SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND IN BEIJING
AMBASSADE DE SUISSE EN CHINE

Der wöchentliche Presserückblick der Schweizer Botschaft in der VR China
The Weekly Press Review of the Swiss Embassy in the People's Republic of China
La revue de presse hebdomadaire de l'Ambassade de Suisse en RP de Chine
  13.11-17.11.06, No. 141  
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Foreign Policy

China, Japan to jointly study history
2006-11-16 People's Daily Online / 2006-11-17 China Daily
China and Japan agreed Thursday to jointly research history, a move that is expected to reduce future disputes on historical issues. The announcement was made after a meeting between Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) meeting. Historical disputes, especially issues concerning Japanese invasions of Asian countries including China during World War II, have periodically blocked advancement of bilateral relations. The joint research will be conducted according to the principles of the three political documents signed by the two countries, including the China-Japan Joint Statement, as well as with the spirit of "facing the future", according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Li said that the question of Taiwan must be handled appropriately. Taro said that there is no change in the Japanese Government's policy on Taiwan and will deal with the question according to the principles of the bilateral political documents. Bilateral relations soured after former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi repeatedly visited the Yasukuni Shrine, which honours 14 Class A convicted war criminals from World War II along with the country's war dead, after he took office in 2001. Some politicians refuse to admit the atrocities committed by Japanese troops during World War II, which greatly hurts the feelings of Asian peoples. During their meeting, the Chinese foreign minister said that new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to China last month has put bilateral ties on the track of normal development and the two sides should treasure such results. He hoped that both sides could make joint efforts to "deal with sensitive issues between the two countries" and not let them interfere in the development of bilateral ties. [...] Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged on Wednesday to vigorously promote Sino-Japanese ties and strengthen bilateral cooperation in various fields. "The relations between Japan and China are bilateral relations of great importance, and the maintenance and further development of the friendly relations are critical for peace and development of the region and even the whole world," Abe said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua. He expressed the willingness to improve the bilateral relationship to a strategically and mutually beneficial one - a future-oriented strategic relationship. "It is important for us to work together in all fields and to stick to the common strategic goal which is aimed at maintaining regional peace and development." As next year is the 35th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral relations, Abe called on both sides to take the chance to further deepen exchanges in various fields. [...]

Sino-Viet Nam economic partnership gets a fillip
2006-11-17 China Daily
HANOI: China and Viet Nam Thursday signed a dozen agreements ranging from economic development to joint exploration in the Beibu Bay during President Hu Jintao's state visit to the Southeast Asian country. Hu met General Secretary of the Communist Party of Viet Nam Central Committee Nong Duc Manh and Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet after a welcome ceremony. The Chinese president called for joint efforts to elevate economic partnership to a new level. China and Viet Nam, both members of the World Trade Organization, should push the development of a multilateral trading system, he said. They should also speed up negotiations on services, trade and investment for the proposed China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA), said Hu. Viet Nam is a member of the Southeast Asian economic bloc, which has agreed to set up an FTA with China by 2010. The two sides should speed up the land demarcation process, strengthen co-operation in the Beibu Bay region and push the joint development of the South China Sea, said Hu. Officials from both sides recently agreed to accelerate the installation of border markers under an agreement signed last year on completing the demarcation of the 1,350-kilometre border by 2008. The two sides still have territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Hu said that the objectives should be realized in accordance with the principle of "being fair and rational, and making mutual accommodation." Manh said that the two countries should "properly resolve the border and territorial disputes through friendly consultation." He expressed firm support to the one-China policy and opposition to Taiwan "independence." The three leaders also called for good planning and execution of the strategy known as "the two corridors and one circle." The two corridors refer to the economic belts stretching from Kunming in Southwest China's Yunnan Province to Hanoi and from Nanning in Southwest China's Guangxi to Hanoi while the circle refers to the pan-Beibu Bay economic area. Among the documents signed is a memorandum of understanding on co-operation on the "two corridors and one circle" strategy. China and Viet Nam have become closer in recent years, with frequent reciprocal visits by leaders creating a platform for stable co-operation. Bilateral trade reached US$8 billion last year and is expected to surpass US$10 billion this year, four years ahead of the target set by the prime ministers of the two countries in 2004. [...]

