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News from China
China leads emerging economies in latest global competitiveness ranking: WEF report
9th October 2019

 China is by far the best performer among the five BRICS economies in terms of competitiveness, said the World Economic Forum (WEF) Wednesday in the latest annual report assessing the productivity and long-term growth of 141 economies.

 
China ranks 28th among the world economies, 15 places ahead of the Russia, 32 places ahead of South Africa and some 40 places ahead of both India and Brazil, showed the 2019 Global Competitiveness Report by the WEF.
 
China's position in the ranking was unchanged from last year, but its overall score increased by 1.3 points, the report showed.
 
The report measured an economy's performance through 103 indicators in 12 "pillars," showing that China has obvious strengths in various areas such as the sheer size of its market, macroeconomic stability, the Information Communication and Technology (ICT) adoption, and increasing innovation capability.
 
In the ICT Adoption, China outperformed 25 of the 36 member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). As to the healthy life expectancy, China scores better than the United States and slightly under the OECD average.
 
With a score of 84.8, Singapore took the crown of the world's most competitive economy this year from the United States.
 
The IMF lowered the US competitiveness to the second place partly due to the country's trade uncertainty, as its trade openness is more than four points lower than that in 2018, according to the report.
 
China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Netherlands and Switzerland are among the top five, followed by Japan, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Denmark, the report showed. 
Source: Shanghai Daily, October 9, 2019
Six years on, Shanghai FTZ bears fruit amid bolder reform
8th October 2019

 From the first batch of made-in-China Tesla to the first foreign-owned comprehensive hospital, the Shanghai free trade zone (FTZ) is advancing toward a higher level of openness since its establishment six years ago.

 
The Lingang area, the newly-launched section of the Shanghai FTZ, is "Tesla's dream city" in the eyes of Tao Lin, Tesla's Global Vice President.
 
Since the world-leading electric carmaker acquired a plot of land in Lingang last October, it has accomplished plant construction, equipment installation and testing within a year, heading towards the final stage of production and delivery.
 
The main body of the Tesla Shanghai gigafactory has been completed, and key workshops such as the stamping, spray-painting and final assembly workshops are already capable of production, said Yuan Guohua, president of the Lingang Group. The first batch of Body-in-White of test vehicles have rolled off assembly lines, and the China-made Tesla Model 3 will be delivered by the end of the year.
 
Tao said that Tesla, through localized procurement, will facilitate the development of the auto parts supply chain and logistics in Lingang.
 
Ma Jun, head of the Lingang factory of Saint-Gobain Sekurit, said that Saint-Gobain invested 20 million yuan (US$2.8 million) in a high-end automotive glass assembly base in Lingang, and the first piece of automotive glass will be produced on October 10.
 
The high-speed development of Tesla in Shanghai will become the norm for companies in the future. According to the Lingang area administrative committee, for the social investment industry projects, it will only take five days from the acquisition of the land to the acquisition of four main construction approval certificates in the near future.
 
A hit music is flowing out from the keyboard of a 6-million-yuan giant piano in the hall of Steinway Asia Pacific in Shanghai Waigaoqiao bonded area in the FTZ. Shortly after, the piano will meet its overseas buyers.
 
"When we first came to China, we were just a small trading company that could only sell a few pianos a year. Now we have upgraded to the Asia Pacific headquarters. Last year, we sold nearly 500 Steinway pianos," said Wang Xin, financial director of Steinway Asia Pacific.
 
With the institutional innovation of the bonded area, companies here enjoy trade facilitation to build multifunctional headquarters, according to Chen Yanfeng with the Shanghai FTZ administrative committee.
 
After expanding its offshore businesses, Steinway can sell German-made pianos directly to customers in Southeast Asia or Australia with great convenience from Shanghai.
 
Through expanded functions such as procurement and sales, trade settlement, and supply chain management, the Shanghai headquarters continue to enhance their resource allocation capabilities in China and global markets. Currently, there are 263 headquarters in the bonded areas of the Shanghai FTZ, accounting for nearly 15 percent of the city's total.
 
On September 26, Shanghai Artemed Hospital, the first foreign-owned general hospital in the Shanghai FTZ, announced its official opening, showing the comprehensive opening up of the FTZ from the manufacturing industry to the service industry.
 
Divided into two phases with about 500 beds, the first phase of the hospital kicked off with 200 beds, specializing in orthopedics and tumors.
 
Pan Feng, executive director of the hospital, said that the hospital is exploring to adopt the DRG payment system in China, which charges a fixed fee to a specific disease.
 
"We hope that this will promote China's health care system reform while reducing patient burdens and health care spending," said Pan.
 
New commercial forms are also constantly emerging in the FTZ. Last week, the Shanghai International Artwork Bonded Service Center was established.
 
Hu Huanzhong, chairman of Shanghai FTZ International Culture Investment and Development Company, said that the institutional innovation of the FTZ has promoted the development of art trade. In 2018, the cultural trade volume of the Shanghai FTZ exceeded 40 billion yuan, increasing 15 times from the beginning.
 
The economic structure of the FTZ is continually optimizing with emerging industries. By the end of 2018, among the existing registered enterprises in the bonded area, there were 9,678 leasing and business service enterprises, an increase of 18.6 percentage points from six years ago, and 2,963 scientific research and technical service enterprises, an increase of 6.4 percentage points from six years ago.
 
