BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- China will strengthen the fundamental role of consumption in economic growth and promote effective investment this year, Premier Li Keqiang said Monday.
"We will boost consumption in response to the new changes in consumer demand, focus on making structural adjustments in increasing investment," Li said Monday when delivering a government work report at the opening meeting of the annual parliamentary session.
"The country will promote consumption upgrading and develop new forms and models of consumption, extend preferential policies on purchase tax on new-energy vehicles by another three years, and rescind all local policies that restrict sales of non-local second-hand vehicles," Li said.
"China's consumption upgrading is significant for both China and the world," said Zhang Shuibo, deputy head of the college of management and economics, Tianjin University.
"Many countries, especially the medium and small ones, have tasted sweet revenue rises because of the increasing number of Chinese travellers," Zhang said.
As its economy grows, China can make even bigger contributions by increasing consumption and investment abroad, said Zhang, who is also a member of the National Committee of the 13th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
In 2018, China will promote the healthy development of online shopping and express delivery services. Meanwhile, the country will create integrated tourism demonstration zones, and lower ticket prices at key state tourist sites, according to the work report.
"All types of behavior that infringe on consumer rights and interests will be punished in accordance with law without leniency," Li said.
Furthermore, China will enable investment to play the pivotal role in improving the supply structure, the premier said.
The central government budget will earmark 537.6 billion yuan (about 85 billion U.S. dollars) for investment this year, an increase of 30 billion yuan over last year.
"We will implement policies and measures designed to encourage private investment, introduce a number of attractive projects in sectors like railway, civil aviation, oil and natural gas, telecommunications, and make sure that private investment can gain entry and is able to develop," Li said.
This year will see 732 billion yuan invested in railway construction and around 1.8 trillion yuan invested in highway and waterway projects. The scale of investment in ongoing water conservancy projects will reach 1 trillion yuan.
"Foreign investors will have wider access to sectors like telecommunications, medical services, education, elderly care and new energy vehicles," Li said.
Overseas investors will be granted tax deferral for the reinvestment of profit made in China, while procedures for setting up foreign-invested enterprises will be simplified, and business filing and business registration will be processed together in one go, said the premier.