China to continue measures for flood control, disaster relief
BEIJING, June 22 (Xinhua) -- China will adopt continued measures for flood control and disaster relief to earnestly protect people's lives and property, according to a decision made at the State Council's Executive Meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.
The meeting also heard a report on stabilizing grain production, with further steps adopted to secure a bumper harvest for the whole year.
The meeting recognized the prompt response by various sides to the continuous heavy precipitation in multiple places in southern China and the efforts to mitigate the disaster damage. Forecast suggests relatively more extreme weather events in this year's flood season, and the main rain belt is stair-stepping northward recently.
The meeting underlined the imperative to strengthen accountability. The coordination mechanism of early warning and emergency response should be improved, and solid efforts kept up for flood control and disaster relief.
"Flooding in southern China came early this year. It is imperative to keep major rivers and large reservoirs safe during the flooding season, and ensure that the people's lives and property are well protected. The northern regions should also make contingency plans and comb through and defuse potential risks," Li said.
Noting a complex and challenging international environment with serious inflation, the meeting stressed the imperative to stay focused on managing China's own affairs well.
Thanks to the hard work by various sides on grain production, a bumper harvest of summer wheat with higher output is secured for this year, and grain quality is better than average years. The yields of coarse cereals and common beans have increased modestly, and output of canola seed has notably risen.
Nearly 80 percent of summer sowing of corn and other crops has been completed. Early-season rice and autumn grains are growing well. It is vital that due responsibilities continue to be fully discharged to ensure that the annual grain output stays above 650 billion kilos.
"The bumper harvest of summer grains and the sound momentum of autumn grains are no easy feat, and provide a strong underpinning for stable grain output of the whole year," Li said. "Keeping prices stable is critical for maintaining overall stability of the economy. Ensuring stable and higher grain output is a key step to keep prices stable and enhance China's capability for food security. It is also conducive to the stability of the global grain market."
It is important to effectively carry out the procurement and storage of grains harvested in summer and encourage market entities under various forms of ownership to join in the procurement to ensure the quality and quantity of grains in granaries.
It is essential to keep up with the farming schedule and ensure the acreage for summer planting. Efforts will be made to round up corn sowing, ensure stable acreage for late-season rice, and apply intercropping of corn and soybean.
Farmland management for autumn crops will be strengthened, and preparedness against floods, droughts in the hottest summer days, plant diseases, pests and other disasters will be enhanced. Meanwhile, efforts will be made to ensure production of pork and other daily grocery supplies.
The meeting also decided policies in greater support of automobile consumption. The meeting highlighted consumption as a main driving force for the economy and an important lever to bring economic activity back onto the normal track. All pro-consumption policies available will be rolled out. The potential of automobile consumption will be further tapped.
Used car markets will be boosted to promote the purchase of new automobiles in replacement of old ones. For non-commercial light-duty vehicles, starting from August 1, restrictions on the cross-regional transfer of those that meet the national stage V emission standard will be lifted nationwide.
Consumption of new energy vehicles will be supported. Extension of the tax exemption policy for new energy vehicle purchases, which is to expire by the end of the year, will be explored in light of current conditions. Local protectionist measures on the new energy vehicle market will be removed.
These policies, once enforced, are estimated to increase auto and related consumption by about 200 billion yuan (about 29.8 billion U.S. dollars).
"Consumption remains a weak link at present, with further decline of offline consumption," Li said. "We must roll out all necessary policies to promote consumption, to spur fairly rapid expansion of consumer spending in the second half of the year and boost jobs and economic growth."