Pizza makers in east China give Westerners a taste of home

Because of pizzas especially made to target foreigners’ stomachs, a tiny pizzeria in China’s eastern city of Hangzhou has become a popular place among foreign students living in the city. The small pizzeria, less than 20 square meters in size, is packed with guests from the UK, the US, Italy and France at lunch time. The shop owners, a couple from east Anhui province, speak zero English.

Maritime Silk Road initiative applauded

International representatives on Monday praised China for its pursuit of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which facilitates investment in island countries, while building networks between these distinctive economies.

At the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018 held in South China’s Hainan Province, representatives from countries and regions along the Maritime Silk Road recognized that the Road would improve connectivity and bring huge opportunities.

“In the modern computer age, trade and investment benefit much from software – which is trade and investment … But aside from the software, we also need hardware and that is the Belt and Road [B&R] initiative, which provides infrastructure needed for trade and investment,” former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo told the Global Times on Monday.

Larry Chan, president of Liwayway (China) Co, whose headquarters is in the Philippines, told the Global Times that construction of infrastructure in the Philippines had helped reduce costs, increased his company’s efficiency and competitiveness and had been key to overcoming physical obstacles, especially in the transportation of fresh products.

The Maritime Silk Road connects Thailand with the rest of the world, said Vira Rojpojchanarat, Thailand’s Minister of Culture, at a session of Boao Forum on Monday.

“By connecting with our country’s Eastern Economic Corridor, the China-proposed Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road link tens of million of people in Thailand through infrastructure projects like railways and airports,” Rojpojchanarat said.

John Aquilina, Ambassador of Malta to China, said at the same session that limited resources encumber Malta’s economic growth but the B&R initiative offers a solution.

“A good example is Shanghai Electric Power’s potential acquisition of a 30 percent stake in Malta Resource Co. By shifting an old resource public utility into a modernized one, our major resource will be natural gas instead of diesel in the future, and thus our environment will be greatly improved,” he said.

Eliminating weaknesses

Island countries’ weaknesses – simple industries, relatively small domestic markets and fragile environments – require these countries to forge a community of share future, Chi Fulin, president of the China Institute for Reform and Development, said at the same session.

How to improve connectivity and industrial cooperation while enlarging island economies’ market is crucial at this time, Chi said.

“We can jointly establish a pan- South China Sea tourism cooperation circle. If a breakthrough is made, it will greatly benefit the construction of the Maritime Silk Road,” Chi said.

Given island economies’ reliance on trade and investment, free flow of goods and capital helps release these economies’ growth potential, Chen Xiaodong, China’s assistant foreign minister, said at the same session.

Apart from free trade agreements with countries including Maldives, New Zealand and Singapore, China seeks free trade arrangements with more economies to build open global economy, he said.

As for free trade, Chi said on Monday that Hainan is very likely to launch significant measures to facilitate the opening-up of the services sector.

“With its important location along the Maritime Silk Road, Hainan is expected to launch new measures for all-round opening-up in 2018, with focus on the services sector,” he said, noting that Hainan plans to play a bigger role in the South China Sea region.

One of Hainan’s biggest firms HNA Group, will vigorously support construction of an international tourism island and a pan-South China Sea economic zone with direct flights linking countries and regions along the Maritime Silk Road.

HNA will help transform Hainan into a hub of the Maritime Silk Road with air routes connecting Hainan with ASEAN, the US, Australia and some EU countries, read a statement the firm sent to the Global Times.

Source: Global Times

 

Justin Yifu Lin: China able to maintain 6 percent GDP growth annually in next decade

China is able to maintain annual GDP growth of 6 percent in the next 10 years, Justin Yifu Lin, former chief economist of the World Bank firmly believes, Chinanews.com reported on April 9.

The growth rate is capable of satisfying targets in various aspects related to the Chinese government and the people, Lin said at a breakfast meeting in the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) on April 9.

He said to make that possible, three things are to be done. The first is to build a comparatively prosperous society in a short term. China needs to eliminate poverty, an object needing efforts of not only the government, but also the companies.

Also, financial crisis should be avoided, Lin said, adding that the Chinese government is taking measures to lower leverage for a soft landing.

He also said that the business environment should be improved and that green development should be further promoted. “China must find balance by adhering to green development. Furthermore, an open economy in China will benefit from and benefit the global market,” he explained.

Chinese economic growth should also be inclusive, which can be achieved by further deepening reform and building a modern society based on rule of law.

“China will possibly become the world largest economy, even when exchange rates are taken into consideration,” Lin said. “By then, China’s economy will account for more than 30 percent of global economy annually, becoming a very good opportunity for enterprises and people around the world,” the economist added.

