For China And The U.S. ‘Cooperation Is The Only Way Forward’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

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Cooperation the only way forward

COOPERATION is the only correct choice for China and the United States, President Xi Jinping told visiting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Beijing yesterday.

There are important development opportunities resulting from China-US relations, said Xi during the meeting in the Great Hall of People in Beijing.

Xi said he had maintained sound communications with his US counterpart Donald Trump through phone calls and messages, and they had agreed that the two countries could be good cooperative partners.

Xi said that to advance China-US ties in a healthy and steady manner, both sides could enhance exchanges at various levels; expand cooperation in bilateral, regional and global fields; and properly address and manage sensitive issues.

Xi suggested the two countries increase strategic trust and mutual understanding, review bilateral ties from long-term and strategic perspectives and expand fields of cooperation for their mutual benefit.

The two countries should also enhance coordination on regional hotspot issues, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns and encourage friendly exchanges between their two Peoples.

Tillerson told Xi, who extended an invitation for President Trump to visit China, that the US president valued communications with his Chinese counterpart and looked forward to meeting Xi and visiting China.

The US side is ready to develop relations with China based on the principle of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, said Tillerson.

China and the US are discussing arrangements for a meeting between the two presidents and exchanges at other levels, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during his talks with Tillerson on Saturday.

“We attach great importance to your visit,” Wang told the US visitor at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.

It was Tillerson’s first visit to China since he assumed office last month and he is also the first Cabinet-level official in the new US administration to visit.

China-US ties are developing steadily in a positive direction, Wang said.

He called for more cooperation in foreign affairs, the economy and trade, the military, law enforcement, people-to-people exchanges and local communication.

The essence of China-US trade relations is mutual benefit, said Wang, and he encouraged both countries to expand trade and investment cooperation.

Wang also restated China’s position on Taiwan and South China Sea issues, emphasizing that China and the US should respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, discreetly deal with sensitive issues to protect bilateral ties from unnecessary influences.

Tillerson said the US adheres to the “One China” policy and added that closer cooperation and coordination between the two countries was necessary in the face of a changing international situation. The US would like to have more high-level exchanges with China, and more dialogue in diplomatic security, macroeconomic policy coordination, law enforcement, cyberspace and people-to-people exchanges, he said.

Tillerson’s visit aims to make “political preparations” for the meeting between two presidents, and both sides would make the best use of this chance to seek common ground, said Jia Xiudong, a researcher with the China Institute of International Studies.

Tillerson arrived in Beijing on Saturday from Seoul. His first official Asian tour began on Wednesday and also took him to Japan.

SWIFT Messaging System Cuts Off Remaining North Korean Banks

 

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

SWIFT messaging system cuts off remaining North Korean banks

By Tom Bergin | LONDON

SWIFT, the inter-bank messaging network which is the backbone of international finance, said it planned to cut off the remaining North Korean banks still connected to its system, as concerns about the country’s nuclear program and missile tests grow.

SWIFT said the four remaining banks on the network would be disconnected for failing to meet its operating criteria.

The bank-owned co-operative declined to specify what the banks’ shortcomings were or if it had received representations from any governments.

Experts said the decision to cut off banks which were not subject to European Union sanctions was unusual and a possible sign of diplomatic pressure on SWIFT.

Belgium-based SWIFT has previously refused to cut off Burmese, Russian or Syrian banks which were subject to sanctions by other countries, such as the United States, citing a policy of remaining politically neutral.

SWIFT ignored years of pressure linked to Iran’s nuclear program, and only cut off Iranian banks in 2012 after the EU passed specifically tailored sanctions. SWIFT is overseen by the central bank of Belgium which is subject to EU law.

“The DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) banks remaining on the network are no longer compliant with SWIFT’s membership criteria,” SWIFT spokeswoman Natasha de Teran said in a statement.

“As a result, these entities will no longer have access to the SWIFT financial messaging service. Given the increased ongoing international attention on the DPRK, SWIFT has informed the Belgian and EU authorities,” she added.

Last week, the Belgian authorities said they would no longer allow SWIFT to provide services to North Korean banks which were under U.N. sanctions.

That followed a U.N. report in February that said North Korea was relying on continued access to the international banking system to flout sanctions imposed in relation to its nuclear program.

Former SWIFT chief executive Leonard Schrank said the only previous occasions he could remember when SWIFT had cut off banks not subject to EU sanctions was when the banks had lost their banking license or a country’s central bank had ceased functioning.