Premier Wen: U.S. parties have consensus on China-U.S. ties
2006-11-14 Xinhuanet
BEIJING: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Tuesday that the development of China-U.S. relations has always been the consensus of the Democrats and Republicans of the United States, calling for negotiations in solving trade frictions between the two countries. "Facts prove that consultation and dialogue are the right way to settle bilateral economic and trade frictions. Trade protectionism will only harm the common interests of both sides," Wen told visiting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez. The visit by Gutierrez, who heads a delegation involving 25 entrepreneurs, comes amid growing U.S. concern about trade deficit with China. China's trade surplus with the United States grew to 102.2 billion U.S. dollars in the first nine months this year. [...] China has always pursued dialogue and consultations for the benefits of fast-growing China-U.S. trade cooperation. "This year, China and the United States have carried out consultations and dialogue in multiple economic and trade areas, properly dealt with some problems and secured the stable development of bilateral trade relations," Wen said. Wen hoped the two countries could further expand and deepen cooperation in economic and trade field in the spirit of mutual understanding and accommodation as well as reciprocity and mutual-benefit. "China will work with the United States to push forward bilateral relations in a long-term, healthy and stable manner," Wen added.

Chinese president leaves for 4 Asian nations, 14th APEC summit
2006-11-15 People's Daily Online
Chinese President Hu Jintao left Beijing Wednesday afternoon for a state visit to Vietnam, Laos, India and Pakistan from Nov. 15 to 26. While in Vietnam, Hu is also expected to attend the 14th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Informal Meeting to be held in Hanoi from Nov. 17 to 19. Hu is to pay the state visit as guest of General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nong Duc Manh and Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet, General Secretary of Lao People's Revolutionary Party and Lao President Choummaly Sayasone, Indian President Abdul Kalam and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Vietnam, Laos, India and Pakistan are good neighbors of China and bilateral ties have maintained a good momentum of development, said assistant foreign minister Cui Tiankai prior to Hu's departure. "Hu's upcoming visit will be of great significance and exert far-reaching impact on pushing forward relations between China and its four Asian neighbors," he said. According to Cui, it is Hu's first ever visit to Vietnam and Laos after the two countries' ruling parties have their new leaders. It is also the first visit by the top Chinese leader to India and Pakistan in a decade. [...]

Nation to sign trade agreements with Pakistan, India
2006-11-14 China Daily
China will sign agreements with Pakistan and India to push forward economic and trade ties during President Hu Jintao's official visits to the two countries next week. The Ministry of Commerce announced yesterday in Beijing that China and Pakistan have agreed on market access and "basically wrapped up" negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA). The agreement is expected to be signed during President Hu's state visit to Islamabad on November 24. China and Pakistan have conducted five rounds of negotiations since last April, with the latest round concluding in Beijing on Friday. Before visiting Pakistan, Hu will leave Beijing for Viet Nam tomorrow for a state visit. In Hanoi he will also attend the leaders' meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) from November 18-19. Hu will then tour Laos to boost traditional friendship, before heading to India to seek bilateral collaboration. Bilateral trade between Pakistan and China reached US$4.26 billion last year, up 39 per cent over 2004. The free trade agreement with Pakistan is expected to cover investment and commodities trade, but details are not known. China-Pakistan FTA talks started last April in Islamabad after Premier Wen Jiabao and Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz signed an "early harvest" FTA, under which China would impose agreed tariff rates on 2,244 categories of Pakistani products. "Pakistan is expected to enjoy the benefits in agriculture and fishery and the FTA will boost Pakistan's exports to China," said Hu Shisheng, an expert with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations. It has also been reported that China will conduct FTA talks with India. But Hu Shisheng told China Daily that the negotiations could not be finalized during President Hu's trip to New Delhi. "It is too early for the two countries to clinch such a deal because India still has some worries about certain Chinese industrial sectors, such as manufacturing," the expert said. However, China and India are expected to sign an agreement on protecting trade and investment, he noted. This agreement is believed to be encouragement to investors from both sides. China is India's second largest partner and bilateral trade is expected to exceed US$20 billion this year. During his trip to India in April last year, Premier Wen and his Indian counterpart set a bilateral trade target of US$50 billion by 2010. China has been talking with 27 countries and regions about the establishment of nine free trade areas, covering a quarter of China's total trade, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Last year China signed an FTA cargo trade agreement with Chile and started an all-round tariff reduction process with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). [...]

