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News from China
Free trade zone ushers in an exciting era
26th September 2018

 Sweden-based Volvo Construction Equipment is a pioneer in tapping the opportunities of the five year-old Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone, with the creation of the zone’s first financial leasing company.

 
Under preferential policies initiated in the zone, Volvo Financial Leasing (China) Co was allowed to engage in a sideline commercial factoring business relevant to its main business.
 
Factoring refers to a type of debt finance in which a business sells its accounts receivable to a third party, or factor, at a discount to raise cash.
 
As one of Volvo’s four major headquarters, Jinqiao-based Volvo Construction Equipment accounts for about a fourth of the group’s global business around the world.
 
“Allowing financial leasing companies to engage in sideline commercial factoring business is a major breakthrough in the FTZ’s financial innovation,” said Zhan Xu, vice president and director of Volvo Construction Equipment. “It raises the level of financial leasing services and expands the scope of business.”
 
In the field of health care, the zone’s opportunities are also producing breakthrough results.
 
A drug to treat cancer has flowed to the China market quickly after its developer tapped the so-called Marketing Authorization Holder program.
 
Fruquintinib capsules, developed by Hutchison MediPharma, or Chi-Med, in the Zhangjiang Pharma Valley, is China’s first independently developed drug for the treatment of metastatic colon cancer. It was approved for public use by the National Medical Products Administration earlier this month.
 
The marketing authorization program was initiated in the free trade zone to enable pharma research and development groups to use contract manufacturers to produce drugs in China.
 
Previously, those groups had to build their own production facilities or transfer the technology if they lacked the funds to do so.
 
In essence, a license to manufacture drugs was tied to drug approval, a system that brought low returns to developers of new drugs.
 
“Without the new system, Fruquintinib would not have reached the shelves so readily,” said Dr Zhenping Wu, vice president of Chi-med.
 
The free trade zone has indeed been at the forefront of economic reform and decentralization.
 
A pioneer
 
By the end of June, 2,620 business projects had been launched there. Further opening-up in industries such as financial leasing, engineering design and travel agencies has made notable progress.
 
Among those achievements were China’s first reinsurance broker, the first foreign-funded vocational training institute, the first wholly foreign-owned yacht design company, the first foreign medical institute, the first wholly foreign-owned engineering design firm and the first foreign certification company to adopt international food safety standards.
 
Even cutting-edge electric car manufacturer Tesla Inc landed a deal with Chinese authorities to build a new auto plant in Lingang on the southeastern tip of the free trade zone.
 
The plant will be the first factory outside the US for the California-based company and will double Tesla’s global manufacturing capability.
 
The free trade zone reported 1.35 trillion yuan (US$197 billion) of exports last year, up 15 percent from a year earlier. That accounted for 38.6 percent of Shanghai’s exports during the period.
 
Annual container throughput at the Yangshan and Waigaoqiao ports totaled 36.38 million twenty-foot equivalent units, a measure of container cargo.
 
That ranked Shanghai as the world’s largest container port for an eighth year.
 
More than 54,000 companies are registered in the free trade zone, with nearly 10,000 of them foreign-invested.
 
The “negative list” that restricts foreign investment has been shortened from 190 items in 2013 when the free trade zone was established to 45 this year.
 
The approval process for companies in the zone has been shortened to three days from the previous three to six months. By the end of last year, the zone recorded more than 1,900 foreign investment projects.
 
A system has been implemented which provides for overseas shipments to enter the country without immediate customs clearance.
 
Logistics companies operating in the zone enjoy simplified customs, immigration and quarantine procedures. That reduces warehousing and logistics costs.
 
Never content to stand still, the free trade zone issued 25 rules in June to test the ground for further liberalization of the financial sector.
 
Under the rules, commercial banks would be allowed to form financial asset investment and management companies without any cap on foreign ownership, and foreigners would be allowed to take majority stakes in domestic life insurance companies based in the zone.
 
The zone will also issue intellectual property protection rules for the development of Internet, e-commerce, big data and related areas and accelerate the Shanghai-London Stock Connect.
 
President Xi Jinping has praised the Shanghai Free Trade Zone for significant progress.
 
“In general,” he said, “the original intention has been achieved.”
Source: Shanghai Daily, September 26, 2018
Chinese, Canadian FMs underline multilateralism, rule-based trade
25th September 2018

 Chinese and Canadian foreign ministers on Monday highlighted the importance of defending multilateralism and the rule-based trade order during their meeting.

 
While talking with Canada's Chrystia Freeland, Wang Yi, also China's state councilor, said that the world's long-held multilateralism is faced with severe challenges posed by rising unilateralism and protectionism.
 
China is an unwavering supporter of free trade and the rule-based global trade system, he said.
 
Wang noted that if international rules were undermined, the world would return to the law of the jungle, to the deep detriment of all nations, with middle and small-sized nations bearing the brunt.
 