The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia, themed “An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Great Prosperity”, is being held in Boao, South China’s Hainan province.

China should remain cautious over softened Trump trade tone

US President Donald Trump softened his trade tone with China when he tweeted Sunday morning, “President Xi and I will always be friends, no matter what happens with our dispute on trade. China will take down its Trade Barriers because it is the right thing to do. Taxes will become Reciprocal & a deal will be made on Intellectual Property. Great future for both countries!”

Trump’s latest China tweet revealed a lighter tone while being respectful to Chinese President Xi Jinping and China. Meanwhile, Trump’s attitude on the Sino-US trade war is still vague.

Not only did Trump voice his expectations for China to “take down Trade Barriers,” but also indicated the two countries make a deal on “Intellectual Property,” seemingly proposing that both sides should take a step back.

Reducing the trade deficit and demanding that China respect US intellectual property are the two major points Washington has cited as reasons for the new trade war.

On April 4, Trump’s stance on Sino-US trade relations was much harsher. In reference to the trade deficit and intellectual property concerns, Trump tweeted, “We cannot let this continue!”

Three renowned trade experts recently told Global Times they couldn’t figure out the motivation behind the more polished language in Trump’s latest trade tweet, and whether it indicates an attitude change on trade, or is a move aimed at alleviating recent stock market jitters and public discontent.

It is worth noting that China said recent negotiations among trade officials from both countries have not happened. This news alone caused panic throughout US investment communities.

Several major financial indexes have been falling since the China-US trade dispute first started to escalate. Meanwhile, Trump has faced criticism within the Republican Party, and opposition voices in the agriculture and automobile industries are getting louder – trends that are unfavorable to the White House.

All things considered, Washington did not expect such strong reaction from China following the Section 301 investigation into China’s trade practices, which has caused incredible discomfort for the Trump administration.

The White House wanted to use the new tariffs as a way to pressure and sideline China. With the support of right-wing media, the Trump administration tried to create a narrative where negotiations were underway, and Beijing would succumb to US demands.

As the possibility of a China-US trade war increases, American pessimism is on the rise. It seems Trump is hoping to inspire the American public with his latest trade tweet.

In speaking with the Global Times, scholars have mentioned the multitude of information and opinions are part of America’s political culture. Since the China-US trade friction began, part of Washington’s tactic has been to change tones erratically, ranging from “war cry” to using a more careful language. However, we can conclude that Beijing’s strategy by sticking to its principles regardless of room temperature has proven to be an effective strategy.

Many Westerners believe Beijing cares more about its image and reputation than anything else. The Chinese would like to step back, but only if a proper opportunity presents itself. In fact, as trade issues significantly impact China’s future development, its interests remain the most important things to consider.

When it comes to resolving issues, establishing economic development has always been China’s fundamental approach. Therefore, China’s clear self-understanding will always find consistent support.

It is essential for the White House to adopt a fair attitude and understanding toward Sino-US trade. Furthermore, it is a transition that is expected from the business community and the public on both sides.

Source: Global Times

 

‘Robust reply’ needed to US trade peeves

China has become increasingly impatient over US officials’ misleading statements about trade imbalances between the two countries and is watching closely for any measure from the US that could hurt Chinese interests, according to two advisors to the Chinese government.

China should no longer engage in a war of words with the US over misleading trade numbers claimed by US officials and should instead prepare a robust response to US protectionist moves, said the two advisors, who are affiliated with China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).

During a regular press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, warned that China would match the US list of potential trade measures against China.

“The US side has a list, so does the Chinese side,” Geng said, as he reiterated China’s long-held stance that China would not start a trade war, but would not be afraid of one either.

The comments came as trade tensions between China and the US escalated in recent weeks after the US imposed hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and announced potential protectionist measures against Chinese products, drawing a harsh response from China.

China on Tuesday imposed tariffs on $3 billion worth of US goods. The back-and-forth has sparked widespread fears of a potential trade war.

Misleading trade data

But as negotiations are underway between Chinese and US officials, China is increasingly impatient over claims by US officials of exaggerated trade numbers and unreasonable demands.

A recent report from Deutsche Bank showed that US trade data overlooked US companies’ interests in China and that US officials had grossly exaggerated its trade deficit with China.

Citing official US data, the report pointed out that US firms sold $372 billion worth of goods in China in 2015, including $223 billion by subsidiaries in China, which is not accounted for in the US export totals, while Chinese firms sold $402 billion of goods and services to the US in total.

That comes down to a $30 billion deficit for the US, according to the report, which was released on Thursday. That is an extremely low number compared with the $365.7 billion deficit claimed by US officials.

