China: Says Stability Is Needed For Stronger Global Economy As They Beat The War Drums In The South China Sea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

Stability needed next year for stronger global economy

FOR China and the world to witness stronger economic growth next year, one thing is needed: stability.

For an international market trapped in fluctuations during a year of surprising events, a new direction in 2017 is a must, something discussed at a recently ended annual economic policy meeting in Beijing.

“Seeking progress while maintaining stability” was the main theme of this year’s Central Economic Work Conference, according to a statement released by the conference on Friday. Economic priorities for 2017 were also be hammered out.

With a gross domestic product (GDP) accounting for over 15 percent of the global total, China’s growth at 6.7 percent in the third quarter, or between 6.5 percent and 7 percent annually, represents a natural and significant contribution to global economic stability.

That is true more than ever since the International Monetary Fund in October revised down global growth to 3.1 percent for 2016 and 3.4 percent for 2017.

Moreover, the spillover of China’s new economic policies will be strongly felt in the ongoing joint construction of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, which will see development of countries along its route.

STABILITY WITH CONTINUED SUPPLY-SIDE STRUCTURAL REFORM

In combination with the growth trend in the second half of 2016, the important messages Chinese policymakers convey at the key annual economic conference will highlight a clear reform course for the world’s second largest economy.

Stability is a prerequisite for reforms, commented Margit Molnar, head of the China Desk of the Economics Department of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Having dealt with such flashpoints like the asset bubble and local government debt, China will help prevent systematic risks, creating conditions for continuing the supply-side structural reform, he told Xinhua.

The economic work conference has maintained supply-side structural reform as necessary for stable growth, with a continued focus on upgrading the country’s economic structure.

Reforms which focus on expanding effective supply in a dynamic supply-demand equilibrium, will promote stability, said Zhao Yao, professor with the business school of Rutgers University in the United States.

LONG-TERM MOVES TO COOL DOWN REAL ESTATE

Homes are for living in rather than speculation, the conference stressed, proposing to use financial, land, taxation, investment and other instruments to establish a fundamental and long-term system to curb real estate bubbles and market volatilities.

Guo Shengxiang, dean of the Australian think tank Academy of APEC Creative Finance, described the idea as “forward-looking”.

“It will be a good news, to stabilize the market, improve people’s well-being and facilitate the development of the real economy,” he said.

The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. (HKSB) believes measures to cool down real estate will not thwart China’s economic recovery.

Without a complete tightening of monetary policy, the impact of government regulations could be neutralized by infrastructure investment with financail support, it said.

PRUDENT AND NEUTRAL MONETARY POLICY AGAINST RISKS

The conference defines China’s monetary policies for 2017 as “prudent and neutral”, promising better adjustments to ensure stable liquidity.

Monetary policymaking should adapt to changes in the use of money supply tools, and further efforts are needed for smoother policy transmission, it said.

China will keep the yuan basically stable, while improving the flexibility of exchange rates.

“The stance shows the government is trying to find a subtle balance between stabilizing growth and controlling asset bubbles,” noted Hong Hao, chief China strategist at BOCOM International.

Earlier, a Standard Chartered Bank report predicted financial and monetary policy instruments available to the Chinese government would suffice to support China’s growth in the coming years.

Asia-Pacific nations pledge to work on sweeping new free trade pact

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

Asia-Pacific nations pledge to work on sweeping new free trade pact

LEADERS of 21 Asia-Pacific nations ended their annual summit with a call to resist protectionism amid signs of increased free-trade skepticism, highlighted by the victory of Donald Trump in the United States presidential election.

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit closed on Sunday with a joint pledge to work toward a sweeping new free trade agreement that would include all 21 members as a path to “sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth,” despite the political climate.

“We reaffirm our commitment to keep our markets open and to fight against all forms of protectionism,” the APEC leaders said in a joint statement.

APEC noted the “rising skepticism over trade” amid an uneven recovery since the financial crisis and said that “the benefits of trade and open markets need to be communicated to the wider public more effectively, emphasizing how trade promotes innovation, employment and higher living standards.”

Speaking to journalists at the conclusion of the summit, Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said the main obstacle to free trade agreements in Asia and around the world was the frustration felt by those left behind by globalization.

“Protectionism in reality is a reflection of tough economic conditions,” said Kuczynski, the meeting’s host.

Referring to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and Trump’s election win in the US, he said those results highlighted the backlash against globalization in former industrial regions in America and Britain that contrasted with support for trade in more-prosperous urban areas and developing countries.

“This is an important point in recent economic history because of the outcome of various elections in very important countries that have reflected an anti-trade, anti-openness feeling,” he said.

Chinese officials said more countries were looking to join a China-led trading bloc after Donald Trump’s election victory had raised fears the US would scrap free trade deals.

Trump campaigned for president on a promise to pull out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, and also threatened to impose steep tariffs against China and Mexico.

