BEIJING, June 25, 2018 (News Wires) - The European Union and China pledged on Monday to uphold a rules-based international trade system, making an oblique criticism of growing protectionism in Washington despite their own disagreements.
The two sides held high-level economic meetings in Beijing as both face rising trade tensions with the United States. Brussels and Beijing recently announced new tariffs on US goods in retaliation for moves by the Trump administration.
"Both sides agreed to resolutely oppose unilateralism and protectionism and prevent such practices from impacting the world economy and even dragging the world economy into recession," said Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, responsible for shepherding the world's second largest economy.
Liu had led China's three rounds of trade talks with the US, negotiations that have broken down over the Trump administration's pledge to move forward with tariffs despite an agreement in May to put the duties on hold.
"Unilateralism and trade protectionism is on the rise and tensions have appeared in the economic relations between major economies," Liu told an audience of European and Chinese officials.
European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen echoed Liu's words, describing the World Trade Organisation "as the centre of the rules-based international trading system".
Even as the two sides seek common ground on combating the US moves, there are deep divisions between them. EU companies and officials harbour concerns about Beijing's policies that are shared by their counterparts in Washington.
"We need more than just talk, we need to demonstrate adherence to international trading rules," said Katainen, proposing reforms to develop new rules for a "global level playing field" in key areas such as "industrial subsidies".
Beijing's industrial policies such as the "Made in China 2025" project, which is designed to transform China from a maker of sports shoes and denims into high-tech goods, is a major concern in Washington and stands at the heart of proposed new US tariffs on China.
"The two sides committed to defend the multilateral trading system that is centred on the WTO and based on rules," said Liu, acknowledging the need to maintain fair market access.
Katainen called on Liu to go further in removing market access barriers for companies and preventing overcapacity in high-tech sectors "covered by the Made in China 2025 strategy". He demanded that all industries enjoy equal treatment.
BEIJING, June 24, 2018 (News Wires) - China's central bank said on Sunday it would cut the amount of cash that some banks must hold as reserves by 50 basis points (bps) to accelerate the pace of debt-for-equity swaps and stimulate lending to smaller businesses.
The reserve reduction, the third by the central bank this year, had been widely anticipated by investors amid concerns over market liquidity and a potential economic drag from trade disputes with the United States.
The targeted cut in some banks' reserve requirement ratios (RRRs) - currently 16 percent for large banks and 14 percent for smaller banks - will take effect on July 5, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said in Sunday's online statement.
The central bank said targeted RRR cuts will release about 500 billion yuan ($77 billion) for the country's five large state banks and 12 national joint-stock commercial banks. Lenders are encouraged to use the money to conduct debt-for-equity swaps, it said.
China's policymakers have been pushing for debt-for-equity swaps since late 2016 to ease pressures from over-borrowing by struggling firms. The country's top banks have rushed to sign deals with state-owned enterprises to ease their debt burden and give them time to turn around their business and improve their creditworthiness.
RRR cuts will also release about 200 billion yuan in funding for mid-sized and small banks to increase lending to credit-strapped small businesses, the PBOC said.
The combined 700 billion yuan liquidity injection into the banking sector has exceeded the market anticipated 400 billion yuan, according to Huatai Securities.
"The intensity of the move exceeded market expectations," Wang Jun, Beijing-based chief economist at Zhongyuan Bank, said.
"This move will help support the real economy and stabilise financial markets. We've seen rising debt defaults and funding strains on small firms, as well as a sharp adjustment in the capital market."
But the latest reserve cut signalled a "policy fine-tuning," not a policy reversal, Wang said.
The central bank said it will maintain prudent and neutral monetary policy as it seeks to cultivate an appropriate monetary and financial environment for China's economic growth and supply-side structural reforms.
The authorities have also kept monetary policy in neutral gear as they continue to clamp down on high corporate debt levels and risky lending practices that might harm China´s financial system.
The latest reserve cut follows a surprise cut in bank reserve requirements in April even though China's economy grew a faster-than-expected 6.8 percent in the first quarter.
Chinese policymakers have since said that the country will use targeted RRR cuts to boost financing to struggling smaller firms, as well as other measures.
The latest RRR cut is set to take effect a day before the United States and China are expected to begin collecting increased tariffs on respective lists of goods.
Fears of a full-blown trade war with Washington have magnified concerns about the outlook for the world's second-largest economy, following weaker-than-expected growth data for May and as a regulatory crackdown in its third year starts to weigh on business activity.
