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News from China
Tianjin FTZ may take in zone in Hebei
26th July 2016

 A pilot economic zone in the northern coastal city of Tianjin could expand to include another industrial zone in neighboring Hebei Province, part of a wider program to drive economic integration around the capital Beijing.

The China (Tianjin) Pilot Free Trade Zone was established in 2015, along with two others in the southeastern province of Fujian and southern province of Guangdong, to test measures including speedier custom clearance, less control on cross-border capital flow and broadened access for foreign investment in China’s service sector.

Currently, three areas in Tianjin make up the Tianjin FTZ, but as authorities aim to drive administrative and economic integration among Tianjin, Hebei and Beijing, the governments in Tianjin and Hebei are applying to include Hebei’s Caofeidian District into the pilot zone.

Adding a new area outside Tianjin would enable measures to benefit more places surrounding Beijing. The inclusion plan is pending approval from the State Council.

Source: Shanghai Daily, July 25, 2016
G20 vows to lift growth despite fears over Brexit
25th July 2016

 THE world’s biggest economies will work to support global growth and better share the benefits of trade, policymakers said yesterday after a meeting in China’s southwestern city of Chengdu that was dominated by the impact of Britain’s exit from Europe and fears of rising protectionism.

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union heightens risks for the world economy, finance chiefs from the Group of 20 leading countries said.

The outcome of June’s referendum “adds to the uncertainty in the global economy,” they said in a communique at the end of two-day meeting of central bankers and government officials in Chengdu.

But they insisted in the communique that G20 countries were “well positioned to proactively address the potential economic and financial consequences” of the vote, adding: “In the future, we hope to see the UK as a close partner of the EU.”

Britain’s new Finance Minister Philip Hammond said the uncertainty about Brexit would begin to abate once Britain laid out a vision for a future relationship with Europe, which could become clearer later this year.

But there could be volatility in financial markets throughout the negotiations in the years ahead, Hammond said.

The communique said Brexit had added to uncertainty in the global economy where growth was “weaker than desirable.” Members, however, were “well positioned to proactively address the potential economic and financial consequences,” it said.

“In light of recent developments, we reiterate our determination to use all policy tools — monetary, fiscal and structural — individually and collectively to achieve our goal of strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.”

The G20 would strengthen the coordination on a stable foreign exchange market, including refraining from competitive devaluations, it said.

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew stressed to his European and British counterparts “the need for negotiations to take place in a smooth, pragmatic and transparent manner.”

“A highly integrated relationship between the UK and the EU is in the best interests of Europe, the United States and the global economy,” he told reporters after the meeting.

On Friday, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde called for quick action to end such uncertainty brought by the British-EU split. She said that turmoil prompted the IMF to cut its forecast of this year’s global growth by 0.1 percentage points.

China’s Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei said every member was putting “pressure on themselves to structure reform due to their responsibilities towards a sustainable economic growth.”

The G20 statement yesterday also cited the importance of reducing excess production capacity in steel and other industries that has led to an overcapacity. That has been a source of tension between China and trading partners who have accused China of exporting steel at low prices.

The communique cited “geopolitical conflicts, terrorism, and refugees” as further sources of economic uncertainty.

Source: Shanghai Daily, July 25, 2016
Pressure on capital outflows dips
22nd July 2016

 PRESSURE on China’s cross-border capital outflows eased during the first half of 2016, new data showed yesterday.

Chinese banks saw a deficit of US$49 billion in foreign exchange sales and purchases in the second quarter, down from US$124.8 billion in the first, according to figures released by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.

This is attributable to the stable macro-economic environment and subdued yuan depreciation expectations, SAFE spokeswoman Wang Chunying said at a news conference.

The narrowed forex sales/purchase deficit reflected an easing of pressure on cross-border capital withdrawal.

“Market sentiment has become more rational. Both Chinese companies and individuals are less willing to acquire foreign exchange,” Wang noted.

But she said cross-border capital movements will remain “basically stable,” due to China’s relatively fast economic growth, sound financial system, good fiscal balance, continuous current account surpluses and ample forex reserves.

China’s economy grew 6.7 percent year on year in the second quarter, flat from the previous quarter and a better reading than many had feared.

Exports and industrial profits have returned to growth, with manufacturing activity picking up and fixed-asset investment accelerating.

The ratio between China’s current account surplus and GDP was 1.6 percent in the first quarter, sharply down from a historic high of 10 percent and staying at an internationally recognized reasonable level.

China has the world’s largest forex reserves of US$3.21 trillion at the end of June, up US$13.4 billion from the end of May.

“Adequate forex reserves provide China with a solid foundation to withstand external shocks,” Wang said.

She denied that Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union had any major impact on China’s cross-border capital movement.

But Wang said China will boost monitoring and improve its policies to prevent any risks arising from cross-border capital movement.

Source: Shanghai Daily, July 22, 2016
EU mulls whether to abolish list
21st July 2016

 THE European Union is mulling whether to abolish its “non-market economy” list, on which China and 14 other countries are included, and set up a new “country-neutral” method to reform its anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation.

The decision was made after the European Commission held the second orientation debate on the treatment of China in anti-dumping investigations as the 15-year-old “surrogate system” is set to expire in December.

“The colleagues have agreed to propose changes to the EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation with the introduction of a new anti-dumping methodology,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said yesterday.

“We are eliminating the existing list of non-market economy countries,” Malmstrom said. “This is a new method, it will be country-neutral and will be applied equally to all WTO countries.”

This would see the EU creating an additional non-standard methodology. This new methodology would lead to approximately the same level of anti-dumping duties as the EU has today, he said.

Source: Shanghai Daily, July 21, 2016

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