Month: March 2019

hina boosts measures to open economyivers the keyn

China will further open up to foreign investors and offer them treatment equal to that of domestic companies with firm prote

ction of their legitimate rights, Premier Li Keqiang said at the Boao Forum for Asia on Thursday.

The country will fully adopt pre-entry national treatment and negative lists for overseas

investment, Li said at the opening ceremony of the forum’s annual conference in Hainan province.

By the end of June, China will release the amended negative lists for foreign investment ac

cess, he said. “The negative lists will only be shortened. … We will ensure fair competition and common deve

lopment for Chinese and foreign companies with fair supervision,” Li told more than 2,000 participants.

A negative list shows areas where investment is prohibited; all other areas are presumed to be open.

The government has started formulating matching regulations and rules to supp

ort implementation of the Foreign Investment Law, adopted two weeks ago, Li s

aid, adding that supporting regulations will take effect along with the law on Jan 1.

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The country will further open up its financial sector and

accelerate the process to fully lower the market access threshold for foreign investments in

banking, securities and insurance, the premier said. Service sectors, including medical care and educ

ation, will be opened up along with transportation, infrastructure and energy, he said.

Li said China will further make it easier for foreign companies to set up a venture capital presence and will improve regulati

ons on foreign investors’ strategic investments in listed companies and their mergers with and acquisitions of domestic enterprises.

Also, preferential policies for investments from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan w

ill remain unchanged, and greater development opportunities will be offered for them, Li said.

Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalizaton, said he was impressed by Li’s speech to cl

ean up rules and regulations inconsistent with the Foreign Investment Law as well as to launch a more streamlined negative list.

“It shows China’s attitude of further opening-up, which is a higher-level and more concrete commitment of China,” he said.

Leif Johansson, chairman of global biopharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, said

Li’s speech reflects the determination to create a more open, fair and transpare

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Much work’ awaits new Sino-US trade talksnited Stat

hina and the United States will hold their eighth round of high-level economic and trade cons

ultations in Beijing on Friday, with “much work” remaining to be done, the Ministry of Commerce said.

Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said on Thursday that the two nations have made some progre

ss through recent phone discussions between Vice-Premier Liu He and US Trade Representative Robert Ligh

thizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “But there remains much work to be done,” he said.

To iron out differences over certain economic and trade issues, China and the US have b

een intensifying their consultations. Next week, Liu will visit Washington for the ninth round of talks.

Negotiators from both sides are striving to implement consensuses reached betw

een the countries’ leaders in December, Gao said at a regular news conference.

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ation and safety officials Daniel Elwell, Robert

US senators sharply questioned regulatory officials on Wedne

sday about the Federal Aviation Administration’s reliance on Boeing Co’s engineers to cert

ify the safety of the company’s new 737 Max 8 aircraft, which was involved in two fatal crashes in the past five months.

A self-certification procedure called Organization Designation Authorization came under scr

utiny at a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee’s aviation subcommittee in Washington. Testifying wer

e Daniel Elwell, acting FAA administrator; Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Saf

ety Board; and Calvin Scovel III, Transportation Department inspector general.

For decades, the FAA has delegated some authority for certifying new aircraft to the manufacturers, reducing government costs.

After the crashes of Lion Air in Indonesia in October and Ethiop

ian Airlines this month, which killed a total of 346 passengers and crew members, critics have ci

ted the self-certification process as evidence of an overly cozy relationship between the FAA and the industry.

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Elwell defended the agency’s reliance on experts from ma

anufacturers and said the current system had produced an unprecedented safety record i

n the US. He said the FAA was “fully involved” in the certification of the Boeing 737 Max 8, including “133 of the 297 flight tests”.

Senator Richard Blumenthal questioned the FAA’s oversight of the Boeing 737 Max jet, argu

ing that reliance on the manufacturer put “the fox in charge of the henhouse”.

Blumenthal said Boeing rushed to get the 737 Max in the air to compete with Europe’s Airbus and disregarded critical safety features.

“There needs to be rigorous reform so the FAA is put back in charge of safety,” he said. “The

fact is that the FAA decided to do safety on the cheap, which is neither safe nor cheap,” he said.

Senator Jerry Moran asked what it would take for the FAA on its own to certify airc

raft. Elwell said: “Ten thousand additional FAA employees and $1.8 billion” per year.

