing think tank exchanges and cooperation helps deepen mu

tual trust, unite consensus and promote the BRI to achieve high-level development.

He expressed the hope that the think tank network would develop in-depth academic exchanges to promote solid coope

ration under the BRI and contribute to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Also on Wednesday, a ceremony to mark the release of the English and French editions

of a compilation of remarks by Xi on the Belt and Road was held in Beijing by the State Council Information Office.

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Vehicle sales in China continue to drop, NEV sales rise

hinese sales of passenger vehicles, MPVs, SUVs and minivans in March dropped 12 percent on a yearly basis to 1.78 million units.

This is the 10th consecutive monthly decrease, according to the C

hina Passenger Car Association (CPCA), Changjiang Times reported.

The MPV sector saw the largest sales decline, 20.2 percent to 130,000 units in the pas

t month, while SUVs and sedans dropped 10.7 and 12 percent, respectively.

The decreases in 2019’s first quarter are mild compared with those at the end of the last year, CPCA said.

As the State-VI emission standards will be implemented from July 1 this

year, some Japanese brands have launched corresponding products ahead of their co

unterparts, and performed well in sales and consumer confidence, CPCA said.

“Automobile sales in North China, and those in the county and township level, are still weak,” the association added.

hheeh.cn

We support the BRI globally because it’s a big project wi

ith so many applications in different parts of industry and the economy, and we want agreements, project by project.”

Raffarin was appointed special envoy on China affairs by French President Emmanuel Mac

ron. He pointed out that it is not pragmatic to have an agreement about every industrial sector, because, as sovereig

n states, both countries need to protect the interests of their own businesses and industries.

“It’s easier to go project by project, and, after some experience, we can add a larger vision,” Raffarin said.

His comments came after Italy signed a BRI memorandum of understanding with China during

Xi’s visit to Rome last week to become the first G7 country to join the global infrastructure plan.

According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, from January to November 2018, China’s direct investment in France reached $330 mil

lion. China’s growing investment in Europe has prompted concerns in the West, which Raffarin thinks are misplaced.

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The Italian Senate warmly welcomes Xi for his visit, Casell

llati said, noting that the Italian and Chinese peoples have always trusted each other and

maintained profound friendship, with close ties in such fields as economy and trade, and culture.

The Senate speaker said she agrees with Xi on his remarks about the traditional friendly exchanges between the two cou

ntries dating back over 2,000 years, published in leading Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera ahead of his visit.

China and Italy are major countries that boast a rich culture, she said, adding that Italy is willing to boost communication and c

ooperation with the Chinese side in such fields as culture, art, language, heritage protection, tourism, science and tec

hnology, and innovation, and encourage their youths to increase exchanges and mutual understanding.

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Tax cuts on the way as steps taken at meetingplement a g

China will implement a group of measures to cut value-added ta

x rates, ensuring that the tax burden on all industries will only go down, according to a

decision made by the State Council’s executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.

The Government Work Report this year set out a plan for l

arger tax cuts, including lowering the VAT rate in manufacturing and other industries from 16 t

o 13 percent and the VAT rate in transportation, construction and other industries from 10 to 9 percent.

A number of concrete measures were decided upon at the

Wednesday meeting to achieve the targets, which will be enacted on April 1.

Input VAT eligible for deduction will be expanded and will cove

r passenger transportation services. Taxpayers will be able to get their input tax on real esta

te payments deducted in full on a one-time basis, instead of on two occasions in two years.

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working well,” presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said

In Pyongyang, Biegun and Kim Hyok Chol, DPRK’s special representative for US affairs, discussed “advancing Trump and Kim’s

Singapore summit commitments of complete denuclearization, transforming US-(DPRK)

relations, and building a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula,” the US State Department said in a statement.

Trump and Kim met for their first summit in Singapore last June, during which Kim pledged to work toward the “co

mplete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula, without providing a clear timetable or roadmap.

US-led diplomacy aimed at getting the DPRK to abandon its nuclear program in return for outside concessions has since made little headway.

Calling the AU a banner that unites the African countries to pursue self-renewal, Xi praised th

e integration process of the continent and the great headway made since last year under the guidance of the organization.

African countries continue to speak with a united voice on important internatio

nal and regional issues, and the international influence of the continent keeps rising,

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The preferential treatment will target those registered as needy

alf a year, on subsistence allowances or recent graduates from higher educational institutions.

The decision allows provincial-level governments to raise tax relief by 20 percent at most, depending on the needs of the region.

Companies who have hired the needy and paid social insurances for them can also en

joy tax deductions to the tune of 6,000 yuan per person a year for three years.

Local governments at provincial levels can lift tax relief by 30 percent at most according to local conditions.

The tax deduction mainly covers value-added tax, urban maintenance and constru

ction tax, educational surcharge and individual income tax and will be effective from Jan. 1, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2021.

A separate statement, which was jointly issued Saturday by the Ministry of Finance, the State Taxation Administration and the Ministry of Vete

rans, said that self-employed veterans can also enjoy all the preferential treatments.

Companies who have hired veterans can also enjoy tax deduction to the tune of 6,000 yuan per person a year for three ye

ars. Local governments at provincial levels can lift tax relief by 50 percent at most according to local conditions.

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Babel and Baby Spring Festival Gala sketches or were “killed”

Netease Entertainment reported on January 23 that according to a media report, an insider disclosed that Angelababy and Babel had been “killed” in the language program review of CCTV Spri

ng Festival Gala in 2019, and Babel had no chance for the Spring Festival Gala. According to relevant media reports, Angelababy may change to a sing

ing show. In addition, Ge You, Cai Ming and Qiao Shan’s collaborative performances passed the examination smoothly.

Earlier, reporters had captured An

gelababy and Babel on the spot of CCTV Spring Festival Gala language program censorship many times. During the

censorship, Angelababy, Babel and comedian Jia Bing performed a sketch, which once reached the final stage.

According to people familiar with the matter, Angelababy’s and Babel’s prog

rams were eventually brushed off at the final hearing, but the specific reasons for their brushing are uncertain.

Ma Dehua, the portrayal of pig’s eight characters in the classic TV drama “jour

ney to the west”, will play a classic and fashionable collision with the seven children of the popular fashion music en

semble. At the end of 2018, Tang Yan and Luo Jin, who have just become “Qin Jin Hao”, will join the other pairs to give the audience a song and dance per

formance. Beijing Television recently released the first batch of actors for the Spring Festival Gala. This year’s Spring Fe

stival Gala will be featured with “gifts” as the theme, offering audiovisual gluttony to the audience.

According to Qin E, director-in-chief of the Spring Festival Gala, there are not only many popular stars, veteran cele

brities and fashion novelties on the stage of the Taichun Festival Gala in Beijing in 2019, but also many un

expected cross-border new combinations to create surprises for the audience. Wang Kai, who has performed wel

l in the new year’s hit drama “Big River”, will join hands with a mysterious female partner to perform a sitcom full of wa

rmth. Yang Zi, Guan Xiaotong, Xu Weizhou and Han Dongjun, four young artists full of youthful vigor, will also bri

ng special touches to the audience. Language programs in Beijing Taichun Gala have always been the most an

ticipated type of programs for audiences. This year, language programs are

still crowded. Cai Ming, the evergreen tree in the sketch circle, will tell you a moving story. Comedy novice Jia Bing w

ill bring a new collision with Wen Song. The long run, which you like very much, will also bring unexpected surprises.

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