Shanghai says will hand out $22 billion in tax relief to firms amid COVID fight

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SHANGHAI, March 29 (Reuters) - China's Shanghai on Tuesday said it would roll out policies to help the local economy cope with a surge in COVID-19 cases in the city, including offering refunds that will reduce firms' tax burdens by 140 billion yuan ($22 billion) in 2022.

Internet platforms will be encouraged to further lower service fees and telecom operators to provide three months' worth of free cloud services, for instance, the city government said in a statement on its website.

Subsidy support will be given to companies in the retail and catering industries to send their staff for regular COVID tests, and will also be provided to front-line healthcare personnel and volunteers involved in the city's fight against the pandemic.

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The government will encourage financial institutions to increase credit support and reduce loan interest rates for firms involved in food supply, while support will also be provided to the tourism, transport and exhibition industries, it said.

Shanghai is in its second day of a two-stage COVID-19 lock down and is carrying out mass testing as it battles its largest ever outbreak. read more

($1 = 6.3680 Chinese yuan renminbi)

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Reporting by Brenda Goh and Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Kenneth Maxwell

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