COVID-19 crisis: China’s Xi promises tax cuts, aid for businesses

President Xi Jinping of China

Chinese President Xi Jinping has promised tax cuts and other forms of support for businesses as the government tries to alleviate the effects on the economy of the coronavirus outbreak, code-named COVID-19, that has infected tens of thousands of people and cordoned off entire regions.

Scientists in China code-named the virus COVID-19 to mean CO-for corona, VI- for virus, and D-for disease, and 19- for 2019, the year it broke out.

China’s local governments are to establish assistance mechanisms for companies, especially small and privately owned enterprises, the Politburo Standing Committee, a top ruling body, decided at a meeting chaired by Xi, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

The body also called for tax cuts and the reduction of interest rates, as well as for increased capital investment and the allocation of local funds for preventing and controlling the epidemic.

China is to pump a net 150 billion yuan ($22bn; £16.3bn) into its economy on Monday to help protect it from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

China’s central bank said the move would ensure there was enough liquidity in the banking system and help provide a stable currency market.

Financial regulators in the country have said they believe the impact on China’s already slowing economy will be “short term”.

China’s central bank has announced other economic measures in the face of a deepening coronavirus epidemic, including providing banks with 300 billion yuan to lend to affected companies.

Authorities have also relaxed tariffs on goods imported for use in the virus fight – including those from the U.S.