China Briefs: Jan 29, 2009
China Briefs: Jan 29, 2009

South African Navy's frigate 'Sas Spioenkkop' is seen in Shanghai as part of the activities to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of China-South Africa diplomatic ties.  (China Photos/Getty Images)
South African Navy's frigate 'Sas Spioenkkop' is seen in Shanghai as part of the activities to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of China-South Africa diplomatic ties. (China Photos/Getty Images)
Jan 29 — 'Made in China?'  Not at Capitol Visitors Center
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Washington souvenirs worth $100,000 — including images of the Capitol dome and printings of the U.S. Constitution — are locked in storage, blocked from sale in the new U.S. Capitol Visitors Center because the items are made in China.

Rep. Bob Brady, D-Pennsylvania, chairman of the House Administration Committee, said he warned operators of the visitors center not to purchase merchandise made outside the United States, but they did it anyway.

Brady, whose district includes Philadelphia, insists that it's wrong for tourists to return home with a souvenir from the nation's capital that bears a "'Made in China' sticker."

Jan 29 — U.S. won't unilaterally block China exports: Biden
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will insist China play by international trade rules, but will not move unilaterally to keep out China's exports, Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday.

"The policy of this administration is to say to China — which occasionally the last administration was reluctant to do — 'you're a major player on the world scene economically and you've got to play by the rules that everybody else plays by,'" Biden said in an interview on CNBC.

Jan 29 — China's Stake in America: report
NEW YORK (CFR) – China's holdings of U.S. assets are much discussed, but the true figures remain obscure, says a report by an independent, nonpartisan think tank.

In a working paper entitled “China’s $1.7 Trillion Bet,” Brad W. Setser and Arpana Pandey of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Center for Geoeconomic Studies, gauge the scale of Beijing's American portfolio.

The paper aims to identify the true scale of China’s external assets and its likely U.S. portfolio, and thus to provide a benchmark for assessing the impact of China’s reserve management on American and indeed global financial markets.

The stunning growth of China’s reserves and scale of purchases of U.S. securities over the past several years in some sense speaks for itself: never before has a country as poor as China provided so much financing to a country as rich as the United States, and never before has a country that values its independence as highly as the United States relied so heavily on a single country’s government for financing.

Jan 29 — Economic council gets $1.7M toward St. Louis-China trade initiative
BizJournals – The St. Louis County Economic Council will receive $1.7 million in federal funds to support the effort to make St. Louis a hub for trade with China.

The council had applied for the funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Sens. Kit Bond, R-Mo., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., wrote letters supporting the grant application.

On Monday, Zhou Wenzhong, China’s ambassador to the United States, and local leaders announced the formation of a commission aimed at bringing Chinese air freight to Lambert St. Louis International Airport and MidAmerica St. Louis Airport. Officials also hope Chinese companies will set up their U.S. headquarters in the region.

Jan 29 — DAVOS – Bad loans to stay manageable: Bank of China exec
DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – China's state lenders will not see any major increase in their non-performing loans (NPLs) this year even as the economic downturn bites, an executive at Bank of China said on Wednesday.

Jan 29 — China: '10 Billion Yuan Of Sham Notes In Circulation'
BEIJING (Sin Chew Jit Poh) – Chinese counterfeiters who churn out quality copies of everything from CDs to condoms have now turned their hands to the ultimate fake: sham banknotes.

Jan 29 — The Hindu Business Line: Anti-subsidy probe into sodium nitrite imports from China
NEW DELHI, India (The Hindu, G. Srinivasan) – After setting off an avalanche of anti-dumping probes into a diverse range of manufactured products against China by responding to the domestic industry’s concerns in recent months, the Commerce Ministry has for the first time begun an anti-subsidy probe into imported Sodium Nitrite from China.

The petitioner, Deepak Nitrite Limited, has alleged that producers of sodium nitrite from China have benefited from a host of countervailable subsidies. The petitioner highlighted China’s grant programmes, preferential lending, income tax programmes conferred by the Chinese authorities for foreign invested enterprises (FIEs), corporate income tax refund programme for reinvestment of FIE profits in export-oriented enterprises, preferential tax policies for R&D for FIEs, income tax credits on purchases of domestically produced equipment applicable to domestically owned companies, provision of electricity, natural gas, water utilities for less than adequate remuneration and provision of land for less than adequate remuneration.

