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News from China
Nation's imports of UK food and beverages boom in 2017
21st February 2018

 Trade value totaled $783.6 million, lifting China's ranking from ninth in 2016 to eighth last year

China became the eighth-largest importer of food and drink from the United Kingdom in 2017, according to new data that showed a growing Chinese appetite for British milk powder, salmon, whisky, and beer.
UK food and drink exports to China grew by 28 percent last year, to reach 564.4 million pounds ($783.6 million) in value, according to trade figures released by the UK's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which is also called Defra.
China rose up the rankings from ninth in 2016, when UK exports to China totaled 439.5 million pounds.
The United States is the only country outside the European Union to consume more British food and drink than China.
Defra said in a statement: "As Prime Minister Theresa May demonstrated during her recent trip to China, the UK's mouth-watering food and drink continues to grow in popularity across the globe with China now the eighth-largest export market for UK food and drink."
Milk powder was the top export product by value last year, when exports were worth 72.9 million pounds, up 44 percent on 2016. The UK exported 69.9 million pounds of salmon to China last year, up 28 percent. And the Chinese imported 61.8 million pounds worth of British whisky, up 47 percent on the previous year. British beer exports to China are also growing quickly in popularity, increasing to be worth 45.9 million pounds, which was 127 percent more than in 2016.
The UK Food and Drink Federation, which is also known as the FDF, said there is growing Chinese interest in the UK's "afternoon tea" products, which include jams, scones, tea, and cakes. The UK sold 2 million pounds of tea to China last year.
The organization links this trend to the popularity of British television programs, including Downton Abbey and the Great British Bake Off.
"The FDF has sought to highlight the opportunities a market the size of China can present to food and drink manufacturers and would-be exporters," said Dominic Goudie, FDF's export policy manager. "The government too is supporting businesses by negotiating new market access for certain products, with meat being a prime example, which has helped businesses begin to exploit the value of China as an export destination."
In January this year, China announced plans to lift a ban on British beef imports, and last November, two companies in Northern Ireland gained approval to export pig trotters to China in a deal that could generate 20 million pounds a year for UK farmers.
Defra said that, in total, the UK exported 22 billion pounds of food and drink products last year, up 9 percent on 2016. The top five exports were whisky, salmon, chocolate, cheese, and beer. The UK's top export destinations were the Republic of Ireland, France, the US, the Netherlands, and Germany.
Source: China Daily, February 22, 2018
Students stage White House protest as Trump gives nod to background bill
20th February 2018

 Dozens of teenage students lay down on the pavement in front of the White House on Monday to demand presidential action on gun control after 17 people were killed in a school shooting in Florida.

Parent and educators joined the gathering, where protesters held their arms crossed at their chests. Two activists covered themselves with an American flag while another held a sign asking: “Am I next?”
“It’s really important to express our anger and the importance of finally trying to make a change and having gun control in America,” said Ella Fesler, a 16-year-old high school student from Alexandria, Virginia.
She added: “Every day when I say ‘bye’ to my parents, I do acknowledge the fact that I could never see my parents again.”
Meanwhile the White House said Donald Trump was supporting an effort to improve background checks on gun buyers.
Source: The Guardian, February 20, 2018
Numbers of foreign firms setting up in China soar
15th February 2018

 Foreign companies newly established in China in January surged by 158 percent year on year to hit 5,197 — the highest since September 2015.

The Ministry of Commerce, which released the data yesterday, said that foreign direct investment into the Chinese mainland rose 0.3 percent year on year to reach 80.36 billion yuan (US$12.67 billion) last month. That reading was up from the 73.94 billion yuan posted in December, the ministry said.
FDI to the high-tech sector continued to grow in January, rising 42.3 percent year on year and accounting for 21.5 percent of the total FDI, up 6.3 percentage points from a year earlier.
Some 9.95 billion yuan flowed into the high-tech manufacturing industry, a sharp rise of 93.5 percent year on year, with electronics and communications equipment surging by 75 percent compared to the same period last year.
The high-tech service industry drew 7.35 billion yuan, up 4.8 percent year on year. FDI in R&D and design, and information services rose 57.6 percent and 17.1 percent, respectively.
FDI into western China registered rapid growth in January, with total volume up 56.4 percent year on year to hit 4.56 billion yuan, official data showed.
China’s 11 free trade zones drew a total of 8.38 billion yuan, up 55.2 percent year on year, with 593 foreign enterprises newly founded, much higher than the national average.
FDI from Singapore and the United States climbed quickly last month, posting growth of 56.6 percent and 52.2 percent year on year, respectively.
As the business environment continues to improve, China is set to attract steady foreign investment inflows by opening up and easing market access.
“We will also substantially open up the service sector, especially the financial sector, and create a more attractive investment environment,” Liu He, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The commerce ministry expects foreign investment to stay steady in 2018. 
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 15, 2018
China's ODI keeps double-digit growth in January
14th February 2018
China’s non-financial outbound direct investment maintained double-digit growth in January, the third straight monthly increase, official data showed yesterday. Chinese investors made 69.5 billion yuan (US$11 billion) of non-financial ODI in 955 overseas enterprises from 99 countries and regions last month, the Ministry of Commerce said. The investment surged 30.5 percent from the same period last year, the ministry said. The growth tracked a gain of 49 percent in December and an increase of 34.9 percent in November. “The structure of outbound investment has been optimized,” said Han Yong, a ministry official said. In January, no new ODI projects were reported in property, sports or entertainment. Investment in leasing and business services rose 14.4 percent year on year, while that in household services and other service industries surged 163.6 percent. Investment in wholesale and retail industries climbed 24.2 percent. ODI in the mining sector soared 793 percent year on year to US$3.8 billion in January. China’s ODI has seen rapid growth in recent years. However, noting an “irrational tendency” in outbound investment, authorities have set stricter rules and advised companies to make investment decisions more carefully. In a document released in August last year, the State Council said overseas investment in areas including real estate, hotels, cinemas, and entertainment would be limited, while investment in sectors such as gambling would be banned. In November, the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s economic planning body, released a new draft rule on outbound investment, including stipulation on the investment activities of firms established overseas by domestic companies. Meanwhile, ODI to countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative has been encouraged. Last month, Chinese firms made US$1.2 billion of new investment in 46 countries along the B&R, up 50 percent year on year and taking up 11.4 percent of the total, the ministry said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 14, 2018

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