China acknowledges pollution

China will exempt electric cars from purchase taxes as part of expanded government measures to combat pollution.

Authorities will exclude new-energy autos -- China’s term for electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles -- from the taxes starting September 1 this year until the end of 2017, according to a statement posted on the central government website today, citing a State Council meeting.

The step is meant to promote energy savings and emission reduction as well as boosting domestic demand, the notice said. The auto-purchase tax is 10 percent in China. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has promised to ban dirtier vehicles to alleviate worsening smog that increasingly blankets major cities and to reduce dependence on imported energy.

Five years after China began promoting new-energy vehicles, fewer than 70,000 are on its roads, lagging behind a government target of 500,000 by 2015, according to comments from Vice Premier Ma Kai posted on Chinaev.org website in April.

Separately, China will speed up development of the insurance industry by encouraging it to support infrastructure construction, the government said in today’s statement. Qualified insurance companies are encouraged to invest in the pension industry, it said.

 

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