US-EU press on with plan to tackle ‘dirty’ Chinese steel flooding markets

China’s “unfair trade practices” are once again in US crosshairs, with Washington indicating it will use a new metals alliance with the European Union (EU) to prevent Chinese dumping amid uncertainty over the next phase of bilateral trade talks.In an op-ed published on Sunday in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo took aim at cheap Chinese metals flooding global markets, lowering prices for American manufacturers and leading…

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China expands African reach as Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau join belt and road ahead of key regional forum

Eritrea and Guinea-Bissau have joined the Belt and Road Initiative, President Xi Jinping’s trade and infrastructure development plan, ahead of a key Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) meeting starting on Monday.Eritrea’s cooperation is expected to cement China’s foothold in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea, where Beijing has vast interests, ranging from a military base to mega infrastructure projects such as ports and railways.With Guinea-Bissau joining, Beijing would be able to expand…

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China needs risk assessment, anti-corruption measures to address ‘challenging’ belt and road environments

China needs to ramp up its risk assessment and anti-corruption measures to mitigate political dangers and credit instability in its Belt and Road Initiative, analysts said, following a similar call from President Xi Jinping.Despite seeing concrete success with its flagship investment programme, Xi emphasised businesses’ responsibility to assess overseas risk regularly, as well as the need to establish an “all-weather” risk monitoring system and a thorough anti-corruption legal framework in a…

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China’s zero-Covid policies causing ‘major’ knock-on effects for snarled global supply chains

China’s increasingly extreme zero-Covid policies are standing in the way of a full recovery for the shipping industry and prolonging a crisis that has snarled ports and emptied shelves worldwide.In its attempts to keep the coronavirus out, China has continued to prohibit crew changes for foreign crew and recently imposed as much as a seven-week mandatory quarantine for returning Chinese seafarers.Even vessels that have refreshed their crew elsewhere have to wait two weeks before they are…

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China warned to brace for US stimulus tapering, rate increases with Jerome Powell to remain as Fed chair

Jerome Powell’s nomination for a second term as chair of the US Federal Reserve has fuelled market expectations of faster-than-expected stimulus tapering and earlier than expected interest rate increases, triggering calls for China to make early preparations for the United States normalising its monetary policy.Powell, 68, was officially nominated by US President Joe Biden on Monday in Washington to serve for a further four years, with the more dovish figure of Lael Brainard put forward as vice…

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China to join oil reserve release ‘based on its own needs’ after US, UK, Japan, South Korea and India commit

China will join coordinated global efforts to release oil reserves “based on its own needs” with Beijing in communication with other nations who have already laid out details of their plans to tame worldwide market turbulence, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday.The United States, Britain, Japan, South Korea and India have already committed to releasing state reserves in an attempt to cool high energy prices after the issue was brought up during last week’s summit between President Xi…

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Deciding how to spend the world’s carbon budget is complicated, with consequences for business and nations as well as the planet

[Sponsored article] Investors are increasingly asking how net-zero goals will be achieved. There are different scenarios for the world’s nations to meet the global warming targets set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement. At the industry level, investors need to identify and quantify sectors with the ability to move quickly to decarbonise; they also need to spot those that need more time to do it. National differences At the country level, structural issues and the availability of resources will…

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China population: one-child policy blamed as 12 million children missed in 2010 census emerge

China undercounted the number of children born in 2000 to 2010 by at least 11.6 million – equivalent to Belgium’s current population – partly because of its stringent one-child policy.The latest statistical yearbook released by the government puts the number of children born during that period at 172.5 million, well above the 160.9 million in that age group recorded in the 2010 census.The difference could be the result of some parents failing to register births to avoid punishment if they…

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How big are China’s crude oil reserves and how do they compare to the US’ SPR?

In a bid to help stabilise soaring international crude oil prices, the United States has asked China to tap into its crude oil reserves.The issue came up during a virtual meeting between President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden in November.The US has the world’s largest reported strategic petroleum reserve, while China as the world’s largest importer of crude oil has also built up a system of its own.Why does China need a strategic crude oil reserve?In the 1990s, China said it…

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China must clarify ‘uncertainty’ over data security laws, allow more cross-border transfers

Beijing has been urged to set a clear definition and scope for its enforcement of data security and transfer laws as it is vital for the operation of foreign businesses as well as China’s innovation strategy, the British Chamber of Commerce in China said on Tuesday.China has recently elevated its requirements concerning data, particularly additional assessment requirements for cross-border transfers, with the introduction of laws on data safety and the protection of personal information in the…

