China pledges stronger support for small firms, poor students

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China will strengthen support for market entities, especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and improve loan aid for students from impoverished families, said a State Council executive meeting held Wednesday.

The meeting, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, also adopted a draft revision of the law on agricultural product quality and safety.

To help cushion the stress from rising production costs due to high commodity prices, increased accounts receivable, and epidemic and disaster impacts, the meeting pledged to increase the re-lending quota for small firms by another 300 billion yuan (about 46.38 billion U.S. dollars).

Local banks will be supported to lend to small- and micro-firms as well as individual businesses. Policies of providing loan interest discounts, rewards, and subsidies to encourage lending for epidemic-hit industries and enterprises will also be improved.

A national mechanism will be put in place to help provide guarantees for small firms that lack collateral or credit records. Financial institutions will offer support such as bill discounts and standard bill financing to relieve small firms' pressure from outstanding payments, the meeting added.

It urged efforts to streamline administrative procedures and improve the business environment.

Efforts should also be made to enhance cross-cyclical adjustment, the meeting said. It called for giving play to the special bonds issued by local governments to expand effective investment.

In line with the dynamics of the international environment and the need to develop the real economy, China will improve its policy options and roll out new policies to benefit enterprises timely when the previous ones expire, the meeting said.

To bail out students with financial difficulties and promote education equality, the meeting decided to improve national student loan policies by, for instance, substantially raising the loan ceiling for college students.

The draft revision of the law on agricultural product quality and safety further emphasized the regulation on the production and operation of agricultural products. It specified the responsibilities of producers, operators, local governments, and relevant authorities. It also introduced a tracking system on agricultural product quality and improved supervision and accountability measures.

The draft revision will be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for deliberation.

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