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Economy

China races to rev up sluggish auto sales

Looser plate limits on table as Beijing braces for trade war impact

Shanghai has restricted license plate issuance since 1994 in an effort to tackle congestion and air pollution.
Shanghai has restricted license plate issuance since 1994 in an effort to tackle congestion and air pollution.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- The Chinese government is looking at more measures to bolster an auto market suffering from weakening demand, seeking to fortify a vital part of the economy as trade tensions with the U.S. escalate.

Steps to loosen local license plate limits are among the ideas under consideration, according to a source at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The restrictions were first adopted in Shanghai in 1994 and have since spread to around 10 provinces and cities, including Beijing. They target mostly gasoline-fueled autos and are meant to address urban gridlock and reduce air pollution.

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