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Over the years, FAA has increasingly shifted toward wor

king with industry to meet shared safety goals,” he said. “FAA now delegates more of its aircr

aft certification to approved manufacturers through its congressionally authorized Organization Desig

nation Authorization program or ODA. However, my office has identified weaknesses with FAA oversight of ODA.”

Senators questioned the safety of Boeing’s anti-stall system, called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System.

The system was installed because Max jets have bigger engines mounted closer to the nose of the plane than older Boeing 737s, changing the plane’s aerodynamics.

If the nose rises, threatening a stall, the MACS system automatically points the nose of the plane down to gain speed. The sys

tem can be shut off by flipping a switch on the throttle console between the pilot and co-pilot.

The “angle of attack” sensor built into the Max aircraft measures the amount of lift generat

ed by the wings. The device warns pilots when there is too little lift, potentially stalling the plane

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Retail sales of local government bonds attract eager

Chinese local government bonds worth 1.4 billion yuan ($208.5 million) were snapped up by retail investors within a single day, after counter sales in banks we

re made available for the first time. The fundraising will help supplement a broader fiscal deficit this year, analysts said.

On Monday, individuals in China were able to purchase bonds issued by t

he Zhejiang provincial government (five-year term, 3.32 percent coupon rate) and the N

ingbo city government (three-year term, 3.04 percent coupon rate). Proceeds from the sales will be used for land purchases (300 million yuan) and shantytown renovations (1.1 billion yuan), acc

ording to a notice on the website of China Central Depository and Clearing, a clearinghouse under the central bank.

The minimum investment amount for retail investors is 100 yuan, lower than most wealth management products issu

ed by commercial banks. Previously, individual investors could only purchase bonds issued by the central government, kno

wn as treasury bonds. And before Monday, local government bonds were traded mainly in the interbank market.

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She would also become the fourth Conservative prime min

ister in a row to have fallen foul of divisions over Europe within her centuries-old party, following David Cameron, John Major and Margaret Thatcher.

Most voters think the Brexit negotiation has been handled badly and there may now be a slight majority for staying in the EU, rec

ent polls suggest. Many Conservative MPs say May herself has caused the chaos by not negotiating harder with the EU.

“It was inevitable and I just feel she’s made the right decision. She has actually read the m

ood of the party, which was a surprise,” said Conservative lawmaker Pauline Latham.

Over two decades since her debut appearance at Wimbledon, Chinese legend Li

Na still remembers her awkward introduction to the iconic London tournament.

Li first competed there in the girls’ singles in 1998, and was tripped up by the switch f

rom hard courts to grass, not to mention the All England Club’s famous sartorial etiquette.

“I had no clue at all on how to play on grass,” Li recalled at Tuesday’s The Road to Wimbledon junior training camp in Beijing.

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hina and France reaffirmed their commitment to jointly add

ddress climate change, the loss of biodiversity and environmental

protection in a joint statement issued on Tues

day, after visiting President Xi Jinping met with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

The two countries stressed that public and private funds should be directed to invest more to fight climate change and for biodiv

ersity protection, and there should be sustained financial support for the climate change actions of developing countries.

What is frustrating is the fact that solar and wind generation grew at double-digit pace in 2018, with solar alone increasing by 31 p

ercent, but that was still not fast enough to meet the higher electricity demand around the world that has driven up coal use.

China remains the leader in both solar- and wind-generated energy followed by Europe and the Uni

ted States. But despite being on course to meet its Paris climate pledge to peak its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, sourcing 20 percent of it

s energy needs from renewables and nuclear power by that date is a tougher challenge for China. However, the addit

ional benefits of energy security and reduced pollution provide extra incentives for resolute efforts to achieve this goal.

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lawmakers seize Brexit agenda in bid to break deadlock

LONDON – British lawmakers seized a measure of control over the

stalled Brexit process from Prime Minister Theresa May‘s foundering governmeng up a seri

es of votes that could dramatically alter the course of the UK’s departure from the European Union.

The move came after May conceded that Parliament would defeat her twice-rejected divorce deal with the EU again if she put it to a third vote.

With Brexit delayed and the new departure date up in the air, the House of Commons v

oted to give itself temporary control of the parliamentary timetable starting on Wednesday so lawmakers can vote o

n alternatives to May’s withdrawal deal. The government usually controls the scheduling of votes in Parliament.

Lawmakers who backed Monday’s motion, which passed 329-302, hope the planned “indic

ative votes” will narrow the options down to one that can secure majority support. Possible options inclu

de a “soft Brexit” that maintains close economic ties with the EU or scrapping Britain’s departure altogether.

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