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Property tax concerns for China’s homeowners, buyers amid Xi Jinping’s common prosperity drive

This is the first in a three-part series looking at the potential impact of China’s proposed property tax law.Timing, we are told, is everything. The success of something is often related to when it happens.And after China announced plans to roll out a nationwide property tax to help address wealth inequality, concerns were raised if it will become the last straw to break the back the beleaguered real estate sector and become a move that would deal a blow to the domestic economy that could…

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Chinese experts say new US trade alliances to contain China could backfire and Beijing should push ahead with reforms

A push by the US to encircle China economically will likely “collapse in on itself” or ultimately backfire, Chinese experts say, as Washington steps up efforts to build a trade “coalition of democracies” with Europe and Japan to put Beijing under more pressure.Although the US diplomatic offensive should be viewed seriously, experts say Beijing should accelerate domestic reforms, continue its push to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and…

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Xi-Biden summit lays groundwork, but ‘significant challenges’ remain in trade talks

Trade talks between China and the United States have been fast-tracked after a virtual meeting between presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden, but finding common ground for future negotiations is still far from assured, according to analysts.While both sides appeared to put aside recent acrimony to address bilateral economic issues, Chinese analysts still question what is behind the US’ “strategic competition” and how far negotiations will progress amid anti-China rhetoric on Capitol Hill and…

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China steps up opening up, supply chain security charm offensive in wake of Biden-Xi summit

China’s leadership has ramped up its charm offensive with pledges for further opening up to foreign investment and more engagement in stabilising global supply chains following the meeting between President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden amid ongoing worries over the slowdown in the domestic economy.Some 24 hours after Xi and Biden met for the first time via video on Tuesday, Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan stressed that Beijing and Washington should keep their focus on…

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China-Australia relations: Canberra needs to ‘sit down’ with Beijing over CPTPP, trade minister Dan Tehan says

Australia will need to be able to conduct ministerial discussions with China as part of a process for the world’s second-largest economy to join a regional trade agreement, trade minister Dan Tehan said.“You have to able to sit down and work through specially on market access issues,” Tehan told Bloomberg Television from Singapore on Wednesday.“So we would need some sort of ministerial dialogue to be able to work through that market accession.”The remarks underline ongoing tensions between…

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US asks China to release oil reserves as part of discussions on economic cooperation, source says

The United States has asked China to release oil reserves to help stabilise soaring international crude oil prices as part of ongoing discussions on economic cooperation between the two countries.The US wants China to join it in releasing crude oil reserves and the issue was raised during the virtual meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the matter.The issue was also broached during a phone conversation between…

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China calls for global cooperation to improve energy supplies as power prices surge across the world

China wants to see more international cooperation to stabilise power prices and boost the global energy trade, the nation’s assistant commerce minister has said, as the world’s No 2 economy looks to steady domestic supply after weeks of disruptions.Market volatility had increased as a result of global energy shortages driven by a sharp uptick in post-pandemic demand and extreme weather, Ren Hongbin said.Slow investment in energy projects due to earlier forecasts of low oil and gas prices have…

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Urgent need for EV battery industry to expand and be more sustainable to meet future demand, analysts say

A surge in electric vehicle (EV) sales to meet net-zero climate targets requires an immediate scale-up of EV battery production and relevant infrastructure, adding to pressure on governments and industry leaders to get on top of raw material, innovation and sustainability challenges, analysts say.The global stock of electric cars increased by over 40 per cent year-on-year in 2020, hitting 10 million units, against a decline of more than 15 per cent for the overall car market in the aftermath of…

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Chinese producers pass on high raw material costs as inflation risks grow

The price in China for titanium dioxide, a key ingredient in paint, has surged along with industrial metals and coal in recent weeks, showing how production inflation is rippling through the world’s No 2 economy.In mid-October, several Chinese paint companies posted notices online that prices for domestic and industrial paints, along with construction products that rely on them, would increase by 40 per cent.The culprit behind the price hikes is titanium dioxide, a key ingredient in making…

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China’s Boeing purchases seen as ‘weakness’ in US trade deal probe, hurt by ‘sour’ relations

As the administration of US President Joe Biden edges closer to discussions with Beijing over the progress of the phase-one trade deal, China’s failure to purchase commercial aircraft from Boeing is likely to be one of the “weaknesses” identified by US Trade Representative Katherine Tai.Tai on Wednesday said the administration aims to hold Beijing accountable to the two-year trade deal which was signed in January last year, with China seen to be running far behind in its promises in the Trump…

