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News from China
China's industrial profits fall in first 2 months
27th March 2019

 Profits of China's major industrial firms fell 14 percent year on year in the January-February period, the National Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday.

Combined profits of industrial firms with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan (US$2.98 million) stood at 708.01 billion yuan in the first two months of 2019, the NBS data showed.
Zhu Hong, an NBS senior statistician, attributed the decline to lower profits at some major industries and disruptions caused by the Spring Festival holiday in February.
"After being adjusted for the Spring Festival factor, the profits of major industrial firms were basically flat or slightly down from the same period of last year," an NBS statement quoted Zhu as saying.
Source: Shanghai Daily, March 27, 2019
A gift from Macron to Xi, a friend from afar
26th March 2019

 "It is a pleasure to have friends coming from afar," the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius said in The Analects of Confucius, a collection of his ideas and sayings.

This Chinese classic has now been given to a friend from afar as a national gift of France. That friend is Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is on a state visit to the European country.
The original French version of "An Introduction to The Analects of Confucius," published in 1688, was presented to Xi as a national gift by his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, when the two leaders met on Sunday in Nice, France.
Xi said he would take this precious gift back to China's National Library.
The early translations of The Analects of Confucius had inspired French thinkers Montesquieu and Voltaire, said Macron. The only other remaining book from this version is now kept at his country's Guimet National Museum of Asian Arts.
The soaring popularity of this Confucius classic in France is a good example of the long-standing cultural communication between the two countries.
Former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing once told Xinhua that he had read many Chinese classics, among which The Analects of Confucius would often be by his bedside.
Apart from economic and trade cooperation, cultural exchanges are also an important part of the France-China ties, he said.
At the Paris Phoenix bookstore, customers could easily find various Chinese books.
Florine Marechal, a bookstore staffer, said the French versions of books like The Analects of Confucius are popular among many French readers, including herself.
Marechal said she has been learning Chinese for seven years out of her passion for Chinese culture and literature, and gave herself a Chinese name, Fu Yating, which means elegance and grace.
She likes reading Chinese books like The Analects of Confucius, as well as the works of other modern Chinese writers like Lu Xun and Ba Jin.
Back in 2014, which marked the 50th anniversary of the China-France diplomatic ties, Xi wrote in a preface for a Chinese cultural relics exhibition in France that the enhancement of cultural exchanges of the two nations, both representing Eastern and Western civilizations, would consolidate public support for developing bilateral relations, improve the two cultures and forge diversified global civilizations.
In that same year, The Analects of Confucius was voted as one of the 10 most influential Chinese books in France.
According to Joel Bellassen, who involved in the voting as the general inspector of Chinese language at the French Ministry of National Education, the popularity of learning Chinese in France is closely related to historical bonds of the two countries.
Aside from the well-known collection, the emerging Confucius Institutes are also associated with this great Chinese philosopher by French or European people as 131 Confucius Institutes and 251 Confucius Classrooms have been established in the European Union, among which 16 Confucius Institutes and two Confucius Classrooms are in France.
The country is one of the earliest to bring Chinese language teaching into the national educational system under a teaching syllabus designed by its education authorities.
Source: Shanghai Daily, March 26, 2019
Apple chief lauds China's opening-up
25th March 2019

 Apple CEO Tim Cook is “extremely bullish” about the global economy based on the amount of innovation underway, and applauds China’s policy of opening-up.

In a speech at an economic forum in Beijing on Saturday, Cook said Apple is less concerned with the short-term economic outlook because the tech giant makes investments looking ahead years or decades.
“In the long term, I’m extremely bullish. I think the key to the economy, unlocking its potential has always been innovation, and when I travel around the world, I’ve never seen innovation at a more feverish pace than I do today, so I’m extremely optimistic,” Cook told participants at the China Development Forum, a gathering of business leaders.
His remarks come as China and the US prepare to meet again to resolve their trade dispute, which has roiled global markets.
He said one of the key elements of a partnership is openness and trust, “being open to working together, open to new ideas, open to new solutions.”
“We’ve seen China continue to change and evolve, and we are grateful that you have opened your doors to us and allowed us to be part of the community here,” Cook told an audience of senior government officials, company executives and scholars.
Apple sees China’s continuous opening-up as essential not only for China to reach its full potential but also for the global economy to thrive, he said.
China is a major market for Apple and other smartphone makers, accounting for one-third of the industry’s global handset shipments.
In other comments, Cook said the world was “facing greater challenges than ever before.”
“Climate change is threatening our planet, poverty and inequality hold citizens and nations back from their potential, basic health care remains out of reach for millions,” he said.
“At the same time ... we can have a healthy planet and a thriving economy. We can continue to lift millions of people out of poverty, and we can give everyone a chance to learn and thrive. To fulfill this potential, we must all work hand in hand, government, academic institutions and businesses like Apple,” Cook said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, March 25, 2019
China, US set for new round of talks
22nd March 2019

 China and the United States will hold their eighth round of high-level economic and trade consultations in Beijing next Thursday and Friday, the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were invited to visit China for the talks, ministry spokesman Gao Feng told a news conference.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chief of the Chinese side of the China-US comprehensive economic dialogue, was invited to visit Washington for the ninth round of talks in early April, Gao said.
Recently, both sides have held several rounds of talks on phone on economic and trade issues and agreed on holding the eighth and ninth rounds of high-level consultations, he said.
The face-to-face talks will be the first since late February when US President Donald Trump delayed a March 1 deadline to avert an increase in tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent from the current 10 percent, citing “very productive” trade talks between the two countries.
After months of escalating trade frictions with the US slapping extra tariffs on Chinese imports and China responding with retaliatory measures, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump agreed during their December meeting in Argentina that the two countries should strive to reach a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement within 90 days to break the impasse.
In order to realize that goal, Chinese and US trade negotiators have since accelerated their talks.
Also yesterday, the commerce ministry said China’s foreign trade is expected to register steady growth in the first quarter of 2019, with the growth of imports and exports accelerating earlier this month.
Customs data showed the country’s goods trade surged 24.7 percent year on year in the first eight days of March.
China’s foreign trade saw rising momentum despite increasing external uncertainties, Gao said.
During the first two months, the country’s foreign trade amounted to US$622.72 billion, down 3.9 percent year on year.
Imports and exports usually fluctuate in the month when the Spring Festival falls according to historical data, the spokesman said.
China’s goods trade rebounded strongly after the Spring Festival this year, customs data showed.
Foreign trade in the first two months was also influenced by the China-US trade frictions as some enterprises tended to front-load imports and exports in the second half of 2018, Gao said.
The commerce ministry also said it is working with other authorities in preparing relevant rules to ensure the successful implementation of the foreign investment law.
It is reviewing and reorganizing current regulations on foreign investment management, the spokesman said.
The ministry will listen attentively to comments and suggestions from foreign-invested enterprises and other relevant parties during the rule-making process, he said.
China’s national legislature passed the foreign investment law at the closing meeting of its annual session on March 15.
The law, a landmark legislation that will provide stronger protection and a better business environment for overseas investors, will become effective on January 1, 2020.
Source: Shanghai Daily, March 22, 2019

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