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News from China
Chinese Lunar New Year marked across United States
6th February 2016

A new stamp in commemoration of the Chinese Lunar New Year -- the Year of Monkey -- was debuted and put on sale across the United States starting Friday.

The new stamp, created by Kam Mak, 54, an illustrator who was born in Hong Kong and grew up in New York City, features two bright red-orange peonies -- which symbolize wealth and honor in Chinese culture and is used to decorate the traditional drums played during lion dances -- the papercut design of a monkey by late artist Clarence Lee, and the Chinese character for "monkey," which is drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun.
In accordance with the Chinese lunar calendar, the Year of the Monkey begins on Feb. 8, 2016 and ends on Jan. 27, 2017.
The monkey is one of the 12 zodiac animal signs associated with the Chinese lunar calendar. People born in the year of a particular animal sign are thought to share characteristics with that animal. individuals born during the Year of the Monkey are said to be clever, wise, honest and easily adapt to new situations. The 12 animals of the Chiense Zodiac are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
At the D'Angelo Center of St. John's University in New York Friday, the issuing of the commemorative stamp by the United States Postal Service was treated with a special ceremony, where lion, ribbon and fan dances were staged amid heavy drumbeat inside a fourth-floor hall. Some 200 people, mostly students and faculty of the university, were in presence.
The Year of Monkey stamp is the ninth of the 12 stamps in the celebrating Lunar New Year series by USPS. Outside the hall where the ceremony was held Friday, workers were selling the philatelic products from several desks placed at the end of the hallway, including souvenir sheets, first-day cover and framed stamps with first-day-of-issue plaque.
There are now more than 4 million Chinese Americans living across the United States, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
With the Year of the Monkey just two days away, LED displays extending Happy New Year greetings in Chinese are ubiquitous at the famed landmarks in American cities, such as Times Square in Manhattan, New York, and Universal Studios in Los Angeles, California. 
Source: Xinhua
China further loosens QFII rules
5th February 2016

China has further loosened controls over investment of Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (QFII) to further the opening of the domestic capital market.

China relaxed investment quotas for single institutions under QFII programs and allowed for more convenient capital flow, according a new policy released by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE). The rules became effective on Wednesday.
The move aims to improve the convertibility of China's currency, the yuan, in the capital account and facilitate cross-border investment and financing, the SAFE said.
The yuan is convertible for trade purposes under the current account, while the capital account, which covers portfolio investment and borrowing, is still largely controlled by the state over concerns of abrupt capital flows in and out of the country.
To gradually open the capital account, the government introduced the QFII and RMB-denominated Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (RQFII) programs in 2003 and 2011 respectively. 


Source: Xinhua
Chinese yuan strengthens to 6.5419 against USD Thursday
4th February 2016

The central parity rate of the Chinese currency renminbi, or the yuan, strengthened by 102 basis points to 6.5419 against the U.S. dollar on Thursday, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trading System.

In China's spot foreign exchange market, the yuan is allowed to rise or fall by 2 percent from the central parity rate each trading day.
The central parity rate of the yuan against the U.S. dollar is based on a weighted average of prices offered by market makers before the opening of the interbank market each business day.
Source: Xinhua
European Parliament debates China market economy status
2nd February 2016

The European Parliament (EP) on Monday debated whether the European Union should recognize China as a market economy.

China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. The WTO accession protocol means China will automatically transit to a market economy for Europe by Dec. 11, 2016 -- the 15th anniversary of its accession to the organization.
However, Europe insists on having it debated. Some WTO members, such as Australia, have already recognized China as a market economy in their law.
China achieving MES would make it much harder for discriminatory measures against its exports, such as the so-called "anti-dumping" operations by the EU.
In a report to the European Commission (EC), trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom pointed out that 1.38 percent of imports from China into the EU are currently affected by anti-dumping investigations.
The EC is conducting a full impact assessment on the potential effects of China achieving MES.
Helmut Scholz of the left wing GUE/NGL party suggested that the EU negotiate with China outside the WTO to strike a bilateral anti-dumping agreement.
Swedish center-right member Christofer Fjellner said the issue was not whether China should achieve MES but respect for China as a member of the WTO and respect for international trade rules.
"We have to present a proposal that respects the rules, doesn't provoke a trade conflict with China, and is politically implementable," he said.
Speaking for the liberal ALDE group, Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake said some EU politicians have already taken an emotional stance on the issue "to put forward their own protectionist positions, but they seem to forget that the EU has importers as well as exporters who also provide jobs," she said.
Source: Xinhua

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