Trump’s IPR claims ‘totally baseless’

US President Donald Trump’s accusations about Chinese companies stealing intellectual property rights (IPR) from the US were dismissed by experts who talked to the Global Times on Thursday.

In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, Trump and his economic adviser Gary Cohn said that China had forced US companies to hand over their intellectual property as part of the process of doing business domestically.

But China has never done this, and if such practices have happened, it has been without any government intervention, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lu Kang said at a press briefing on Thursday.

Experts also pointed out that the US accusations are flawed.

“IPR violation is a global problem, and is not exclusive to any single country. It shouldn’t be used as an excuse to bring shame on any country,” Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Thursday.

According to Bai, the US is very strict and cautious about exporting its advanced technologies, and it’s very hard for overseas countries to get access to the key technologies. “Theft? It’s totally baseless,” Bai said.

He also said that in a business deal each party should contribute its own resources. “Why must Chinese companies collaborate with overseas companies that have nothing to give? In Trump’s logic, he would force Chinese firms to work with US companies,” Bai noted.

‘Big fine’ coming

Trump also said that the US government was considering imposing “a big fine” as part of its probe into alleged IPR theft by China, Reuters reported.

“We have a very big intellectual property potential fine going, which is going to come out soon,” Trump said in the interview with the Reuters.

Although Trump didn’t specify how big the fine would be or how it would be imposed, he said it would be large. “We are talking about numbers that you haven’t even thought about,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

The US government launched a Section 301 Investigation into China’s alleged IPR theft in August 2017.

Bai said that although IPR protection in China is far from flawless, the Chinese government has made a lot of progress in the area.

“Looking only at the dark side of the situation is nothing but discrimination,” Bai said, adding that with the rise of Chinese domestic brands, IPR protection is also a must for Chinese companies.

“To solve this problem, countries should sit down and negotiate,” he said.

A senior executive from a Shenzhen-based semiconductor company also told the Global Times on Thursday that China’s IPR protection has improved a lot.

“Based on my observation, Chinese high-tech companies are paying what they should pay for use of patents,” he said.

Chen Fengying, an expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said that it’s probable the US government will take measures against certain Chinese companies, with measures like freezing some of their business in the US.

“They might have prepared some IPR cases involving Chinese companies,” she noted.

Sinovel Wind Group Co, a Beijing-based new-energy company, said in a filing with the Shanghai Stock Exchange on January 9 that the US government has recently opened a case accusing it of IPR violation and stealing commercial secrets. Sinovel Wind said in the filing that it will take legal action to protect its interests.

The Shenzhen-based executive said it’s possible that the US government will pick on certain Chinese companies, but sanctions against a large number of Chinese firms are unlikely.

Unilateral tax

The Reuters report also noted that Trump’s IPR accusations are a clear indication that the US government will take “retaliatory trade action” against China.

Trump also disclosed in the interview that he will announce actions against China over trade soon. He said he hoped there will not be a trade war, but “if there is, there is.”

Chen said that it’s possible the US might impose a unilateral tax on Chinese firms. But she said that that wouldn’t severely hurt Sino-US trade relations, as trade friction would only exert a small influence on the two countries’ overall trade status. “Trump’s words are more intended to exert pressure on China,” she said.

Source: Global Times

Waste exporters target Southeast Asia after China bans foreign waste

Big waste exporters have become worried after China implemented a strict and comprehensive ban on 24 kinds of solid waste at the beginning of this year. The pressure is also felt in Southeast Asia, which has replaced China as the new destination of foreign waste, Xinhua reported.

The ban was announced last July and officially enforced in this year. According to Thomson Reuters Foundation, exporters in Europe, the U.S., Japan, and other developed countries will be the first to feel the impact.

“The whole industry has been impacted unexpectedly,” said Surendra Patawari Borad, a businessman who runs a recycling company in Belgium and the US and chairs the plastics committee at the Brussels-based Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), who is well aware of China’s role in the industry.

In 2016, China imported 7.3 million tons of plastic waste, accounting for 56 percent of the world’s total plastic waste imports, the foundation disclosed.

A founder of an international plastic waste recycling company based in Hong Kong says China’s ban on foreign rubbish was destined to happen.

Western companies have resorted to incineration or landfills to deal with additional waste. However, both methods will exert disastrous effects on the environment, industry analysts warn.