China and Canada in diplomatic squabble
2006-11-17 SCMP
A diplomatic spat between China and Canada has left up in the air a bilateral meeting between the nations' leaders on the fringes of this weekend's Apec summit in Hanoi. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper yesterday told Canadian journalists accompanying him on his flight to Vietnam that his meeting with President Hu Jintao had been cancelled. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said later yesterday that a meeting would take place. The apparent cancellation was seen as a blow to Sino-Canadian relations, with Canadian media suggesting Mr Harper was snubbed by Beijing for his blunt criticisms of China's human rights record. Mr Harper insisted his government would not tone down its remarks. "I don't think Canadians want us to sell out important Canadian values, our belief in democracy, freedom, human rights. They don't want us to sell that out to the almighty dollar," he said. Speaking after meeting his Canadian counterpart, Peter Mackay, Mr Li said Mr Hu would meet Mr Harper during the three-day summit. "Who told you [that the meeting was cancelled]? They will see each other at a meeting," he said without specifying if the meeting would be a bilateral or general one. But Canadian delegation spokesman Francois Jubinville said last night there were no confirmed plans for a meeting. He said the Canadian delegation had been informed of the cancellation of the bilateral meeting "a few days ago". During his flight earlier yesterday, Mr Harper said he had been "surprised" that a bilateral meeting with Mr Hu had been cancelled. "The Chinese requested a meeting, which is, I understand, very unusual for them, and we agreed to have a meeting, and in the end, they decided not to have a meeting. I don't know anything really beyond that," he said. [...] In Hanoi, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao denied the meeting had been initiated by Beijing. "We don't have that much time during the APEC summit and there are a lot of meetings to attend. It's not unusual if they can't meet each other. We will try to sort out a time for the two leaders to meet," he said. "But no matter whether such a meeting will take place, China places high importance on our relations with Canada." In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular media briefing the two leaders would meet on the sidelines of the summit. "China always welcomes dialogue on human rights on the basis of equality and mutual respect," she said. "But we oppose other countries making irresponsible remarks on the internal affairs of China using the pretext of human rights." Mr Harper and his Conservative Party have frequently condemned China for its poor human rights record. In September, his government granted honorary citizenship to Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Another source of tension is believed to be Ottawa's efforts to free Huseyin Celil, a human rights activist jailed on the mainland. [...]

FM: China welcomes co-operation in Africa
2006-11-17 China Daily
China welcomes efforts by other countries and international organizations working to support development in Africa, according to a Foreign Ministry statement. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said China appreciated and supported any efforts aimed at securing peace, stability and development in Africa and is willing to work with the global community achieve these goals. The remarks followed reports from Germany quoting German Chancellor Angela Merkel as saying the European Union would make African development a priority in 2007 and that Germany would lay the groundwork for a summit that would bring together African and European leaders. The EU is set to wrap up its EU-Africa Week, a series of meetings and discussions on Africa aimed at covering issues ranging from politics to culture. The event is part of the EU's European Development Days, a collection of events focused on European efforts to assist the developing world. China rolled out its own red carpet for 48 delegations from 48 African countries earlier this moth for the Summit of China-Africa Co-operation Forum. The event featured the signing of a series of agreements worth US$1.9 billion. In her statement yesterday, Jiang reiterated Beijing's consistent stance on not interfering in other countries' internal affairs in the pursuit of foreign relations, saying China respected the path to development that African nations had chosen. "We will never impose our own ideology, values or preferred methods for development on other countries, especially African countries, " said Jiang. She said China thinks development is a priority for Africa, which faces severe challenges in terms of alleviating poverty and illnesses. She urged the international community to pay more attention to Africa's stability and development. "Sino-Africa co-operation is not targeting any third party and will not threaten the interests of any other country," Jiang said.