“This is a very, very serious action,” he said, adding it could open SWIFT up to pressure in respect of other countries.

A spokesman for the European Commission denied leaning on SWIFT: “This is a commercial matter for SWIFT. We do not interfere in the business decisions of any such company,” he said.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and Belgian Foreign Ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

China’s President Xi Jinping Tells Government Leaders They Must End Their ‘Special Privileges’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

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Privileges must end, Xi urges leading officials

PRESIDENT Xi Jinping told leading officials yesterday that they should practice strict self-discipline and eliminate special privileges.

Xi made the remarks at the opening session of a workshop on the Sixth Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee. The workshop was attended by senior provincial and ministerial officials.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said implementing the decisions of the plenum would have far-reaching and profound significance for both the Party and socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Xi urged leading cadres to “build a fence” against special privileges to prevent themselves and those around them from abusing power.

Leading officials should use their power “impartially, cautiously and legally,” Xi said.

The workshop was being held to help senior provincial and ministerial officials understand two documents — one on the norms of political life within the Party in the new era, and a regulation on intra-Party supervision — which were approved by last year’s plenum.

“Leading officials should strengthen their political capability, firm their political ideals, uphold political direction, be steadfast in their stance and strictly observe political rules,” Xi said, stressing that they should enrich their political experience and match their political capability with the positions they were holding.

Xi said upholding the authority of the Central Committee with strict observance of orders and rules was related to the future and fate of the Party and the nation as well as the fundamental interests of all people across the nation.

Xi called on all Party members to become more aware of the need to uphold political integrity, keep in mind the bigger picture, follow the Party as the core of the Chinese leadership, and act consistently with Central Committee policy.

Safeguarding the authority of the Central Committee and the centralized and unified leadership chimed with democratic centralism, Xi said.

The Party sets great store by intra-Party democracy, as all major decisions follow strict processes, and are informed by wide opinions and suggestions, Xi said.

Strengthening and regulating political life within the Party requires the correct political direction, and advancing with the times, said Xi, who also stressed principles of political life and its spirit of holding firmly to the truth and rectifying errors.

Self-development is the most distinctive characteristic of the Party, and its biggest advantage, because the Party has no interests except for those of the country, the nation and the people, Xi said.

Leading officials, especially those in senior roles, must strengthen their self-discipline, he said.

They should ensure their words and deeds are in line with the Party constitution, and embody the Party spirit in all they do.

Xi called for thorough study of the two documents, which were designed to address contradictions and problems within the Party.

Xi also said Party organizations must improve inspections and ensure accountability. He also stressed that high-raking cadres should take the lead in complying with the Party’s code of conduct.

China’s Views On National Sovereignty And The New World Order

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

http://www.shanghaidaily.com/opinion/foreign-perspectives/Rise-of-global-spaces-calls-for-new-world-order/shdaily.shtml

China’s Views On President Trump And His Wall

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

http://www.shanghaidaily.com/world/Trump-moves-to-build-that-wall-with-Mexico-curb-refugees/shdaily.shtml

China Shows Off Domestic Innovation When It Comes To The ‘Ball Point Ink Pen’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

China has grown by leaps and bounds during its quest for greater domestic innovation, becoming a world leader in sectors like robotics-based manufacturing and consumer software. But one of its most recent accomplishments is in an area that’s considerably more basic: ballpoint pens.

Today Chinese steel maker Taiyuan Iron and Steel Co., also known as Taigang, formally announced (link in Chinese) that it had developed technology to manufacture the stainless steel tip cases found at the end of high-quality ballpoint pens. The feat shows how the Chinese government remains insecure about the country’s continued reliance on foreign technology, and the lengths it’s willing to go to overcome it.

China produces an estimated 40 billion ballpoint pens annually, but many of them work poorly. Domestic manufacturers wanting to make higher-quality pens must import tip cases from Japan and Germany made of a specialized stainless steel. According to Taigang, an 83-year-old state-owned enterprise based in the Shanxi province, that’s because in better pens the cone-shaped case that holds the ball requires both special raw material and special machinery (link in Chinese). To fulfill demand, Chinese pen makers have been importing more than 1,000 tons (link in Chinese) of the needed steel annually.

