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News from China
China, US set for new round of talks
22nd March 2019

 China and the United States will hold their eighth round of high-level economic and trade consultations in Beijing next Thursday and Friday, the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday.

 
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were invited to visit China for the talks, ministry spokesman Gao Feng told a news conference.
 
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chief of the Chinese side of the China-US comprehensive economic dialogue, was invited to visit Washington for the ninth round of talks in early April, Gao said.
 
Recently, both sides have held several rounds of talks on phone on economic and trade issues and agreed on holding the eighth and ninth rounds of high-level consultations, he said.
 
The face-to-face talks will be the first since late February when US President Donald Trump delayed a March 1 deadline to avert an increase in tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent from the current 10 percent, citing “very productive” trade talks between the two countries.
 
After months of escalating trade frictions with the US slapping extra tariffs on Chinese imports and China responding with retaliatory measures, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump agreed during their December meeting in Argentina that the two countries should strive to reach a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement within 90 days to break the impasse.
 
In order to realize that goal, Chinese and US trade negotiators have since accelerated their talks.
 
Also yesterday, the commerce ministry said China’s foreign trade is expected to register steady growth in the first quarter of 2019, with the growth of imports and exports accelerating earlier this month.
 
Customs data showed the country’s goods trade surged 24.7 percent year on year in the first eight days of March.
 
China’s foreign trade saw rising momentum despite increasing external uncertainties, Gao said.
 
During the first two months, the country’s foreign trade amounted to US$622.72 billion, down 3.9 percent year on year.
 
Imports and exports usually fluctuate in the month when the Spring Festival falls according to historical data, the spokesman said.
 
China’s goods trade rebounded strongly after the Spring Festival this year, customs data showed.
 
Foreign trade in the first two months was also influenced by the China-US trade frictions as some enterprises tended to front-load imports and exports in the second half of 2018, Gao said.
 
The commerce ministry also said it is working with other authorities in preparing relevant rules to ensure the successful implementation of the foreign investment law.
 
It is reviewing and reorganizing current regulations on foreign investment management, the spokesman said.
 
The ministry will listen attentively to comments and suggestions from foreign-invested enterprises and other relevant parties during the rule-making process, he said.
 
China’s national legislature passed the foreign investment law at the closing meeting of its annual session on March 15.
 
The law, a landmark legislation that will provide stronger protection and a better business environment for overseas investors, will become effective on January 1, 2020.
Source: Shanghai Daily, March 22, 2019
China continues to raise pensions for retirees
21st March 2019

 China will raise the basic pension in 2019, the 15th straight year it had done so, to strengthen people's sense of fulfillment and happiness, an Economic Daily report said Thursday.

 
Starting from the beginning of this year, the average monthly payment for retirees from enterprises, government agencies and public institutions was lifted by 5 percent from 2018 levels, according to a circular jointly issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the Ministry of Finance.
 
The State Council, China's cabinet, decided to maintain a 5-percent pension rise this year, given that both the average salary increase and the consumer price rise were stable in 2018, said Jin Weigang, head of Chinese Academy of Labor and Social Security.
 
The increase, set to benefit 118 million retirees across China, was equivalent with the rise rate in 2018.
 
However, the rise rate this year was lower than the 5.5-percent increase in 2017, due to moderating economic growth and a rapidly aging society, which result in a heavier burden on the pension funds.
 
A slower rise rate is conducive to the pensions' sustainable development, Jin said.
 
China raised pensions by at least 10 percent annually during the 2005-2015 period before the pace slackened in 2016.
 
From 2005 to 2016, the average monthly pension payment for enterprise retirees went up to 2,400 yuan (US$350) from around 640 yuan, official data showed.
 
The government estimates that the number of people aged over 60 in China will reach 255 million, 17.8 percent of the country's total population, by 2020.
 
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, March 21, 2019
China continues to raise pensions for retirees
21st March 2019

 China will raise the basic pension in 2019, the 15th straight year it had done so, to strengthen people's sense of fulfillment and happiness, an Economic Daily report said Thursday.

 
Starting from the beginning of this year, the average monthly payment for retirees from enterprises, government agencies and public institutions was lifted by 5 percent from 2018 levels, according to a circular jointly issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the Ministry of Finance.
 
The State Council, China's cabinet, decided to maintain a 5-percent pension rise this year, given that both the average salary increase and the consumer price rise were stable in 2018, said Jin Weigang, head of Chinese Academy of Labor and Social Security.
 
The increase, set to benefit 118 million retirees across China, was equivalent with the rise rate in 2018.
 
However, the rise rate this year was lower than the 5.5-percent increase in 2017, due to moderating economic growth and a rapidly aging society, which result in a heavier burden on the pension funds.
 
A slower rise rate is conducive to the pensions' sustainable development, Jin said.
 
China raised pensions by at least 10 percent annually during the 2005-2015 period before the pace slackened in 2016.
 
From 2005 to 2016, the average monthly pension payment for enterprise retirees went up to 2,400 yuan (US$350) from around 640 yuan, official data showed.
 
The government estimates that the number of people aged over 60 in China will reach 255 million, 17.8 percent of the country's total population, by 2020.
 
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, March 21, 2019
New US survey shows most respondents expect US-China trade deal in 2019
20th March 2019

 A deal between the United States and China to resolve their trade disputes is widely expected to be reached this year, while sluggish global growth and tariffs are seen as main reasons for a sharp slowdown of the US economy, US media reported Tuesday citing a recent survey.

 
CNBC reported that the CNBC Fed survey for March showed 79 percent of the 43 respondents expected a US-China trade deal this year, 2 percent predicted a new round of tariffs, and 17 percent said the trade tension will continue.
 
Those polled range from economists to fund managers and strategists, according to the report.
 
The average forecast for the growth of the US gross domestic product for 2019 is 2.3 percent, down from the 2.44 percent prediction made in a January survey by the CNBC and a drastic decline from the 3.1-percent year-on-year GDP rise recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018.
 
For 2020, the respondents predicted that economic growth will decelerate to below 2 percent.
 
As for what factors contribute to the US economic slowdown, slowing global growth and protectionist trade policies are viewed as the top two reasons. Thirty-two percent of the respondents said US expansion is hampered primarily by global weakness, and 27 percent assigned the cause to trade protectionism.
 
Tariffs, both those imposed by the Trump administration and those levied by other countries in retaliation, are seen by 45 percent of the respondents as having a significant role in global slowdown. Another 48 percent perceived the effect to be modest, and only 7 percent said the duties are irrelevant.
 
Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said in a telebriefing Tuesday morning that "there's ample room for optimism" about the US economic outlook.
 
He said the administration is "watching closely" signs of recession globally, especially in Europe, which he said "seems very close to recession" partly because of uncertainties related to Britain's exit from the European Union.
 
"We are pretty confident that the momentum that we are carrying into this year will continue," Hassett said of the US economy. "I think the idea that we would have a recession next year is certainly not impossible ... but it would be very unusual for such a thing to happen."
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, March 20, 2019

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