 

Domestic Policy

Election of delegates to 17th CPC national congress starts
2006-11-13 People's Daily Online
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) announced here Sunday it has worked out an overall plan guiding the election of delegates attending the Party's 17th National Congress to be held in 2007. A total of 2,220 delegates will be elected by 38 electoral units across the country. The election process, which has already begun, will be completed by June next year, according to the CPC Central Committee. The number of delegates to the 17th CPC National Congress is 100 more than the 16th congress which was held in November 2002. The increase in the number of delegates will improve the representation of the Party's grass-roots, an official with the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee told Xinhua. The CPC currently has more than 70 million Party members, an increase of six million since the 16th National Congress.,The official said the CPC Central Committee has issued a circular on the election of delegates, which defines clearly the division of electoral units, the required makeup and qualifications of candidates and election procedures. "Leaders and cadres generally should not constitute more than 70 percent of the total number of delegates, while those from the grass-roots should be no less than 30 percent," the official said, adding that the proportion of workers, farmers and professionals elected as delegates should be improved. The official also noted that the proportion of women delegates and those from ethnic groups should be higher than their respective ratio among the total number of Party members in their electoral units. "The delegates should also include a certain number of Party members representing new economic and social organizations," the official said. New economic and social organizations usually refer to privately owned enterprises and similar institutes. According to the circular, the election process follows five procedures, including nomination of candidates, qualification checks, public notification of the candidates, short listing of candidates and final voting. More democratic measures will also be introduced to encourage broader voter participation, said the official. The CPC Central Committee has required Party committees at all levels to enhance inner-party democracy and safeguard the democratic rights of all Party members. [...] According to the circular, provincial CPC committees should hear the opinions of non-Communist parties, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce and people of influence without party affiliation before the shortlist is made. "This has never been done before. I believe it will have a significant and positive impact," the official said. The circular said that any attempt to prevent voters from making their independent decisions must be prevented and bribery at election must be prohibited. The 16th Central Committee of the CPC decided at its sixth plenary session in October this year that the Party's 17th National Congress will be held in the second half of 2007 in Beijing. Such a congress normally convenes once every five years. "Delegates to the 17th National Congress of the CPC are entrusted by the more than 70 million Party members. They represent the opinions and needs of Party members in various sectors and fields," the official said. The official quoted the circular as saying that the delegates must observe four conditions. They are required to abide by and implement the Party constitution; carry out the Party's guidelines and policies; be industrious, honest and upright; and be in close touch with the public and honestly represent their opinions and demands. The Central Committee is the highest leading body of the CPC except for the convention period of the Party's National Congress. The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee convenes the plenary session of the Central Committee at least once a year. The 16th CPC Central Committee had 198 members and 156 alternate members in Nov. 2002. The official said the Party's 17th National Congress, to be held at the time when China's economic and social development enters a "crucial" stage, is an important political event to the Party, the country and its people. "It will have a significant impact on China's building of a moderately prosperous society and its modernization drive," the official said. [...]

Government to flush out money laundering
2006-11-16 China Daily
China is tightening the screw on money laundering by requiring its financial bodies to report any large or suspicious transactions. According to new rules released by the People's Bank of China on Tuesday, financial institutions such as banks and insurers will be required to report large and suspect transactions to anti-money laundering authorities. The new rules, which come into effect next March, came on the heels of the country's first anti-money laundering law, which was passed last month and is effective in January. The new rules set out specific definitions of large and suspect transactions that must be reported to the Anti-Money Laundering Monitoring and Analysis Centre, an office under the central bank. A single transaction exceeding 200,000 yuan (US$25,400) or a transaction with accumulated value of 200,000 yuan within a day are defined as large transactions. For foreign currency, the sum is US$10,000. As for suspicious transactions, securities dealers, futures brokers and fund management companies should report if they notice idle accounts being suddenly reactivated and large transactions taking place over a short period, Xinhua News Agency reported. Also, commercial banks, credit unions, postal savings institutions and trust companies have also been warned to look out for sudden closure of accounts following large transfers, loans paid back ahead of schedule and transactions that do not tally with clients' financial status. The detailed rules, experts and industry players said, will make the anti-money laundering efforts more effective, although it could increase costs for financial bodies. [...]