Under the circumstances, they have found Southeast Asia as an alternative export market, where the waste recycling industry is still immature.

According to data provided by BIR, the volume of plastic waste imports in Southeast Asian countries has been rising fast.

For instance, the volume of plastic waste imports in Malaysia is expected to rise from 450,000 tons to 500,000 tons in 2017, an increase of 50 percent compared with 288,000 tons in 2016. The 2016-2017 year-on-year growth in Vietnam and Thailand is at 62 percent and 117 percent, respectively, according to BIR.

Few people in Malaysia see plastic waste recycling as a promising industry. In fact, many companies know that plastic waste causes real harm to the environment.

The environmental protection industry is alert to the rapid expansion of foreign waste. Industry insiders have being calling on the countries to tighten laws and regulations on public health and safety, control plastic waste imports, and crack down on illegal smuggling of harmful waste.

Marriott’s websites, apps reopen after correcting wrongly listed parts of Chinese territory as countries

The cyberspace administration of Shanghai said on Wednesday that Marriott International has almost finished inspection on the content of its Chinese website and app, after it was investigated for categorizing Chinese territories as countries in a mail questionnaire, angering its Chinese members, Xinhua reported.

Marriott said it will reopen its app on Jan. 18 after a seven-day shutdown ordered by Shanghai authorities.

The U.S.-based hotel corporation said it will give its Chinese staff more responsibilities to supervise information releases, especially China-related information, and improve the information approval process.

Marriott will lead its staff to enhance awareness about China’s Cybersecurity Law and other related laws and regulations, and strictly implement them. Meanwhile, it will carefully inspect the online services provided by third-party organizations in the future.

The corporation also pledged to abide by Chinese laws and regulations, fully fulfill its legal duties as an online information provider in China, and strengthen training and education on China among its staff around the globe.

Marriott will establish a channel to better reflect customer suggestions and feedback to hotel operators via both its Chinese website and app. In addition, Marriott’s communication with the Chinese government will be enhanced, and it will actively seek advice and guidance from it.

Marriott sent out a mail questionnaire to its Chinese members last Tuesday morning, which listed Tibet, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan as options under the question: “Which country are you from?” Screenshots of the questionnaire posted on microblog site Weibo soon went viral and stirred a strong public backlash.

Later, the cyberspace administration and market supervision bureau of Shanghai’s Huangpu District said that they had conducted interviews with the hotel company’s representatives in China, and ordered all related content to be removed from its website and mobile app.

China a top destination for increasing number of Vietnamese traveling abroad for Tet holiday

A middle-aged Vietnamese woman gazes at pop-ups on her laptop advertising outbound tours during Tet, Vietnam’s New Year festival, which falls in mid-February following the lunar calendar like Chinese Lunar New Year.

She is one of many Vietnamese who are planning to run away from mundane choirs to exotic destinations for the country’s most important annual holiday.

Many outbound tours during Tet, including those to China, are almost fully booked, because more and more Vietnamese visitors are opting for international destinations to celebrate the holiday, leading local travel agencies said on Friday.

“Our weeklong tour to Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou starting on Lunar New Year’s Eve [February 15] has only four berths for booking,” the Viet Media Travel Corporation told Xinhua on Friday, noting that the price of the tour is 22 million Vietnamese dong ($973).

Viet Media Travel is also offering a four-day tour to Beijing departing from Ho Chi Minh City on February 14 (two days before Tet) at a price of 12 million dong. A similar tour to Beijing hosted by the corporation, but starting on February 13, is already fully booked.

“Regarding Beijing, many Vietnamese people, both young and old, like to visit, climb and walk along the Great Wall, witness the traditional architecture and antiques in the Forbidden City and enjoy eating and shopping at Wangfujing,” the corporation said.

Flight demand

Tours to China offered by other local travel agencies are also selling like hot cakes. Some agencies even said that if Vietnamese, Chinese and other foreign airlines had more flights to China, they would offer more China-bound tours.

“Depending on the availability of flights to China, we will offer tours to farther destinations in March or April,” Gia Linh, a salesperson from the Fiditour Joint Stock Company, a Vietnamese tour operating company, told Xinhua on Friday. She added that tours to nearby destinations are already fully booked.