China and Canada share similar views on safeguarding multilateralism. "Under current circumstances, we should, together with many countries, issue a joint call for adhering to multilateralism, observing international rules, and safeguarding the multilateral trade system with the World Trade Organization at the core," he said.
 
China supports the reform of the WTO, yet such a reform shall defend the institution's core values and basic principles, and heed the rights and concerns of developing nations, the Chinese senior diplomat noted.
 
Freeland said that Canada supports multilateralism since it is very important to the country.
 
The world can not return to the law of the jungle, and Canada is willing to keep close communication with China on the WTO's reform, she added.
 
The Canadian diplomat also said that her country highly values its ties with China, and is committed to strengthening cooperation with the Asian nation.
Source: Shanghai Daily, September 25, 2018
China releases white paper on facts and its position on trade friction with US
24th September 2018

 China published a white paper on Monday to clarify the facts about China-US economic and trade relations, demonstrate its stance on trade friction with the United States, and pursue reasonable solutions.

Excluding the foreword, the 36,000-Chinese-character white paper is comprised of six parts, which are mutually-beneficial and win-win China-US cooperation in the trade and economic field, clarification of the facts about China-US trade and economic relations, the trade protectionist practices of the US administration, the trade bullyism practices of the US administration, damage of the improper practices of the US administration to global economy, and China's position.

China is the world's biggest developing country and the United States is the biggest developed country, said the white paper. "Trade and economic relations between China and the United States are of great significance for the two countries as well as for the stability and development of the world economy."

The white paper said the two countries are at different stages of development and have different economic systems, and therefore some level of trade friction is only natural. "The key, however, lies in how to enhance mutual trust, promote cooperation, and manage differences."

In the spirit of equality, rationality, and moving to meet each other halfway, the two countries have set up a number of communication and coordination mechanisms such as the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, and the Comprehensive Economic Dialogue, the white paper said.

Each has made tremendous efforts over the past 40 years to overcome all kinds of obstacles and move economic and trade relations forward, which has served as the ballast and propeller of the overall bilateral relationship, according to the white paper.

However, the new administration of the US government has trumpeted "America First" since taking office in 2017, and has abandoned the fundamental norms of mutual respect and equal consultation that guide international relations, said the white paper.

"Rather, it has brazenly preached unilateralism, protectionism and economic hegemony, making false accusations against many countries and regions, particularly China, intimidating other countries through economic measures such as imposing tariffs, and attempting to impose its own interests on China through extreme pressure," according to the white paper.

The white paper stressed China has responded from the perspective of the common interests of both parties as well as the world trade order, observing the principle of resolving disputes through dialogue and consultation, and answering the US concerns with the greatest level of patience and good faith.

The Chinese side has been dealing with these differences with an attitude of seeking common ground while shelving divergence, the white paper said. "It has overcome many difficulties and made enormous efforts to stabilize China-US economic and trade relations by holding rounds of discussions with the US side and proposing practical solutions."

However, the US side has been contradicting itself and constantly challenging China, the white paper said.

"As a result, trade and economic friction between the two sides has escalated quickly over a short period of time, causing serious damage to the economic and trade relations which have developed over the years through the collective work of the two governments and the two peoples, and posing a grave threat to the multilateral trading system and the principle of free trade."

The Chinese government published the white paper to clarify the facts about China-US economic and trade relations, demonstrate China's stance on trade friction with the United States, and pursue reasonable solutions.

Source: Shanghai Daily September 24, 2018
Shanghai prioritizes development of high-end manufacturing
21st September 2018

 Shanghai's hosting of the ongoing 2018 China International Industrial Fair after the 2018 World Artificial Intelligence Conference indicates the importance the city places on the development of high-end manufacturing. 

 
Li Qiang, Shanghai’s Party secretary, told the opening ceremony of the 2018 CIIF that in order to promote the development of intelligent manufacturing industry, the city will focus on integrating the manufacturing industry with the information industry by tapping information technologies such as the Internet, big data and artificial intelligence.
 
Zhou Bo, Shanghai’s Deputy Mayor, said that as the biggest economic center and the biggest beneficiary from the reform and opening-up of China, Shanghai’s strongest advantage is that it is an open city welcoming new ideas, innovation and talent from all over the world. He made his remark during the 40th Anniversary of China’s Reform and Opening-up: Forum for International Cooperation in Manufacturing, one of the important forums during the 2018 CIIF.
 
He stressed that to support its goal of developing a high-end manufacturing industry, Shanghai will strive to provide a conducive business environment for foreign and domestic enterprises.
 
The CIIF, which opened in Shanghai on Wednesday, will unveil nearly 300 new technologies. There will be over 50 themetic forums and more than 30 industrial and enterprise forums
Source: Shanghai Daily, September 21, 2018

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