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News from China
China to continue steady import growth
26th July 2018

 China is expanding imports steadily and the country is ready to welcome the first China International Import Expo in November.

In the next five years, imports of goods are expected to hit US$8 trillion, and the country’s actively expanding imports will help boost global trade liberalization, create new demand and inject new impetus into world economic growth, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce.
The import expo aims to offer an open platform for global trade, and buyers and exhibitors from throughout the world have been invited to participate.
“It fully reflects China’s consistent position in supporting the multilateral trading system and developing free trade, and clearly releases positive signals against protectionism in trade and the construction and maintenance of an open world economy,” said an official with the ministry.
China’s exports rose to 7.51 trillion yuan (US$1.11 trillion) in the first half of this year, marking a year-on-year increase of 4.9 percent, while imports grew by 11.5 percent to 6.61 trillion yuan, according to recent data released by China Customs.
“Since the beginning of this year, the world economy has continued to recover and the domestic economy has been smoothly climbing, which has promoted the rapid growth of China’s foreign trade,” said Huang Songping, spokesman for China Customs.
The total value of Chinese foreign trade in the first half of the year hit 14.12 trillion yuan, up 7.9 percent from the same period last year.
China’s trade surplus narrowed 26.7 percent to 901.32 billion yuan in the first half of the year, continuing a narrowing trend that began in late 2016.
A report by the Bank of Communications Financial Research Center said that China is shrinking the trade surplus of its own accord to promote the balanced development of import and export trades, which can help ease trade friction.
Meanwhile, expanding imports will boost the upgrading of consumption and production, promote economic restructuring, and also allow more countries to share the Chinese market, the report said.
The import growth is mainly due to factors such as China’s expansion of imports and rising prices of some bulk commodities.
Policies to expand imports have been significantly strengthened this year.
At the end of last year, import tariffs on certain consumer goods were reduced, including seafood, cosmetics, milk powder and infant diapers.
At the level of foreign policy, China will not change its strategic goal of promoting a new pattern of comprehensive opening up when the global trade war is over, according to Cheng Shi, chief economist at ICBC International.
“In the second half of 2018, the country will continue to expand imports steadily, meeting the needs of consumption upgrades, and at the same time speeding up the high-end development of domestic manufacturing industries through the ‘catfish effect’ (the effect that a strong competitor has in causing the weak to better themselves),” Cheng said.
Cheng expected import growth to remain higher than the pace of export growth for a long time to come.
The State Council Customs Tariff Commission issued a document on May 22 requesting that import tariffs on automobiles and their components should be reduced with a general tax reduction rate.
On May 30, the State Council executive meeting decided to further reduce the import tax rate for consumer goods from July 1, involving a wide range of products such as clothing, electrical appliances, aquatic products, medical and health care products, sports and fitness products, washing supplies and cosmetics.
In the first half of this year China also imported 225 million tons of crude oil, up 5.8 percent year on year; 42.08 million tons of natural gas, up 35.4 percent; refined oil increased 9.7 percent to 14.49 million tons; and 2.6 million tons of copper, a rise of 16.3 percent.
In the same period, imports of aquatic products jumped 12.4 percent, cosmetics doubled, and pharmaceuticals and medical supplies advanced by 8 percent.
“The global value chain will bring about the repeated flow of intermediate goods. Therefore, the degree of facilitation of imports also indicates export efficiency,” said Chen Dongxiao, president of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies.
Source: Shanghai Daily,July 26, 2018
Alibaba to team up with Shanghai in import of more products
25th July 2018

 Alibaba plans to leverage its e-commerce platform to combine with commercial facilities in Shanghai to help introduce more imported brands in the future. 

It will also launch "Super Brand Day" online campaigns with 150 brands to help maximize their impact among Tmall shoppers. This year, "Super Brand Day" campaigns have included several online shopping spaces in Shanghai where pop-up stores offered a better shopping experience through games and entertainment.
As many as 80 percent of the world's 100 most valuable brands evaluated by Forbes now have flagship stores on Tmall. In 2017 more than 200,000 brands launched 12 million new products through the website. 
The Guanghua School of Management at Peking University said in a report last month that Shanghai ranks first among other domestic cities in terms of the level of development and sophistication in the new retail sector. 
Shanghai is taking the lead thanks to its advanced level of manufacturing, logistics, trade and relevant services, which requires integrated planning and the development of various industry sectors, as well as comprehensive regional planning and layout. 
As most of the world's leading brands pick the city as their first choice to debut new products and open their first stores, Alibaba Group is also combining its online and offline resources to benefit both consumers and brands, which will also help enhance Shanghai's attractiveness as a shopping center. 
Shanghai is also home to the first Hema Market store, a new retail format put forward by Alibaba Group last year which is a one-stop service for dining, shopping and on-demand delivery service. 
Source: Shanghai Daily, July 25, 2018
China to improve fiscal, financial policies to boost real economy
24th July 2018

 China will better utilize its fiscal and financial policies to support the expansion of domestic demand, structural adjustment and boost the development of the real economy, according to a government meeting.