In a complicated external economic environment, the contracted foreign investment in the bonded area in 2018 increased by nearly US$2.5 billion. The total profit of the companies in the first half of this year increased by 12 percent year-on-year.
 
Chen said that the bonded area will grow and progress together with the new Lingang area in the future. 
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, October 8, 2019
As the import expo nears, urban teams step up surveillance work
7th October 2019

 The clocking is ticking down on the start of the second China International Import Expo, less than 30 days to go. The Xujing urban management and law enforcement team is ready and waiting.

 
The team has 32 members, including 22 front-line law enforcement staff. Their jurisdiction covers 30 square kilometers, including the National Exhibition and Convention Center in the Qingpu District where the high-profile event will be held from November 5 to 10.
 
The team’s duties span nearly 300 activities, including “cleaning up” areas adjacent to the exhibition center. They have dismantled unauthorized structures in apartment blocks, closed down illegal stalls, cleared unlawful outdoor advertisements, removed junk stored in public spaces and confiscated unauthorized flyers.
 
Zheng Wen, 30, has been a member of the team since 2013.
 
Unlike other women whose mobile phones are full of their own photos, her device is filled with photos of various law enforcement information.
 
She formerly worked in corporate human resources before joining the team.
 
"Law enforcement is a very serious matter and it allows no mistakes," said Zheng. "You may make mistakes in other jobs and you have the chance to remedy them, but when you issue a rectification notice, you must follow it through. You have to keep a clear mind about which legal terms apply in different cases."
 
The team’s workload is indeed heavy. Members work weekends and holidays, and each was on duty at least one day during the National Day holiday.
 
The law enforcement officials spend most of their time outdoors, no matter what the weather.
 
A special team for the preparation of CIIE, including Zheng, was formed in 2015.
 
"At times, I was so busy that I didn’t have time to go to the toilet," said Zheng of various assignments the team has been given.
 
But the hard work has paid off.
 
Xiewei Road near the expo venue used to be dirty and rundown area, filled with jerry-built illegal structures. It took Zheng and her colleagues about two months to clear it all out. The road today is neat and orderly.
 
"It is quite a relief to see the environment now and feel our efforts were worthwhile,” said Zheng.
 
Zheng is the only woman on the team.
 
“My parents tried to persuade me to find a less demanding job, but my mind was made up,” she said. "Compared with my male counterparts, I have some advantages. Sometimes it’s easier for a woman to communicate with others, especially in situations where tempers are flaring.”
 
In 2015, she had no rest for 10 days during the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition at the National Exhibition and Convention Center. She patrolled the streets on the lookout for illegal street vendors and unlawful ad flyers. She even got into a tussle once with an illegal street vendor.
 
The team recently waged a campaign against irregularities in home rentals and the practice of switching residential properties to businesses near the exhibition center.
 
They have also stepped up the crackdown on the illegal dumping of construction wastes and leakage of construction waste near the convention site.
 
The crackdown on illegal ads resulted in the removal of 82 LED screens in Xujing Town and 19 illegal billboards on Xuling Road. Fifty sign boards at Jinyun Village were also cleared.
 
The team has also been involved in fining residents and businesses that don’t comply with the city’s new trash-sorting rules. Some 26 cases have resulted in fines of 117,500 yuan (US$16,480).
 
Most team members were born in the 1970s and 80s. The majority don’t live in the expo area and have to commute up to an hour a day to work.
 
The team responds to all public complaints.
 
"Complaints that go to us account for up to 80 percent of total complaints in Qingpu," said Wang Jian, another law enforcement official of the team. "There are many construction sites in the area, and flying dust and night construction disturbs nearby residents."
 
It took Wang and his colleagues a whole year to eliminate illegal night food stalls in Xujing Town.
 
"They kept coming back after we closed them down,” he said.
 
Wang said officers responding to complaints about unauthorized structures at residential blocks sometimes involve uncooperative residents. 
 
"They keep their doors closed when we visit, and a few have cursed us," he said. “Sometimes, those involved have been living overseas.”
 
The team liaises with land planning authorities to ascertain whether structures are illegally built. In cases where greenery is damaged, Wang said team members seek guidance from municipal greenery authorities to determine whether flora is on any protection list.
 
During the first import expo, the team patrolled 1,224 streets, and conducted 851 inspections. More than 400 people were stopped for irregularities.
 
Citywide, 3,571 irregularities regarding the expo site were identified by Shanghai Urban Management and Law Enforcement between January and August. More than 1,600 cases of illegal vendors, illegal structures and signboards were handled. The rest will be corrected before mid-October, the bureau said.
 
"The city's urban management and law enforcement teams will focus on 90 main streets, 35 landscape areas, 80 hotels and seven transport hubs in the area of expo,” said Xu Zhihu, director of the bureau. "Intelligent urban management methods will be used to improve efficiency, and day-and-night patrols will be implemented during the event."
 
He concluded, "The goal is to attain the highest standard of urban management and best environment."
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, October 7, 2019
China's farm produce trade deficit widens in first 8 months
4th October 2019

 China continued to see expansion of trade deficit in farm produce in the first eight months of 2019, official data showed.

 
Farm produce trade deficit increased 13 percent year on year to reach US$48.42 billion in the January-August period, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
 
Imports came in at US$98.15 billion, up 4.5 percent year on year, while exports amounted to US$49.73 billion, down 2.7 percent.
 
Total trade in farm produce grew 1.9 percent year on year to US$147.88 billion during this period, the ministry said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, October 4, 2019

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