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News from China
China eases foreign investment curbs
29th June 2018

 China late yesterday announced the easing of foreign investment curbs on key sectors including banking, automotive, heavy industry and agriculture as it moves to open its markets further.

 
The National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce jointly released a shortened negative list, which sets out industries where foreign investment is limited or prohibited.
 
The new version will take effect on July 28, with the number of items down to 48 from 63 in the previous version.
 
In addition to confirming already announced pledges to fully remove ownership limits on industries such as insurance and autos within the next three to five years, China is also easing or removing ownership caps on businesses including ship and aircraft manufacturing, power grids, and new breeding of crops excluding wheat and corn.
 
Making public the new negative list is an important move to implement the central authorities’ arrangement for the opening-up strategy, relax market access to a great extent, and push forward high-level opening-up, the NDRC said.
 
“The new round of opening-up will provide new impetus for attracting more foreign investment, promoting market competition and raising innovation capability,” the commission said.
 
Earlier yesterday, the commerce ministry said it will closely monitor US policies on foreign investments and will evaluate their potential impacts on Chinese companies.
 
China opposes the act of tightening foreign investment rules under the pretense of national security, the ministry’s spokesman Gao Feng said.
 
US President Donald Trump said he supports Congress to pass legislation to protect key technologies from acquisitions by foreign entities, signaling that Washington will not roll out additional executive actions to limit foreign investments for the moment.
 
Gao said global investors will “vote with their feet” on the changes of the US investment climate as China actively participates in economic globalization.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 29, 2018
Industrial profit growth accelerates
28th June 2018

 China’s major industrial companies posted increased profit growth in the first five months of the year, data revealed yesterday.

 
Profits at major industrial firms grew 16.5 percent in the period, quickening from the 15 percent expansion for the January-April period, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
 
In May alone, combined profits of industrial companies with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan (US$3 million) each went up 21.1 percent year on year, slightly retreating from the 21.9 percent gain in April.
 
Among them, state-owned enterprises made a combined profit of 810.35 billion yuan in the first five months, up 28.7 percent from the same period of last year. Collective-owned enterprises, joint-stock companies, overseas-funded firms and private companies saw profit growth of 4.4 percent, 20.6 percent, 6.9 percent and 10.6 percent respectively.
 
The bureau’s statistician He Ping attributed sound growth to the country’s supply-side structural reforms, which led to falling production costs and lower leverage ratios.
 
“The supply-side structural reform keeps showing its effectiveness and achievements,” said He.
 
The cost and expense per 100 yuan of revenue from the main business was down 0.35 yuan to 92.59 yuan in the January-May period from a year earlier. The cost dropped 0.31 yuan to 84.49 yuan.
 
The leverage rate also dropped, with the debt-to-asset ratio down 0.6 percentage points to 56.6 percent at the end of May, the bureau said.
 
Its report also pointed out that the overall efficiency of industrial enterprises continued to improve, with faster inventory turnover of products and stronger profitability.
 
Among the 41 industries surveyed, 31 posted year-on-year profit growth during the first five months.
 
Manufacturing, which accounted for 84.8 percent of the total industrial profit, saw the sector’s combined profit expand 13.8 percent. The mining industry’s profit surged 41.6 percent, while those of power generation, heating, fuel gas, water production and supply companies went up 26.1 percent.
 
The ferrous metal smelting and rolling processing industry showed an 110 percent jump in profit in the January-May period.
 
The non-metallic mineral products industry rose 44.6 percent, chemical raw materials and manufacturing of chemical products grew 27.7 percent, petroleum and natural gas extraction was up 260 percent, and the electric and thermal power production and supply sector advanced 27.8 percent.
 
“Despite slight slowdown in growth in May compared with April, the total profit of Chinese industrial enterprises saw rapid growth amid lower costs and also higher prices,” He said.
 
The Producer Price Index rose 4.1 percent in May from a year earlier, 0.7 percentage points higher than the growth in April, while the industrial producer purchase price picked up 0.6 percentage points from April to add 4.3 percent year on year.
 
According to preliminary calculations, the positive effect of price changes on profit growth in May was 4.3 percentage points greater than the previous month, the bureau said.
 
Yesterday’s data was the latest in a slew of economic indicators that showed China’s economic resilience, which prompted global institutions such as the World Bank to raise their economic forecasts for the country.
 
Earlier data showed growth in energy consumption, freight traffic and producer prices all picked up last month, pointing to a firming real economy and progress in structural transformation.
 
China’s economy grew 6.8 percent year on year in the first quarter, above the target of around 6.5 percent.
 
Earlier this month, the World Bank upgraded its forecast for China’s economic growth in 2018 to 6.5 percent, 0.1 percentage point higher than its January forecast. The World Bank’s latest China Economic Update said economic activity remained resilient, and the new economy is now a more prominent source of growth.
 
Morgan Stanley expects China’s GDP to grow 6.6 percent in 2018, up from its previous projection of 6.5 percent.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 28, 2018
China announces tariff adjustment under APTA arrangement
27th June 2018

 

 
China will adjust tariffs on an array of imports from a number of Asia-Pacific countries from July 1, according to the Ministry of Finance.
 
The adjustment, covering products under 8,549 tariff codes made in Bangladesh, India, Laos, the Republic of Korea and Sri Lanka, was part of the tariff concession arrangement reached under the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement.
 
After the adjustment, tariffs on 2,323 categories of commodities such as certain chemicals, optical components and television cameras will be reduced, the ministry said.
 
The adjustment came after a new arrangement was reached during the fourth round of tariff concession negotiations among the six APTA members in January 2017.
 
In May 2001, China joined the then Bangkok Agreement, whose name was changed to the APTA in November 2005. It aims at promoting economic and trade cooperation among its members through the adoption of mutually beneficial trade liberalization measures.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 27, 2018
First Central and Eastern European report in Chinese released
26th June 2018

 The first annual report on the development of the Central and Eastern European countries in Chinese was released on Monday in Beijing.

 
The first “Blue Book of CEEC” was penned by teachers of Beijing Foreign Studies University, other Chinese experts in the field of study and scholars from the CEEC.
 
The book reports on the politics, economy, culture, society, foreign relations and security of 16 countries covered by the China-CEEC cooperation platform “16+1” from 2016 to 2017, with abundant first-hand data sourced from respective countries.
 
The book was published by the Social Sciences Academic Press (China).
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 26, 2018

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