Mar 15, 2019

China pledges greater cooperation with foreign companies

China's Vice Premier Wang Yang (Left), President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang applaud after the foreign investment law was passed during the closing session of the National People's Congress. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese officials completed the 2019 National People's Congress on Thursday night. Notably, lawmakers passed a bill to eliminate the requirement that foreign companies transfer proprietary technology to Chinese partners and said it will protect against "illegal government interference."

The big picture: The body also pledged greater cooperation with American and European companies on Belt and Road initiatives.

Over the course of the policy meeting lawmakers passed several proposals:

  • Cut this year's growth target to 6% — 6.5% from "around 6.5%."
  • Increased tax and fee reduction to 2 trillion yuan (about $298 billion) for 2019, from 1.3 trillion yuan in 2018.
  • Pledged more bond issuance by local governments to support higher fiscal spending.
  • Announced China will not give up on "structural deleveraging" and will strive to keep total deleveraging "broadly stable."

Go deeper: Competitors worry that China is using Belt and Road for political gain

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 782,319 — Total deaths: 37,582 — Total recoveries: 164,565.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 161,807 — Total deaths: 2,953 — Total recoveries: 5,595.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30.
  4. State updates: Rural-state governors say testing is still inadequate, contradicting Trump — Virginia, Maryland and D.C. issue stay-at-home orders to residents, joining 28 other states.
  5. Business latest: Ford and General Electric aim to make 50,000 ventilators in 100 days.
  6. In photos: Navy hospital ship arrives in Manhattan.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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First U.S. service member dies from coronavirus

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

The Pentagon on Monday announced the death of a member of the New Jersey National Guard who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's the first U.S. service member — active, reserve or Guard — to die from the virus, according to the Pentagon. The guardsman passed away on Saturday after being hospitalized for the novel coronavirus on March 21.

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Texas oil regulators poised to debate historic production controls

Workers extracting oil from oil wells in the Permian Basin in Midland, Texas. Photo: Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images

Texas oil regulators are likely to hold a hearing in April on whether to take the historic step to curb the state’s oil production amid a global market collapse fueled by the coronavirus.

Driving the news: Ryan Sitton, one of three commissioners of the Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees state oil production, told Axios that a hearing will likely be held soon in response to a renewed request earlier Monday from two oil companies to limit production as one way to stem the steep slide in global oil prices.