In 2011 Taigang and government bureaus allocated 60 million yuan ($8.6 million) toward researching the technology needed to develop the part independently. The company says trials began in earnest in 2014 (link in Chinese) and finally finished last year, when a set of 2.3-mm-tipped pens with the superior tip cases passed the ultimate test—the ability to write for 800 meters (875 yards) without interruption. The company will supply the tip cases to Beifa, a pen maker based in the city of Ningbo in the Zhejiang province. It’s unclear when the resulting pens will officially hit the market, or why Taigang is announcing the news now.

Taigang’s efforts didn’t come out of nowhere. A year ago in China a minor media frenzy erupted (link in Chinese) when premier Li Keqiang, a vocal proponent of bolstering technological innovation, lamented how China was producing 800 million tons of steel annually but still importing the specialized type of stainless steel needed to make the better tip cases.

He reiterated this point frequently during public appearances, adding that pens using domestically produced parts felt inferior to foreign ones. The ballpoint pen became a potent symbol for perceived flaws in China’s economy and technological capabilities. “That’s the real situation facing us,” Li said at a meeting with economists in December 2015. “We cannot make ballpoint pens with a smooth writing function.”

At one point last year, state-media outlet CCTV broadcast an hour-long program examining why China couldn’t make quality tip casings for ballpoint pens on its own.

News of Taigang’s pen-tip “innovation” has made waves on China’s internet in the past few days. An article about the company from state media outlet People’s Daily has so far attracted over 10,000 comments and 20,000 shares on Weibo, China’s Twitter-esque social media platform. “Wow, it had never occurred to me that I had been using ballpoint pens relying on foreign technology!” wrote one user (link in Chinese).

The Chinese government has repeatedly stressed the importance of keeping its domestic technology competitive with foreign alternatives. While that has typically manifested itself in R&D funding for the internet and semiconductor industries, the ballpoint pen has proven to be a more useful symbol for capturing the imaginations of ordinary Chinese.

But that’s not the only pedestrian product public figures have held up in the name of bolstering innovation. Last March Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun appeared at China’s annual “Two Meetings” political gathering to lament how Japan’s rice cookers were superior to those made domestically. Weeks later, his company announced a wifi-enabled rice cooker.

Beifa and Taigang say that making the quality tip casings in China will save about $15 million annually. But even comments from Beifa suggest that the decision was more political than financial.

“Frankly speaking, it’s not that China was incapable of developing the technology,” Beifa CEO Zhang Xuelian told Beijing News (link in Chinese). “This type of steel part requires a special type of steel [to make]. The market for it is not big. Only companies that make pen tips will need it.”

Additional reporting by Echo Huang.

Mainland China To Hong Kong Trade Drops 7.1% In First 11 Months Of 216

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

Mainland-HK trade drops 7.1% in first 11 months

THE Chinese mainland’s trade with Hong Kong totaled US$274 billion in the first 11 months of 2016, down 7.1 percent year on year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

The value accounted for 8.3 percent of the mainland’s total overseas trade in the January-November period.

Mainland exports to Hong Kong hit US$258 billion, a decrease of 9.3 percent year on year, while the mainland’s imports from the region saw an increase of 51.9 percent to US$16.1 billion.

Hong Kong is the mainland’s fourth-largest trading partner and third-largest export market, according to the ministry.

The mainland approved 11,309 Hong Kong-invested projects from January to November, with the actual use of Hong Kong capital reaching US$72.8 billion, down 6.8 percent from the same period of last year.

By the end of November, the mainland had approved 397,522 Hong Kong-invested projects, with the actual use of Hong Kong capital reaching US$906 billion, accounting for 51.6 percent of the mainland’s actual use of overseas capital.

China: President Jinping Says Stability Is Needed To Help Global Markets As China Beats Their War Drums

 

 

(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 financial 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.

Shopping in Australia, while in China

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC NEWS NETWORK AND THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

Shopping in Australia, while in China

  • 24 October 2016
  • From the section Business
Media caption Phil Mercer reports from Sydney on the booming business of “freelance exporting”

In Sydney, a multi-million dollar export industry starts with a simple trip to the shops.

Laden with plastic bags that are almost too heavy to carry, we meet Rika Wenjing, a 24-year-old accountancy graduate from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.

She labours with tins of infant food, supplements and skin lotions from a discount chemist to sell to customers back home in China.

Rika has worked part-time for the past two years as a daigou, a freelance retail consultant.

Rika Wenjing in a vineyardImage copyright RIKA WENJING
Image caption  Wenjing started working as a daigou while she was a student

She is glued to her phone and tablet, using the messaging app WeChat to build a network of 300 clients who aren’t afraid to pay premium prices for trustworthy Australian goods.