Even as a case of anti-subsidy is being initiated, the Authority has also undertaken a mid-term review of anti-dumping duty, already in existence, on the subject goods from China based on a petition separately field by the domestic industry, pleading for review of extant anti-dumping duty. So for the Chinese exporters of sodium nitrite, it is a double whammy, trade policy analysts told Business Line here.

Jan 29 — Germany, China: Want int'l financial system reform
BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany and China want to reform the international financial system and ensure concrete results at a meeting of leaders from the Group of 20 nations in April, they said in a joint statement on Thursday.

The two countries also called for a quick solution to the Doha round of World Trade Organisation trade talks.

Jan 29 — No more chicken in MAS flights from China
BERNAMA (The New Straits Times) – Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has removed chicken from its inflight menu for flights out of China, effective today. This follows the government’s indefinite ban on chicken imports from that country.

However, it said chicken would remain on the menu for flights out of Malaysia, as the meat here is sourced from local farms.

Its general manager for inflight services, Hayati Ali said the safety of passengers was the priority for MAS.

Jan 29 — India ban worsens China's toy woes
MUMBAI (Asia Times) – India's toy industry has received with mixed emotions a six-month government ban on Chinese toy imports which can only add to the woes of the toy industry in China. The ban is also a hiccup in the US$50 billion trade relations between India and its largest trade partner.

Jan 29 — China pledges multi-million-dollar aid to Senegal
DAKAR (AFP) – China on Thursday said it would extend Senegal aid worth 8.9 million euros (11.5 million dollars) for sports, cultural and sanitation projects.

Jan 29 — China sells Africa arms for minerals and food
HONG KONG  (UPI, Andrei Chang) – Increasing quantities of Chinese-made military equipment have been finding their way to Africa, traded for oil, mineral resources and even fishing rights. Zambia has used its copper resources to pay China in a number of military deals, for instance, and Kenya has been negotiating with China to trade fishing rights for arms.

Jan 29 — Gabon Urges China to Accelerate Development of Iron-Ore Project
LIBREVILLE, Gabon (Bloomberg, Antoine Lawson) – Gabon urged China to accelerate the development of an iron-ore project in the Central African country, which has been delayed by the global financial crisis, Mining and Oil Minister Casimir Oye Mba said.

China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corp. announced in July it signed a 25-year accord with Gabon’s government to build and operate a mine producing as much as 30 million metric tons a year of the steelmaking ingredient. The state-owned contracting company, known as Sinomach, will also build a 500-kilometer railway, a port and a water power station.

Jan 29 — China fully implements promises made at China-Africa Forum despite financial crisis
People's Daily – China will fully implement the eight measures for China-Africa practical cooperation agreed at the Beijing Summit of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation despite the ongoing global financial crisis, Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun said Thursday.

Jan 29 — China Plans Frugal Anniversary Parade – State Media
BEIJING (AFP) – China will mark the 60th anniversary of communist rule this year with a frugal military parade as the global financial crisis takes its toll on the country's economy, state media reported.

Xinhua said the cost of the parade — to be held Oct. 1 to mark the founding of communist China in 1949 — would be around CNY300 million ($44 million).

The 1999 parade involved more than 11,000 military staff, 400 combat vehicles and 132 aircraft, and the servicemen trained for the synchronized marches for 10 months, Xinhua said.

The 1989 parade for the 40th anniversary was reportedly canceled after the military crushed democracy protests on Tiananmen Square in June that year.

Jan 29 — Merkel says China should talk to Dalai Lama
BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday called on China to hold talks with Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

"We talked about the situation in Tibet and from the German side, I emphasised that we have a common interest that talks with the Dalai Lama get underway," said Merkel at a joint news conference with China's Premier Wen Jiabao.

She said Germany was prepared to help with that process.

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