Vietnam will launch more direct air routes to Chinese cities, including Southwest China’s Chongqing, Dalian in Northeast China’s Liaoning Province, Haikou in South China’s Hainan Province and Wuhan in Central China’s Hubei Province, by 2020, according to a scheme dedicated to developing direct air routes between Vietnam and key countries and regions of the world. The scheme was recently approved by the Vietnamese government.

China Eastern Airlines, which operates more than 20 direct routes between China and Vietnam with 60 regular flights a week, is currently focusing on routes between Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City and East China’s Shanghai as well as Kunming in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province.

There are also regular routes between Vietnam’s central Da Nang City and Kunming and Beijing, as well as between Vietnam’s capital Hanoi and Kunming, said the airlines’ representative in Vietnam.

Fiditour said it expected a 30 percent rise in the number of bookings for Tet tours this year, including inbound and outbound ones.

So far, bookings have taken up 75 percent of its tours planned for Vietnamese New Year.

Another Vietnamese tourism company, Vietravel, said it had sold 65 percent of its outbound tours and 55 percent of its domestic tours for Tet.

This year, Vietravel is organizing outbound tours via charter flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Ningbo in East China’s Zhejiang Province, Thailand’s Phuket and Chiang Mai, and Japan’s Fukushima. According to many Vietnamese people, they will opt for international tours for the upcoming Tet holiday instead of staying at home, as traditionally done throughout the past.

“Tet is a great occasion for families to get together and for visiting relatives. But the whole family can spend time together at a tourist attraction and enjoy exotic landscapes and food there, while avoiding anything humdrum,” said Phi Thi Nguyet, who works at the call center of Hanoi-based My Dinh Taxi Company.

“With a limited budget, during this Tet, my family can afford a tour to Thailand or Cambodia. If our company offers us a big Tet bonus, we will book a tour to China because we admire the beauty of Chinese architecture and arts,” she smiled.

According to statistics from the Vietnam Tourism Association, 6.5 million Vietnamese people toured overseas in 2016, up 15 percent compared to 2015, and spent $7-8 billion there. Their favorite destinations included China, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea and Japan.

In recent years, long-haul tours to Europe, the US and Australia have also been luring more and more Vietnamese visitors.
Newspaper headline: New Year in Paradise

Source: Xinhua – Global Times

E-commerce giant to invest $3.1 billion to boost northeast China

Liu Qiangdong, chairman of e-commerce giant JD.com, says his company will invest over 20 billion yuan ($3.1 billion) to boost the economy in northeast China by promoting industrial upgrade, creating new jobs, and improving retail services, Beijing-based news.ynet.com reported.

Liu is full of confidence that his group will play a role in revitalizing northeast China. Earlier this week, Liu met with officials from the three northeastern provinces and discuss details about future cooperation with them.

JD also signed a strategic agreement with Heilongjiang Beidahuang Agriculture Company Limited based in Harbin, the capital city of Heilongjiang province.

The two companies agreed to boost the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, for delivery in Heilongjiang. They also plan to apply drones to agricultural management.

JD’s development model is highly in line with the national strategy of revitalizing northeast China, which clearly states to actively implement the Internet Plus Action Plan, promote e-commerce, boost the chains of supply and demand, and advance modern agriculture in northeast China.

People’s Daily launches Xiongan website

Yang Zhenwu (2nd from right), president of People’s Daily, Wang Dongfeng (2nd from left), secretary of the Hebei Provincial Committee of the CPC, Lu Xinning, deputy editor-in-chief of People’s Daily (1st from right) and Chen Gang, director of the Xiongan New Area administrative committee attend the ceremony.

The online news provider of the Xiongan New Area, a new economic zone southwest of Beijing, was launched on Jan. 16, in a bid to expand media coverage about the area. The website is guided by the People’s Daily and operated by people.cn.

News, policies, data, people, pictures, and other information provided by the website will offer a comprehensive look at Xiongan New Area.

A mobile app of the website was also revealed. At the launching ceremony, People’s Daily signed a strategic agreement with the administrative committee of Xiongan New Area on the construction of a cultural media platform to better publicize construction of the new area.

The website has also launched its English, Russian, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, and Portuguese versions. The Xiongan New Area has also opened accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other overseas social media platforms.

Yang Zhenwu gives a speech at the ceremony.

