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Li Keqiang gets second term as China's Prime Minister

Li Keqiang gets second term as China's Prime Minister

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at the news conference following the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC), at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 20, 2018.

The familiar-sounding pledges from Beijing came as the prospect of a global trade war loomed in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump imposition of hefty import tariffs on steel and aluminium earlier this month.

In addition, he is expected to announce further duties on a range of other goods. That could invite Chinese retaliation. "So what we hope is for us to act rationally, instead of being led by emotions".

"We believe a "trade war" does nobody any good".

Chinese trade officials said earlier that Beijing was ready to respond, though they gave no details.

The move is seen as retaliation for what Mr Trump believes is Beijing's insistence that United States companies to transfer their intellectual property to China as a cost of doing business there.

Asked whether Beijing might use its large holdings of US government debt as leverage, the premier said its investments are based on market principles and "China will remain a responsible long-term investor". He said Beijing will make it easier to start a business and will open more industries to foreign and private competition.

He also said China aims to generate more than 13 million new urban jobs this year to ensure stable job placement for over eight million fresh graduates this year.

The 62-year-old, however, spent his first mandate in the shadow of President Xi Jinping, who has put himself in charge of various economic committees, drawing power away from Li and the state council.

Mr Li also said China will further open up its economy and its door to the outside will only get bigger and bigger, with foreign and domestic firms allowed to compete on an equal footing.

China will gradually relax and even scrap foreign-owned equity limits in some sectors and shorten the negative list for foreign investment, Li added.

Beijing faces complaints it violates its market-opening commitments by requiring automakers and other foreign companies to hand over technology to potential Chinese competitors.

President Xi Jinping has made tackling financial risk a priority over the next three years while the government has set up the Financial Stability and Development Commission to coordinate efforts to contain a possible crisis.

They included Liu He, a Harvard-trained Xi adviser who was named a vice-premier Monday and has told foreign businesspeople he will oversee economic reform.

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