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China’s top import fair reports first contraction since debut in 2018 as slowing economy, Covid-19 hits deal-making

China’s largest import trade fair ended on Wednesday with year-on-year deal value declining for the first time since the event debuted in 2018, as deal-making was hit by a slowing economy and stringent measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.Chinese companies bought US$70.7 billion worth of goods during the China International Import Expo (CIIE), a decline of 2.6 per cent compared with last year’s US$72.62 billion, the organiser said on Wednesday.The six-day event, the world’s largest trade…

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US trade chief Katherine Tai says getting ‘traction’ with China in phase one deal talks

The Biden administration is getting traction with China in talks over Beijing’s compliance with a Trump-era trade deal, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Wednesday, but she declined to predict an outcome while discussions continue.She told reporters in Washington the administration aims to hold China accountable to the two-year phase one trade deal signed in January 2020 and is exploring all weaknesses in China’s performance, including its lack of purchases of commercial aircraft…

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China shipping: from its monopoly on containers, to its critical role in the global supply chain

How important is shipping to China’s economy?As the world’s largest exporter and producer of industrial goods, China’s exports contributed to 39.18 per cent of the country’s GDP in 2020. Meanwhile, the country is also the world’s second-largest importer, after the United States.Foreign trade inevitably has to rely on transport. Among the various transportation methods, maritime transport, or shipping, is the most important for China. Shipping is also closely related to the global economy, as…

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China trade: surging export prices mask falling volumes, but turning point looms as Christmas orders dry up

China’s exports have continued to defy expectations and warnings of a slowdown amid coronavirus outbreaks, power shortages and rising shipping costs, but data has shown that while export values have increased, volumes of many goods have not.Murmurings of slower export growth started in June due to evaporating positive comparison-base effects from previous months and the reopening of alternative overseas manufacturing bases, but after a month of softer shipments in July, growth has since gone…

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Rising rental charges are taking up larger chunks of Americans’ income, putting a further squeeze on struggling households

Sharp rent increases in many parts of the country are eating up a bigger share of Americans’ monthly income, squeezing tenants already grappling with rising prices for gasoline, food and other necessities.Households with a median rent of US$1,179 in August tapped 30.3 per cent of their monthly income to pay their rent, up from 29.4 per cent a year earlier, according to an analysis by Zillow. The real estate information company examined data on median rents and household incomes across 50 of the…

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China’s interest in DEPA digital trade pact raises questions about ‘domestic reforms’ and what could be the next big multilateral deal

China’s bid to join the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) could put the country at the strategic forefront of world trade and provide an impetus for the formation of another major economic pact hot on the heels of other deals, such as the soon-to-launch Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), according to trade experts.China’s interest in joining the DEPA makes it the latest deal that China has applied to or is included in, such as the Comprehensive and Progressive…

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China leaving US behind with RCEP a new chapter for Beijing after surviving trade war

China is taking the lead in expanding global trade as the world’s biggest trade pact takes effect, leaving behind an increasingly protectionist United States, trade experts say.The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), comprising 15 member countries including China, will take effect on January 1 after reaching the minimum number of ratifications this week.First signed in November last year after eight years of negotiations, RCEP will not only expand trade for around 30 per cent of…

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US tapering: China urged to make preparations for ‘spillover’ after Fed confirms tapering

China’s yuan appreciated slightly on Thursday, defying expectations it would weaken on imminent tapering from the US Federal Reserve, although Beijing has been warned to prepare for “possible spillover”.Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell announced on Wednesday asset purchases would be scaled back by US$15 billion a month. Some analysts predict the tapering to be finished by June next year and it is likely to be followed by rate hikes.The US central bank’s move to unwind its massive pandemic…

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China’s common prosperity push may force Japanese businesses to ‘reconsider investment strategy’

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s push to achieve so-called common prosperity, aimed at reducing income gaps at home, has sparked concern among Japanese companies that the most populous country would become a less attractive market in the future.Since Xi earlier this year declared the ruling Communist Party had reached its long-held goal of building a “moderately prosperous society,” his leadership has apparently started to levy severe restrictions on the rich in a bid to rectify economic…

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RCEP trade deal reaches ‘milestone’ after ratification by Australia and New Zealand, will take effect in January

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement will take effect at the start of January, according to the Australian government, with the deal to facilitate trade liberalisation and economic integration in Asia and the Pacific.The 15-member RCEP – the world’s largest free trade agreement despite the absence of the United States – will be Japan’s first trade agreement involving both China and South Korea.The pact can enter into force now that Australia and New Zealand…

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