BEIJING (Dispatches) - China will not set an economic growth goal for this year as it deals with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
It is the first time Beijing has not had a gross domestic product (GDP) target since 1990 when records began.
The announcement was made by Premier Li Keqiang at the start of the country’s annual parliament meeting.
The world’s second largest economy shrank by 6.8% in the first quarter from a year ago as lockdowns paralyzed businesses.
"This is because our country will face some factors that are difficult to predict in its development due to the great uncertainty regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and the world economic and trade environment,” Premier Li said.
The country’s leadership has promised to boost economic support measures amid growing concerns that rising unemployment could threaten social stability.
The move comes as tensions between Beijing and Washington are becoming increasingly strained over the coronavirus pandemic, trade and Hong Kong.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump stepped up his attacks on China, suggesting that the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, is behind a "disinformation and propaganda attack on the United States and Europe.”
Meanwhile, The Chinese government has unveiled a fiscal stimulus package of nearly 3.6 trillion yuan ($506 billion), as Beijing tries to offset the economic shock caused by the coronavirus pandemic and prepare for an "unpredictable” path ahead.
Premier Li Keqiang announced details of the plan in his work report at the National People’s Congress on Friday, including an increase of the budget fiscal deficit to a record high of 3.6 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), up from 2.8 per cent last year.
It is the first time the ratio has exceeded 3 per cent – a red line for decades – and will add an extra 1 trillion yuan to the budget to bolster the economy after it was slashed by the pandemic.