China is not part of the TPP and has been pushing an alternative vision of free trade in Asia under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which does not currently include countries in the Americas.

Tan Jian, a member of China’s delegation at the summit, said more countries were now seeking to join the 16-member bloc, including Peru and Chile, and that current members wanted to reach a deal as soon as possible to counter rising protectionism.

In a final declaration, APEC leaders said the TPP and RCEP were both valid paths to a broader Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, which had long been a goal of the APEC bloc that accounts for 57 percent of the world economy.

“We encourage that all regional undertakings, including TPP and RCEP, remain open, transparent and inclusive and draw on each other,” they said.

The APEC statement also said the members would adhere to the carbon reduction goals set in Paris last year to address climate change, a problem that they called a threat to food production and food security.

China’s Xi calls for ‘smooth transition’ in relationship with U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

China’s Xi calls for ‘smooth transition’ in relationship with U.S.

By Jeff Mason | LIMA

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday called for a “smooth transition” in Beijing’s relationship with Washington and praised outgoing President Barack Obama for strengthening ties between the two nations.

During a meeting in Peru, Obama repeated the U.S. urging that all sides in the dispute over the South China Sea reduce tensions and resolve their disputes peacefully.

The meeting is expected to be the last between the two leaders before President-elect Donald Trump enters the White House. Trump has been sharply critical of China.

“We meet at a hinge  moment in the China-U.S. relationship,” Xi said at the start of the meeting, through an interpreter.

“I hope the two sides will work together to focus on cooperation, manage our differences and make sure there is a smooth transition in the relationship and that it will continue to grow going forward,” he said.

Trump, a Republican, has accused China of being a currency manipulator and promised to slap big tariffs on imported Chinese goods. He has also called climate change a “hoax” designed to help Beijing.

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” Trump wrote in a tweet in 2012.

Obama and Xi pushed for the international community to back an agreement forged in Paris to combat global warming. Obama called that an example of the benefits of the two countries working together.

“Now we face the work of making sure our economies transition to become more sustainable,” he said.

Trump’s election has raised questions about whether the United States would try to pull out of the accord, a key legacy accomplishment for Obama, a Democrat.

China also helped negotiate the Iran nuclear agreement, another big piece of Obama’s foreign policy that Trump has threatened to dismantle.

Neither Xi nor Obama mentioned Trump in their remarks in front of reporters.

“Mr. President, I would like to commend you for the active efforts you’ve made to grow this relationship,” Xi said to Obama.

Obama noted that the two leaders would discuss areas of disagreement, including “the creation of a more level playing field for our businesses to compete, innovation policies, excess capacity and human rights,” he said.

“I continue to believe that a constructive U.S.-China relationship benefits our two people’s and benefits the entire globe,” he said.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Mary Milliken and David Gregorio)

China Catching Up With Nations Most Wanted Criminals

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News Paper)

33 most wanted returned to China

CHINA has brought a third of its list of 100 most-wanted corruption suspects back to the country from overseas, its top anti-graft body said yesterday.

The list of suspects subject to an Interpol “red notice” — the closest thing to an international arrest warrant — was issued in 2014. Since then, 33 of them had been caught, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement.

Over the past two years, since setting up a team to chase graft suspects across the globe, the commission has returned to China 1,915 suspects from more than 70 countries, along with 7.47 billion yuan (US$1.12 billion), it said. It gave no other details.

China has been seeking more international cooperation to hunt down suspects who had fled overseas since the government began a drive against deep-rooted graft almost four years ago.

It has turned to persuasion to get suspects back from countries such as Canada and the United States, where many corrupt officials are believed to have gone.

G20 leaders who attended the recent summit in Hangzhou agreed on a document on cooperation with regard to suspects who had fled abroad.

An important principle in the document was appropriate measures against “safe havens.”

The commission’s Liu Jianchao, director of its international cooperation bureau, said the principles agreed in the document would “help overcome political and legal barriers to treaties on extradition and criminal judicial assistance.”

They will help establish a cooperation system involving law enforcers, prosecutors and diplomats, Liu said.

At an APEC meeting in Beijing in 2014, a declaration on fighting corruption described how extradition, judicial assistance and more flexible legal measures could be used to recover stolen money.

“Compared with that declaration, these principles will have more extensive influence,” said Cai Wei, the bureau’s deputy head.

Many G20 countries are popular destinations for corrupt Chinese officials and the measures should reduce the scope for criminals to hide out there and in the world at large, Cai added.

The document states that members will investigate, prosecute, and refuse entry to individuals sought by law enforcers in other G20 countries while helping one another recover stolen money.

There will be improvements to both public and private sector transparency.

G20 leaders also agreed to set up a research center in China to look at the issue of returning corrupt officials and their assets.

A communique said the center would “be operated in line with international norms.”

Cai said the center would help China’s global efforts to fight corruption. It would be based at Beijing Normal University and experts from other G20 countries would be invited to join and look at issues such as legal mechanisms for extradition.