BEIJING, May 3 (Xinhua) -- China is stepping up its support for small and micro businesses by offering new tax cuts and better financial services, officials said Thursday.
Seven new tax policies are expected to save the businesses a total of 60 billion yuan (9.45 billion U.S. dollars) per year, vice finance minister Cheng Lihua said at a press conference.
The reduction will act as an incentive for enterprises in upgrading equipment and improving employee training, as well as encouraging research and development efforts.
Small and micro enterprises play a vital role in driving economic growth, employment and innovation, Cheng said, adding that China has created a framework of favorable policies to lower burdens, spur innovation and support financing.
By eliminating excessive fees, the banking sector saw an increase of 44 billion yuan in revenue concessions in 2017 from a year earlier, Wang Zhaoxing, vice chairman of China's top banking and insurance regulator, said at the press conference.
Banks are prohibited from charging small and micro-businesses fees other than loan interest, the rate of which is stable and declining, Wang said.
"Commercial banks have been asked to weight more of their loans toward small and micro businesses," he said, adding that qualified banking institutions are encouraged to issue financial bonds to these businesses in expanding their financing channels.
Total outstanding loans to small and micro businesses stood at 31.7 trillion yuan by the end of the first quarter this year, up 1.02 trillion yuan from the end of 2017, official data showed.
China is speeding up reforms in the financial sector and focusing on solving the problem of small and micro enterprises finding it tough and expensive to access financing, according to this year's government work report.