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News from China
China approaches WTO in ‘market economy’ row
13th December 2016

 CHINA said yesterday it had launched a dispute resolution case at the World Trade Organization over the surrogate country approach used by the United States and European Union to calculate anti-dumping measures against Chinese exports.

When China joined the WTO in 2001, it agreed to let WTO members treat it as a non-market economy when assessing dumping duties for 15 years.
That gave trade partners the advantage of using a third country’s prices to gauge whether China was selling its goods below market value.
But that clause expired on December 11, and China has demanded that countries abide by the agreement.
US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said in November the time was “not ripe” for the United States to change the way it evaluates whether China has achieved market economy status, and there was no international trade rules requiring changes in the way US anti-dumping duties are calculated.
China’s commerce ministry said in a statement on its website that 15 years on, all WTO members had an obligation to stop using the surrogate country approach. “Regretfully, the United States and European Union have yet to fulfil this obligation,” the ministry said.
Separately, a ministry official said in another statement yesterday that a US investigation into what it regards as Chinese dumping of plywood products launched last week amounted to abuse of emergency trade relief measures. The United States and European Union are some of the biggest levellers of anti-dumping measures under this process against China.
The measures have seriously affected exports and employment for Chinese firms, the ministry added.
The case China has lodged is a normal way of resolving trade disputes, and it has every right to do so, it said.
“China reserves the right under WTO rules to resolutely defend its legal rights,” it added, without elaborating.
The United States has repeatedly argued that China’s market reforms have fallen short of expectations, especially in aluminium and steel, where state intervention has led to oversupply and overcapacity, threatening industries around the world.
Source: Shanghai Daily, December 13, 2016
China sets major economic tasks
12th December 2016

 THE Communist Party of China yesterday specified major tasks for the economy next year, including further advancing supply-side structural reform.

The country should push forward reforms in key sectors, including state-owned enterprises, fiscal policy, finance and social security, according to a statement released after a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.
China will enhance the rule of law, improve its investment environment, unleash consumption potential, further open up its economy and work to proactively attract foreign investment, the statement said.
The meeting was presided over by President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.
China’s economic growth remained within “a reasonable range” this year, with better quality and higher efficiency, the statement said.
But it warned that the economy faces various challenges, including the contradiction between industrial overcapacity and structural upgrades in demand, financial risks in certain areas and economic difficulty in some regions.
In 2017, the country will continue its efforts to stabilize economic growth, promote reform, adjust structure, improve people’s livelihoods and guard against risks.
The country aims to yield substantial progress on five major tasks — cutting excessive industrial capacity, destocking, deleveraging, lowering corporate costs and improving weak links, the statement said.
For the year ahead, China should study and establish a long-term mechanism compatible with the conditions in China and market laws to ensure stable and healthy development of the real estate market.
Guidelines to enhance efforts to safeguard national security were passed at the meeting. The statement said China maintained overall social and political stability, but its national security remained in complicated circumstances.
The statement said China must integrate various resources and use a combination of measures to safeguard national security on all fronts. The country must also hold fast to “a centralized, unified, highly efficient and authoritative national security leadership system,” it said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, December 12, 2016
Chinese enterprises help improve living standards of South Africans
9th December 2016

 PRETORIA - A report released Thursday shows that Chinese enterprises in South Africa are making positive contributions to the socio-economic well-being of the country.

According to the report on the development of Chinese enterprises in South Africa unveiled by the South Africa-China Economic and Trade Association, there are more than 300 Chinese companies including representative offices in South Africa and among them about 140 are large and medium-sized companies.
The Chinese companies have been involved in such fields as real estate, mining, automobiles, finance, construction, textile, logistics and household appliances, the report said.
By the end of 2015, Chinese investment in South Africa reached about $13 billion. The Chinese enterprises employed more than 26,000 people in South Africa, of whom 24,000 were locals, the report said.
"Over the years, the Chinese enterprises have devoted themselves to South Africa's economic and social development," Chinese Ambassador to South Africa Tian Xuejun said at a ceremony to launch the report.
The Chinese companies "have strictly abided by laws and regulations, maintained sound relations with local communities, earnestly fulfilled their social responsibilities and been actively engaged in the development of South Africa's education, health and social charity," Tian said.
Tian said despite the sluggish global economic growth, the Chinese enterprises are working hard to maintain investment and production, and keep jobs in South Africa.
The Chinese enterprises are now working with their South African partners to deepen cooperation in fields such as infrastructure construction, development of special economic zones and industrial parks, equipment manufacturing, industrial capacity, marine economy, exploration of energy resources, and finance, Tian said.
"Both sides are energetically pushing forward the reindustrialization and the social and economic transformation of South Africa. Those efforts once again prove that the Chinese enterprises have taken roots in the Rainbow Nation and their future has been closely connected with South Africa and its people," he added.
The report shows that Chinese investment has improved the living standards of South Africans by improving the level of science and technology, the development of local economies and job opportunities.
Mogokare Richard Seleke, director-general of South Africa's Department of Public Enterprises, said the report is a fair assessment of the South African environment.
While promising to address the concerns and challenges the Chinese enterprises face in South Africa, Seleke urged them to consider investing in rural areas, saying that "there are untapped opportunities in the countryside."
Cheng Jun, chairman of the South Africa-China Economic and Trade Association and CEO of the Bank of China in Johannesburg, said that the Chinese enterprises have integrated themselves well with local communities and improved people's livelihood.
"While the Chinese enterprises continue to grow and develop, they have faced a series of social and economic challenges such as security risk, legal risk, labor risk, operational risk and exchange rate risk," Cheng said.
Aptserv Consulting Chairman Michael Paketh, who has worked with China's Sinosteel in South Africa, Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana, told Xinhua that the Chinese enterprises are doing a good job in Africa.
Paketh said the Chinese are honest and friendly, and have high standards of business ethics. "They are good partners. They have given Africa opportunities for development ... They focus on business and do not interfere in the politics of other countries and I respect them for that."
Chinese official data shows that bilateral trade between China and South Africa exceeded $46 billion in 2015.
The South Africa-China Economic and Trade Association, established in 2011, is a non-governmental organization launched by Chinese enterprises and some companies owned by ethnic Chinese in South Africa, with more than 120 members.
Source: China Daily, December 9, 2016
China to ease restrictions on foreign investment
8th December 2016

 CHINESE authorities are considering revising the country's guidance catalogue for foreign investment, cutting the number of restrictive measures to 62 from the previous 93.

The National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner, yesterday published a revision draft on its website to seek public opinion on the changes.
The easing rules on foreign investment came amid government efforts to push use of the Ònegative listÓ approach, which identifies sectors and businesses that are off limits or restricted for investment.
The Ònegative listÓ approach is a common practice adopted in many countries to manage foreign investment. China first piloted the rules in the Shanghai free trade zone in 2013.
Earlier official data showed foreign direct investment to the Chinese mainland rose 4.2 percent year on year to reach 666.3 billion yuan (US$97 billion) in the first 10 months of the year.
Source: Shanghai Daily, December 8, 2016

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