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News from China
Next year critical to transformation
26th November 2018
China’s economic growth is expected to hit 6.6 percent this year and slow to 6.3 percent in 2019 as the country seeks to tackle challenges relating to trade and structural reform, economists from Beijing’s Renmin University said in a report.
The predictions published by the China Academy of Social Sciences, are in line with the median forecast in a poll of 73 economists by Reuters last month.
But the economists with Renmin University’s School of Economics warned that China would still face difficulties even if trade tensions with the US were resolved, with the country facing a deteriorating global trade environment, falling export growth and currency depreciation.
China’s GDP grew 6.5 percent year on year in the September quarter. China has tried to encourage commercial banks to boost lending to private firms and take action to ease company financing problems.
The economists said it would be difficult to use short-term measures to alleviate downward economic pressures. While recent policies should prevent a deeper decline in growth next year, a new round of supply-side reforms was needed.
They predicted that 2019 would be critical in the restructuring of China’s economy and its long-term transition to a slower and more high-quality growth model.
The report said next year should also see a rebalancing of China’s foreign trade, with imports likely to soar 16.1 percent, compared with a 6.1 percent rise in 2018.
Liu Yuanchun, dean of Renmin University’s School of Economics, said the steady decline in China’s savings rate and the stimulation of domestic consumption were now more important factors in the country’s economic development than investment.
The report said Chinese consumer spending was expected to rise 9 percent next year, outpacing overall growth.
Source: Shanghai Daily, November 26, 2018
WTO decides to investigate US steel and aluminum tariffs
23rd November 2018

 The World Trade Organization has agreed to set up panels at its Dispute Settlement Body to decide whether US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports comply with WTO rules, a Geneva trade official said Thursday.

China and the European Union protested Wednesday along with Mexico, Norway, Russia, Canada and Turkey against measures by Washington which they said are not for national security reasons but for American economic interests.
In June, the United States imposed a duty of 25 percent on steel imports and a 10 percent on aluminum imports from Mexico, Canada and the EU, among other regions, citing a national security exemption.
The DSB agreed to set up separate panels for the complaints.
On the same occasion, India and Switzerland submitted their first requests for panels to rule on the U.S. steel and aluminium tariffs.
Like the seven other members, the two argued that the U.S. actions were, in effect and content, safeguard measures, drawing concerns that the United States was using national security as a justification for the tariffs.
Meanwhile, the United States secured the establishment of four panels to examine countermeasures imposed by Canada, China, the EU and Mexico on certain U.S. imports in response to the steel and aluminum tariffs.
In a report Thursday, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo issued a warning after a new report saying that new import-restrictive measures have hit a new high.
He said the report's findings "should be of serious concern for G20 governments and the whole international community", warning that further escalation remains a real threat.
"If we continue along the current course, the economic risks will increase, with potential effects for growth, jobs and consumer prices around the world," Azevedo said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, November 23, 2018
Buyers want more from private labels
22nd November 2018

 CHINESE buyers of private label products now expect not only low prices but high quality products, according to industry observers. 

“Prices are no longer the most important factor in private label products,” said Cao Jian, president of the Private Label Specialty Committee of Shanghai Licensing Association. “People now seek differentiated products with more added value. We think it represented a new stage for the growth of private label in China.”
Private label products refer to brands that carry the name of retailers, especially supermarkets and hypermarkets. As the middlemen are eliminated, prices of private label products are very competitive.
In Europe, private label products account for about 35 percent of all goods sold. But they represent less than 5 percent of sales in China.
In big cities like Shanghai, private labels are more common, said Yao Zheng, secretary general of the association. Private label products account for 40 percent in convenience stores such as Lawson and even more in Family Mart
The Shanghai Private Label Fair, an annual event since 2010, will be held from December 6 to 8 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center. This year the number of exhibitors has increased 33 percent from a year earlier to 650.
During the fair, a forum will be held for industry observers to share their insights, while several research reports will be released. 
The fair will also allocate an area especially for fresh food for the first time.
Source: Shanghai Daily, November 22, 2018
Top ranking foreign funded enterprises on the up
21st November 2018

 A list of the top foreign companies in Shanghai for 2017 with imports and exports exceeding US$10 million and total profits exceeding US$1.44 million has been released.

SAIC Volkswagen Automotive Co ranked first in both revenue and tax payment among foreign enterprises in Shanghai, while Pegatron Technology was the biggest employer and also the top in total value of imports and exports, according to the city’s commission of commerce and Shanghai Association of Foreign Investment.
A total of 1,348 foreign enterprises in Shanghai have posted an import and export value over US$10 million and profits exceeding US$1.4 million for the year 2017.
The number was up by 11.4 percent, or 138 more than the previous year.
“Foreign-funded enterprises in Shanghai are developing steadily in general, and have played a significant role in the city’s economic development in terms of import and export, total industrial output value, taxation and employment,” said Liu Jinping, who is the director of the city’s association of foreign investment.
The higher figures compared with last year also indicate the improved investment environment in Shanghai, Liu said.
By the end of October this year, Shanghai had attracted a total of 95,000 foreign-funded projects, amounting to US$237.6 billion in actual foreign investment.
In 2017, foreign-funded enterprises contributed more than a quarter of the city’s gross domestic product, over one-third of total tax revenue, about two-thirds of imports and exports in foreign trade and also of industrial output, and around 50 percent of the research and development investment of industrial enterprises.
Ma Chunlei, director of the city’s Development and Reform Commission, said Shanghai will accelerate the promotion of innovation in the free trade zone as well as expanding it, speed up setting up the technology innovation board on the Shanghai bourse, and make efforts to further develop the integration of Yangtze River Delta.
Source: Shanghai Daily, November 21, 2018

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