Net exports overall were already a drag on growth in the first quarter after giving an added boost to the economy last year, highlighting the need for sustained strength in domestic demand if significant new U.S. tariffs are imposed.
However, on the domestic front, the government's multi-year risk clampdown has slowly pushed up borrowing costs and is restricting alternative, murkier funding sources for companies such as shadow banking.
BEIJING, June 23, 2018 (News Wires) - China must lead the way in reforming global governance, the foreign ministry on Saturday cited President Xi Jinping as saying, as Beijing looks to increase its world influence.
China has sought a greater say in global organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and United Nations, in line with its growing economic and diplomatic clout.
Since taking office in late 2012, Xi has taken a more muscular approach, setting up China's own global bodies like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and launching his landmark Belt and Road project to build a new Silk Road.
Beijing has cast itself a responsible member of the international community, especially as President Donald Trump withdraws the United States from agreements on climate change and Iran, and as Europe wrestles with Brexit and other issues.
China must "uphold the protection of the country's sovereignty, security and development interests, proactively participate in and show the way in reform of the global governance system, creating an even better web of global partnership relationships", Xi said in comments reported at the end of a two-day high-level Communist Party meeting.
This would help create conditions for building a modern, strong socialist country, the ministry cited him as saying at the meeting attended by officials from the foreign and commerce ministries, the military, the propaganda department and the Chinese embassy in the United States.
While Xi did not provide details, the statement cited him as mentioning the importance of the Belt and Road, and other key diplomatic platforms like his "community of common destiny", a lofty concept meant to guide China's relations with the world.
This proposes a "new style" of international relations is proposed that is "win-win" and of "mutual benefit" for all, but many Western nations remain critical of China's behavior over issues such as the contested waters of the South China Sea.
Xi added that China must strengthen its relations with developing nations, who he described as natural allies, but also learn from all other nations.
He made no direct mention of issues like the trade dispute between China and the United States, North Korea, or self-ruled Taiwan, claimed by Beijing as its own and considered China's most sensitive territorial and diplomatic issue.
BEIJING, June 23, 2018 (News Wires) - China's trade with North Korea in the first five months of 2018 fell 56.8 percent from a year earlier to $887.4 million, customs data showed on Saturday.
Imports from North Korea fell 87 percent to $94.3 million in January-May.
China's May total trade with North Korea was $230.87 million, compared with $173.7 million in the previous month.
China's exports to North Korea were $217.2 mln million in May while imports from North Korea were $13.65 million, the data showed.
CAIRO, June 22, 2018 (MENA) - Thirteen Egyptian students of Ain Shams University will take part in innovation and entrepreneurship camp at China's Southwest University.
The participation of the Egyptian students comes within the framework of the university fulfillment of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi's directives during Sharm El Sheikh youth conference.
According to Esraa el Sayed of Ain Shams Unversity, the participation of the students in the camp is a result of cooperation with the Chinese university.
SEOUL, June 21, 2018 (News Wires) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed measures to bolster “strategic and tactical” cooperation between the two countries in a second meeting on Wednesday, the North’s state media said on Thursday.
The meeting between Kim and Xi came on the North Korean leader’s second and last day of his latest visit to Beijing, where he briefed the Chinese president on his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore last week.
They exchanged “serious views” on the present and “new” situation, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
On Tuesday, Kim and Xi were reported by North Korean media to have reached an understanding on the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula after discussing the outcome of the U.S.-North Korea summit.
Kim visited an agricultural institute run by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences before meeting Xi on Wednesday, KCNA said, where he observed vegetables being grown inside.
The North Korean leader also visited a traffic control centre in Beijing before departing for Pyongyang on Wednesday afternoon, KCNA said. The visits to the two locations were also reported by Chinese media.
Kim has pledged to make the economy in North Korea a priority after he announced the achievement of a long-held ambition to develop nuclear weapons. North Korean media has frequently stressed advancements made in its agricultural and industrial sectors in recent months.
The official China Daily newspaper said in an editorial on Thursday ties between the two countries have “radiated new vitality”, and that Kim’s visits to the agricultural and traffic control centres showed the economy was a priority for him.
“Kim’s latest talks with Xi will have reassured him that China stands behind the DPRK as it switches its focus to economic development,” the paper said, using North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
In Singapore, Kim lauded the “clean, beautiful and advanced” nation and said he had learned much from the prosperous country.