“In the beginning I just had my friends and my aunty to buy baby formula or unique brands from Australia, like Ugg boots. Then I wanted to build a platform to show more products to them,” she told the BBC. “I don’t want just to earn money, I want to provide products to my friends.”

A display of ugg bootsImage copyright  IMAGES
Image caption  boots are popular with Chinese shoppers

In Australia, it’s estimated there are 40,000 daigou, which means “on behalf of” in Mandarin.

The online shopping agents are almost exclusively from mainland China, and are young migrants or international students looking for flexible ways to help cover their rent and university fees.

The epicentre of the trade is in Sydney, a city with a growing Chinese community and frequent direct flights to China, which makes doing business quicker and smoother.

Earlier this year, Beijing tightened regulations on cross-border online shopping, but there is still money to be made, especially in baby milk formula, known as “white gold”.
Shoppers in China cannot always find the brands of baby milk formula they want locally

In 2008, at least half a dozen children died and as many as 300,000 fell ill in China after consuming milk products contaminated by melamine, a chemical used in plastics and adhesives. Since then, imported milk has become highly prized by sections of China’s affluent and health-conscious middle classes.

“Everyone cannot buy the good quality or the reliable formula in China, so they want to buy from Australia. Maybe it is more expensive, they don’t care [about] the price but they do care about the quality,” Rika explains.

At the height of a boom last year in demand in China for milk formula, a buying surge from daigou attracted criticism in sections of the Australian media for leaving domestic shoppers empty-handed. As demand peaked last year some shops limited the amount of formula customers could buy

Daigou came to prominence in Europe by shipping luxury goods such as Gucci handbags to China. In Australia, the trade revolves around everyday items including food, beauty products, wine and clothes.

“There are smaller daigou, so mum doing a home business and ship the product to China. There are also those which open up their own shop and try to do a bigger-scale business,” says Benjamin Sun, the co-founder of Think China, a digital marketing company in Sydney.

“Some of the daigou… establish their own logistics, own e-commerce website and try to formally distribute the products. It is all about trust, that is what daigou is doing – building trust between their clients. They are small but they are a lot of people. If you add them together, they are huge.”

Benjamin SunImage copyright BENJAMIN SUN
Image caption Benjamin Sun says the work of a daigou is all about building trust with clients

Daigou typically charge premiums of about 50% above the retail price in Australia. But even allowing for transport fees, buyers in China invariably pay much less for the same product in a local shop – assuming it is available.

The industry with its home-spun roots does have its challenges. Customers must be convinced the goods they receive are genuine, and not fake, and that the supplier is reliable.

Consultants often live stream their visits to supermarkets and chemists to prove the authenticity of the goods they send. It is an industry founded on trust.

In the Sydney suburb of Yagoona, Bob Sun, originally from the city of Dalian but now studying accountancy at Macquarie University, is renting a warehouse with three Chinese friends for their expanding business.

They pack their products – again mostly milk powder, vitamins and skin creams – with Australian magazines to help prove their provenance.

“The income from daigou is reasonable compared to other working opportunities like working in a restaurant and that sort of thing. The profit is really enough to cover your rent. It is easy to do that,” the 24-year-old student told the BBC.

“The biggest reason for me to do daigou is to not work in some company or to work in a restaurant. It is flexible.”

These freelance exporters have created thousands of trading routes both small and big into China, a market that can be almost impenetrable for some Australian companies, and others from New Zealand. Increasingly firms are collaborating with specialist consultants to harness their contacts and expertise.

“We think daigou are good for both the local economy… and they are very good for our business,” says Peter Nathan, chief executive of A2 Milk, a New Zealand baby formula manufacturer that also operates in Australia.

“We clearly believe they are a positive force and it’s fair to say that it is something we are accessing.”

China: New Tighter Controls On Streaming

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

CHINA’S press and publications regulator has ordered social media platforms featuring video and audio programs to obtain licenses.

The State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television recently issued a document strengthening the regulation of video and audio programs on social media platforms, such as Weibo and WeChat, it said in a statement yesterday.

If organizations and individuals operating online streaming services on Weibo or WeChat without licenses, the social platforms would be held responsible.

Platforms must monitor content to ensure it meets the “various requirements for managing video and audio programs,” the regulator said, adding that the content cannot exceed the license conditions.

Online platforms are also prohibited from offering access to Weibo or WeChat accounts that defy regulations.