China urges vigilance against SARS, bird flu
2006-11-16 China Daily
Beijing: China's Ministry of Health has urged local governments to be on alert for SARS and human cases of bird flu and to strengthen prevention against epidemics as winter approaches. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome first emerged in China's southern Guangdong province, and the country is at the center of the fight against the H5N1 bird flu virus, with dozens of animal outbreaks and 21 human cases since 2003. "Experts believe that currently China has already entered the high season for respiratory disease," the ministry said in a statement on its Web site (www.moh.gov.cn) on Tuesday. "The health ministry demands that all localities strengthen supervision and reporting of cases of pneumonia where the cause is unclear, human cases of bird flu, ordinary influenza cases and SARS," it said. Local authorities must "immediately report outbreaks and adopt measures to prevent and control epidemics," the statement said. Experts say management of outbreaks has improved, but the government has acknowledged a lack of administrative capacity and a willingness among local officials to disclose information.

China to hold major human rights exhibition
2006-11-16 Xinhuanet
Beijing: China will hold a major human rights exhibition from Nov. 17 to 26 in Beijing to showcase its efforts and determination to protect human rights, sources with the Information Office of the State Council said here Thursday. More than 700 pictures, 250 legal documents and over 300 books will be on show at the exhibition, which is said to be the largest ever held in China, according to the office. Organizers said they hope the exhibition will enable people to get a clearer picture of human rights conditions in China. "It is everyone's responsibility to respect, protect and develop human rights," said Dong Yunhu, vice chairman of the China Society for Human Rights Studies. "I believe the exhibition will help promote human rights in China and boost exchanges between China and the outside world on this topic," said Dong. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It is also 15 years since China issued its White Paper on Human Rights in China. The exhibition will be jointly held by the Information Office of the State Council, the China Society for Human Rights Studies and the China Foundation for Human Rights Development.

 

Taiwan

Hu calls on Chinese to follow Sun
2006-11-13 China Daily
President Hu Jintao has called on Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Straits to realize the wishes of Sun Yat-sen and strive for unification of the country. He stressed his strong opposition to "Taiwan independence" in a speech at the Great Hall of the People Sunday to mark the 140th anniversary of the birth of Sun, one of the forefathers of modern China. Sun once said that "unification is the hope of all Chinese. Chinese will benefit if the country is unified. The people will be harmed if the country is separate." "Reviewing his words, we feel the great significance of China's unification," Hu said. True unification of the homeland conforms with the basic interests of the Chinese nation. It is also the wish and responsibility of all Chinese to work for unification, he said. Born in 1866 in Xiangshan County in South China's Guangdong Province, Sun was leader of 1911 revolution to overthrow China's last feudalistic dynasty, the Qing (1644-1911). He died of illness in Beijing in 1925. Hu said the country would forever remember the historic achievements made by Sun in terms of the country's independence, social advancement and the people's welfare. [...]

Ma apologises for receipts 'mistake'
2006-11-16 SCMP
Kuomintang chairman Ma Ying-jeou apologised yesterday for what he admitted were "serious administrative flaws" in the wrongful use of receipts by one of his aides in accounting for NT$1.4 million (HK$332,688) in expenses. Mr Ma, the Taipei mayor and head of Taiwan's main opposition party known for his squeaky clean image, is now facing his biggest political crisis, centring on allegations he embezzled "special expenses" as mayor. Analysts said the latest twist in a series of recent political scandals on the island had dealt a serious blow to Mr Ma, whose integrity and leadership ability were now under scrutiny. "I feel really awful and ashamed for such serious administrative flaws," a dejected Mr Ma said. Officials from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party have accused him of embezzling half the NT$340,000 in special expenses allocated to him each month for public affairs spending between 2004 and last year. Mr Ma was questioned by prosecutors on Tuesday. He said his secretary, Yu Wen, had switched receipts when claiming his mayoral expenses between January 2003 and June this year without telling him. But he stressed there was no embezzlement or any corruption involved. He said he discovered the mistakes late last month and, after he had gathered all the evidence on Tuesday, decided to be frank with the public, admit the mistakes and apologise. Asked if he would resign over the discrepancy, a grim-faced Mr Ma, whose term as mayor ends in 40 days, said since he had not instructed Mr Yu to switch receipts, he did not think he should quit. As head of the city government, he admitted his supervision had been flawed. Mr Ma later approved the resignation of his office director, Cheng An-kuo, who directly supervised Mr Yu. Mr Cheng was head of the Chung Hwa Travel Service in Hong Kong - Taiwan's quasi envoy to the region - until 2000. The incident has given the DPP much-needed ammunition to attack the KMT leader in a bid to divert attention from Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian, who has been under intense pressure to resign over a string of corruption scandals tied to him, his family and government. It has dealt a serious blow to Mr Ma, who has long been regarded as one of the few honest and clean politicians in Taiwan.