The report noted that US companies such as General Motors and Apple Inc have become more dependent on the Chinese market. In 2017, General Motors sold 4 million cars in China, mostly through its Chinese branch, a lot more than the 3.6 million in the US, while Apple’s user base in China reached 310 million, twice as many as in the US.

“The most damaging retaliation from China would be to punish US business interests in China,” said the Deutsche Bank report.

More than trade deficit

Li Yong, a senior research fellow at the China Association of International Trade under MOFCOM, one of the two aforementioned advisors, said that Chinese and US officials have long discussed the discrepancies in their trade data calculations, but US officials showed no concern over adopting outdated methods, and had used misleading numbers to pressure China.

“There is no need for never-ending talk about the numbers. We will look at their actions and respond strongly,” Li told the Global Times on Tuesday. “It’s quite clear that the US’ intention was not just to address the trade imbalance, but also to constrain China, because China’s rise poses competition for the US.”

Mei Xinyu, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under MOFCOM, the other advisor as mentioned above, also said that the US government is not looking after its companies’ interests; instead it was putting their nationalistic goals first.

While reiterating that China is open to negotiations at the press briefing on Tuesday, Geng, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson, also urged the US to be respectful and avoid coercive tactics.

“Negotiations must be conducted with mutual respect and equal treatment. It’s not about one side being unilaterally coerced by the other… It’s not about asking for sky-high prices and importunate demands,” he said.

Source: Global Times

Enterprises say they will look for goods to replace US products

China suspended tariff concessions on 128 US products including pork and fruits starting April 2, according to the Ministry of Finance. The tariffed American goods will value to $3 billion based on statistics in 2017.

Before the decision became official, it was supported by the Chinese public, with a lot of people mailing or calling the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) to show their support. Some of them even suggested that the measures should be tougher at the time when the ministry was soliciting public opinions, said a spokesperson of the MOC.

Li Yong, president of China Association of International Trade, said China’s retaliatory measures were taken according to the principle of reciprocity under the trade rules of the World Trade Organization.

The list of items does not cover larger-scale US products, indicating both China’s restraint and determination for retaliation, Li said.

A Carrefour store in eastern Beijing has not yet raised prices of US fruits and nuts as of April 2. The domestic supplier, based in Guangzhou, said it will communicate with the US supplier about strategic price adjustments.

“We haven’t raised our prices on the first day of tariff increases. We are negotiating with our US suppliers, hoping they could make some compromises,” said a marketing manager of the company surnamed Huang.

Huang said he doesn’t expect a trade “war”, which will increase costs and lower profits for his company. But he also said if the war is on, his company will consider replacing products that they use which are from US brands with products from Thailand, Vietnam and even domestic brands.

“We understand our country’s retaliatory measures and as Chinese we don’t want our country’s interests to be hurt by other countries,” he said.

Besides fruits and pork, 33 items on the list were steel products, mainly stainless steel tubes.

The China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) had urged the government to take tough measures to prevent the domestic market from being hurt by US-imported steel when the latter announced the Section-232 investigation.

An employee with the CISA said a public announcement has yet to be made, while an employee with Taiyuan Iron and Steel (Group) Co., Ltd who preferred his name undisclosed said China’s tariff measures on US products will inject confidence into domestic industries.

According to statistics provided by marketing organization LangeSteel.com, in 2017, the US exported 83,600 tons of steel products to China, in which stainless steel tubes weighed 18,800 tons, 22.4 percent of the total volume.

Xu Liying, an analyst with LangeSteel.com, said stainless steel tubes were chosen as the main item for tariff retaliation because they were the main type of US products exported to China, in terms of the volume and the value.

In 2017, US steel products worth 567 million yuan were imported to China, and the value of stainless steel tubes was 115 million yuan, Xu said.

She added that the total volume of stainless steel tubes exported to China from the US is not large. In 2017, China’s import value of stainless steel tubes from the US accounted for only 10 percent of the country’s total stainless steel tube imports.

Therefore, Xu thinks the new tariff measures will not have big impact on domestic enterprises, suggesting them to use products from other countries in order to replace US products after the new measures are implemented.

China’s ban on imported waste to spur global environmental campaigns

China’s recent ban on imported waste has aroused broad international attention. Some countries which are no longer able to dispose such huge amounts of trash even criticized China groundlessly.

However, justice always prevails as there are also rational voices supporting China saying the world should be grateful to China since this current move to ban waste will spur large-scale global environmental campaigns.

At present, China is a major destination for the world’s waste. The United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database indicated that over 70% of the world’s plastic waste and 37% of the world’s paper waste ended up in China in 2015, while Europe and the US were the major sources of such waste.

