China's Central Economic Work Conference, a key government committee led by President Xi Jinping that plans and sets the agenda for the broader economy, said Friday that will will cut taxes "significantly" next year, open domestic markets to foreign ownership and implement the consensus achieved on trade with the U.S. from the G20 Summit in Argentina.
The Conference's ambitions for 2019, which were made through statements China's state-controlled Xinhua News Agency Friday, suggest the current tensions in the relationship between Washington and Beijing haven't swayed officials from their larger aim of reforming the world's second-largest economy as it slows in the wake of the damaging trade war that erupted earlier this year.
"Next year will mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the new China," Xinhua reported following the two-day meeting in Beijing. "Handling economic work well is to be of paramount importance", adding that ""the consensus reached between the Chinese and U.S. leaders in Argentina has to be implemented for the purposes of making progress on Sino-US economic and trade negotiations."
The Conference also said government fiscal policy would be "proactive" next year, suggesting a tax cut that would top the 1.3 trillion yuan ($188 billion) reduction put in place earlier this year. Monetary policy from the People's Bank of China should be "prudent", the Committee said, with an appropriate balance between tightening and loosening, raising the prospect of a cut in benchmark interest rates or the reserve requirement ratio next year.
Stocks in Asia followed Wall Street lower Friday, with Japan's Nikkei 225 slumping to a 15-month low as the yen strengthened against the sliding greenback, while China's tech-focused CSI 300 fell 1.24%, adding to the $2.3 trillion in lost market value for domestic stocks this year, following charges by U.S prosecutors against two Chinese nationals for hacking key government agencies and a broader statement that accused Beijing of economic espionage.
"No country poses a broader, more severe long-term threat to our nation's economy and cyber infrastructure than China," said FBI Director Chris Wray. "China's goal, simply put, is to replace the U.S. as the world's leading superpower, and they're using illegal methods to get there."
The move by U.S. officials to charge the two Chinese men, and the arrest earlier this month of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou on charges she helped companies evade U.S. sanctions on Iran, had raised an earlier risk that Beijing would hit back with restrictive policies of its own as the two countries hammer out a broader trade agreement following the Buenos Aires meeting between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.
However, the Conference today said China would not only ease rules on foreign business ownership, but it would also promote their broader interests, specifically citing the sensitive issue of intellectual property rights. State media also said Xi "calmly and appropriately handled Sino-U.S. tensions on economy and trade"
China's economy grew 6.5% in the three months ending in September, the slowest since the global financial crisis and down from a 6.7% pace over the second quarter, while industrial output for the final month of the quarter rose 5.8%, both figures falling shy of analysts' forecast, with former representing the weakest advance since 2009.