Yang Zhenwu, president of People’s Daily, Wang Dongfeng, secretary of the Hebei Provincial Committee of the CPC, and other officials with People’s Daily and Hebei Province kicked off the website.

Yang expressed his hope for enhancing cooperation and jointly boosting construction of the Xiongan New Area in a speech delivered to the ceremony.

The first goal is to catch the opportunity to better report the area, and set a new example of media partnership between People’s Daily and local governments. To achieve this, Yang said People’s Daily will mobilize its media platforms to help build a first-class media project in the industry.

The second goal is to tell Xiongan stories, draw a beautiful future for Xiongan, and strongly support the area to attract more talents. The third goal is to deeply present the development concept of Xiongan, and to help the construction concept of Xiongan to reach more readers around the globe.

Wang Dongfeng gives a speech at the ceremony.

Wang Dongfeng noted that the establishment of the media center is conducive to spreading Xiongan’s voice to the world and creating a sound public opinion environment for the Xiongan New Area. Hebei is dedicated to building the media center into a first-class media platform with international reputation and influence. The provincial party committee and government will give full-fledge support to the center.

 

Shanghai rolls out more policies to introduce foreign talents

The Ministry of Public Security and the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government have rolled out a plan to woo more overseas high-end talents to work in Shanghai, Chinanews.com reported on Jan 17.

More convenience to apply for permanent Shanghai residency will be provided for core foreign members at top research institutions in Shanghai, said Lou Pengying, deputy director of the Entry and Exit Department under the Public Security Bureau of Shanghai.

Foreign talents will be encouraged to make innovations and start businesses in Shanghai, breaking the restriction that they can work for only one company at a time.

Meanwhile, excellent foreign graduates will be entitled to apply for two-year residency and those who have worked for three consecutive years and satisfy certain qualifications can apply for permanent residency in Shanghai.

Gao Ziping with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences pointed out that in addition to just inviting individuals, more talent groups are being targeted, which is a big breakthrough.

Lou disclosed that Shanghai will plan the country’s first exit and entry affairs center, in order to help foreign talents live and work in Shanghai.

China’s regional jets receive first order from Africa

The China-developed twin-engine regional jet ARJ21 has just received its first order from Africa, according to Chinese news site ThePaper.cn.

As the first customer of the aircraft in Africa, the Republic of Congo sent a delegation of seven officials to China at the invitation of Civil Aviation Administration of China, in a bid to promote bilateral cooperation of civil aviation between the two countries.

The group, led by Congo Republic’s Minister of Transport, Civil Aviation and the Merchant Marine Fidele Dimou, arrived at Chengdu, southwestern China’s Sichuan province, to experience the performance of ARJ21 on a test flight flown by Chengdu Airlines.

Dimou said to experience the flight is the best way to examine the reliability and comfort of the plane.

He noted to accelerate the aviation industry is a national will of the Congo Republic. And he believes in the quality of Chinese products, so the country did not hesitate at all before signing the deal.

“I hope Chengdu Airlines could carry out cooperation with their counterparts in Congo Republic, and help us to better operate the ARJ21 aircraft through its experiences and expertise,” Dimou said.

“We are the first African customer of ARJ21. But I’m sure that Chinese regional jets will receive more orders in the future,” Dimou remarked.

Dimou’s wishes to the ARJ 21 jet

Chinese carmaker ditches Trumpchi model name to avoid Trump link

Chinese carmaker Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (GAC) is changing its brand name Trumpchi to avoid potential link to US President Donald Trump as it plans to tap the US market next year.

Trumpchi, which sold its first model on the Chinese market on December 12, 2010, has no connection with the US president, according to GAC.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the automobile group wants to be the first Chinese carmaker to enter the US market, and Trumpchi is expected to be one of its most prosperous brands.

However, it was decided to ditch the “Trump” name because it is too politically charged for its US venture, the report said.

Earlier this year, the GAC Motor Design Director Zhang Fan told Reuters: “We saw people were laughing at this and took pictures looking only at this detail, and also put on Facebook or other websites.”

In the case of Trumpchi, however, the name appears simply to be a translation spin-off from its Chinese name which is Chuanqi, which is a play on the word “legendary” and loosely translates as “spreading good fortune.”

After receiving negative feedback, the company decided to change it, said Yu Jun, a senior manager of the group.

The company is still working on a new name, Yu added.