Paris Match Belgique reported that about 2/3 of the trash produced by Europe were recycled, and the rest went to China. Each year, China imported nearly 50 million tons of waste, including 9 million tons of waste plastic.

The UK has exported a total of 2.7 million tons of waste plastic since 2012, 2/3 of the country’s total trash volume, said The Guardian.

However, China is gradually changing the current situation, and its ban on imported waste has forced the western world to take new measures on garbage disposal.

A Paris Match report said that the ban will change the face of the world’s recycling industry, and that garbage classification methods will be further segmented in the future.

Some of the developed countries have already enhanced their garbage classification methods in order to meet China’s increasingly strict standards on waste imports. The US has even started utilizing artificial intelligence technology to sort some forms of trash, said Frank Brill, a US expert environmental lobbyist.

Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme noted that China’s ban is a signal for wealthy countries to strengthen their recycling systems.

The impact of the ban on trash exporters is self-evident, said Financial Times, adding that the European Union (EU) is likely to make a quick response and put a levy on plastic bags.

On Jan. 23, the EU issued its first plan on plastic waste disposal, aiming to make all packaging reusable or recyclable by 2030.

The UK has also pledged to eradicate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042 as part of the government’s 25-year plan to improve the natural environment.

“Though the effect of garbage disposal is not immediate, China has made valuable attempts,” some media commented.

As a matter of fact, the transfer of polluting industries from developed countries to less-developed countries is not something unique to China. For example, the rivers of Bangladesh have also been polluted by waste water discharged from local textile factories and there are many more similar stories around the world.

China’s ban on imported goods will probably change the current situation. Spanish newspaper El País believes that the ban will help reduce environmental pollution and enhance China’s recycling industry.

China’s 2018 economic growth predicted at 6.8 percent: major state-owned banks

China’s GDP growth for 2018 is forecasted at around 6.8 percent, according to a report from the Institute of International Finance of Bank of China (BOC) on March 28, China News Agency reported.

The growth was predicted at 6.7 percent by BOC at the end of 2017. Forecasts for the country’s GDP growth in the first quarter of this year put it at 6.9 percent, while in the second quarter it may be around 6.8 percent.

Growth in industry, consumption, investment and export, key economic area indicators, speed up in the first three months of this year, influenced by strong exterior demands, growth of new drivers, and the picking up of real estate sector and private investment.

In the second quarter, the country’s economy will grow steadily, with new growth drivers continuing to emerge and rapid growth, and consumption gaining policy support, said Zhou Jingtong, a senior researcher with the international finance institute of BOC.

In Pics: World’s first ring high-speed railway in southern China

Photo shows the 653-kilometer-long ring high-speed railway in Hainan province of southern China. The line runs along almost all the important cities and famous landscapes in the province. The rail began operation at the end of 2015 and transported 25 million passengers in 2017. The rail has tackled many technical difficulties including prevention of sea water erosion, high temperatures and humidity, as well as thunders and earthquakes.

Shanghai aims at being Belt and Road investment and financing center

Shanghai will strive to become an investment and financing center of the Belt and Road Initiative by actively pushing forward reform and innovation of free trade zones (FTZs), said chief economist of the Shanghai Development and Reform Commission, Xinhua News Agency reported on March 27.

If financial risks are controllable, the city will further improve its ability to serve the Belt and Road Initiative financially and build itself into a global financial service center with a focus on renminbi-denominated financial products, said the economist Qin Liping, at a seminar of Belt and Road Initiative financial services on March 27.

By the end of 2017, Shanghai’s Cross-border Interbank Payment System (CIPS) had already attracted 508 indirect participators from 41 countries and regions. The second phase of the CIPS was launched in Shanghai on March 26 to promote the global use of the Chinese currency as well as the Belt and Road Initiative itself.

Financial integration is an important aspect of the Belt and Road Initiative. By the end of 2017, a total of 288.6 billion yuan worth of transactions between China and countries and regions along the Belt and Road have been handled via free trade accounts.

Shanghai is actively taking measures to draw more financial institutions to join the construction of the Belt and Road, and strengthening financial ties with countries and regions along the Belt and Road, said Li Jun, deputy head of the Shanghai Municipal Financial Services Office.

The city will also build a reserve warehouse for major Belt and Road projects, and establish a global risk management platform to involve more parties into managing risks for Belt and Road projects, said Zhong Gang, President of China Development Bank (CDB) Shanghai Branch.

This year, Shanghai will extend the range applicable entities for free trade accounts to more enterprises in need, including entity companies involved in the construction of the Belt and Road as well as companies with demand for international settlements and financing.