Measures will be taken to promote effective investment focusing on addressing inadequacies, gathering more momentum and improving people's livelihood, according to the State Council's executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Monday.
China will keep its macro policies stable, refrain from resorting to a deluge of strong stimulus policies, and the government will exercise targeted and well-timed regulation in the face of external uncertainties to make sure the economy performs within a reasonable range, the meeting said.
The Monday meeting agreed that a more proactive fiscal policy would be pursued. The government will focus on tax and fee cuts, and more companies will be eligible for the preferential policies of the additional deduction of R&D spending in taxable income, a policy expected to cut another 65 billion yuan (US$9.6 billion) of tax this year, on top of an initial goal of reducing taxes and fees by 1.1 trillion yuan this year.
Efforts will be stepped up in issuing 1.35 trillion yuan of special bonds for local governments to see more tangible progress on ongoing infrastructure projects.
The country's prudent monetary policy will be neither too tight nor too loose, according to the meeting. The government will keep the social financing scale at a reasonable level, and liquidity will remain proper and sufficient.
The government will step up efforts to ensure delivery of the state financing guarantee fund, targeting 140 billion yuan of loans for about 150,000 small and micro firms each year.
The meeting also decided to deepen investment reform to solicit more private investment in fields including transportation, telecommunications, oil, and gas.
Capital demand for ongoing projects must be guaranteed effectively, it said.
A series of major projects will be pushed forward and planned to meet the need of development and improve people's livelihood.
Source: Shanghai Daily, July 24, 2018
Garment business dresses up China-Arabian trade
19th July 2018

 Tian Guifen, 56, has no idea where Arabia is, but knows the robes she weaves will be delivered and worn there.

Tian, from Fucheng County in Hebei Province, works for Huaxing, one of the largest Muslim robe production and export companies in north China.
The company exports its products to over 20 countries in West Asia and North Africa, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. In 2017, company sales hit nearly 160 million yuan (US$24 million).
"I'm proud that products made in China go global, and we are making products for the whole world," Tian said.
New business opportunities created by China's Belt and Road Initiative have brought a pressing need for more workers. Over 2,600 impoverished people like Tian became employed and were lifted out of poverty.
Company manager Wang Shengli said they planned to explore the Southeast Asian market, and further invest 10 million yuan on building 80 more factories in the next two years, covering all local poor villages.
China is a major producer of Arabic clothing. In some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, more than 90 percent of garments are from China.
At the eighth ministerial conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum held earlier this month, China announced a "future-oriented strategic partnership of comprehensive cooperation and common development" with the Arab world by setting up free trade zones and signing trade agreements.
In China's southern trade hub of Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, Adel Alhakimi assists his Saudi Arabian client in placing an order of over 6,000 Arabic-style dresses.
Having lived in the city for almost 20 years, the 48-year-old Yemeni manages a China-Arab trade consulting company, which searches for goods and partners for businesses in the Arabian countries.
The number of employees at his company increased from two in 2004 to around a dozen now.
After graduating from university in China in the late 1990s, Alhakimi stayed in the country in hopes of building his career in China-Arabian trade.
Last year, China-Arabian trade totaled around US$191.4 billion, five times the amount in 2004.
Apart from infrastructure construction and energy cooperation, China's opening-up has also benefited other sectors, including the fashion and garment industry.
Alhakimi regularly visits the Guangzhou Liuhua garment wholesale market, which has over 1,000 shops with signs written in multiple languages.
"The products sold here are diverse, cheap and customizable. They attract many Middle East business people, especially during the Canton Fair," he said.
The Liyuan garment shop, one of Alhakimi's favorites, hangs hundreds of Middle East style dresses on the wall.
Xu Peili, the shop owner, says she mainly supplies customers in the Middle East and Africa, and her factory manufactures up to 120,000 items of clothing per month. She is changing the garment material and design to better meet the needs and trends of Arab customers and is trying to add Chinese elements, such as embroidery, to her dresses.
Alhakimi backs her idea. "China's economy is developing quickly, and there are many business opportunities. Arab countries' demand for Chinese goods and investments is increasing," he said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, July 19, 2018

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