Resignations pile pressure on Chen
2006-11-14 China Daily
Two prominent members of Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said Monday they are stepping down as "lawmakers" due to alleged corruption by "president" Chen Shui-bian, increasing the pressure on him to resign. The defections of Lee Wen-chung and Lin Cho-shui are the first major cracks to appear in the DPP since a prosecutor indicted Chen's wife on November 3 for embezzling money from a special "diplomatic fund" and said that Chen himself could be indicted when his immunity from prosecution lapses after he leaves office. Chen faces a recall motion in Taiwan's "legislature" on November 24. At least 20 DPP members will have to side with the opposition for the recall to be put to an island-wide referendum for final approval. In a joint statement, Lee and Lin said they did not support the recall motion because it could create serious rifts in society. However, they said, they were leaving the "legislature" to express their dissatisfaction over the fund scandal and other alleged corruption cases that have embroiled Chen and his inner circle for the past six months. "Our party has had a glorious history, but it has also made mistakes," they said. "We're using this small action to make our apology to the public." The comment appeared to be aimed directly at Chen, who has said he and his wife are innocent of corruption and insisted he will complete the remaining 18 months of his term. Last week the DPP voted in a closed session to oppose the recall motion, a move that Lee and Lin attacked in their statement. "Our party (leaders) had promised before that once the 'president' was found to be involved in corruption, he should resign," they said. "But our handling of the matter has failed to meet public expectations. We should have kept our commitments." The statement by Lin and Lee follows the publication of an open letter on Friday by a former Chen adviser calling on Chen to resign over the corruption allegations. In the letter Nobel laureate Lee Yuan-tseh urged Chen to "admit mistakes" and choose the "correct option" in dealing with the charges against him.

 

Economy

APEC leaders to talk trade, security
2006-11-15 China Daily
China is seeking to work closely with members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) to push forward liberalization of trade and investment and tackle security concerns, according to officials and experts. Leaders of the 21 economies of APEC members will gather in Hanoi, Viet Nam this weekend to discuss ways of reviving the stalled Doha round of World Trade Organization (WTO) talks. Talks collapsed in July amid disagreements over subsidies and tariffs for agricultural goods. President Hu Jintao will attend the forum along with US President George W. Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Leaders are also expected to look for ways to combat pirated goods at the meeting, according to Vietnamese sources. "APEC can lead the way for all members of the WTO to reignite negotiations and conclude the Doha Development Agenda next year," Le Cong Phung, deputy foreign minister of Viet Nam, was quoted as saying. "If APEC can identify a way forward, this path will most likely be suitable to the broader WTO membership," he noted. Ministry of Commerce spokesman Chong Quan said earlier that Beijing will continue to appeal for more economic openness and the facilitation of trade and investment. APEC was established in 1989, and its members account for about 40 per cent of the world's population, 56 per cent of the world's gross domestic product (GDP) and approximately 48 per cent of world trade. China, which hosted an APEC meeting in 2001 in Shanghai, has close economic and trade ties with APEC, according to Chong. Its trade with APEC members reached US$960.7 billion last year, nearly 68 per cent of its total foreign trade, and nine of its top 10 overseas trading partners are from APEC. Ministers will meet from November 15-16 in the Vietnamese capital to prepare for the leaders' meeting, which will be held on November 18 and 19. The meeting is expected to draw about 10,000 people, including many international business leaders. According to sources familiar with the forum, leaders will adopt a five-year "Hanoi action plan" outlining specific policies aimed at lifting trade barriers. Security concerns: The nuclear issue in the Korean Peninsular will inevitably be a hot topic at the summit, said Liu Junhong, an international affairs expert with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations. The forum is the first time leaders of state from the United States, China, Japan, Russia and the Republic of Korea have gathered together since the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted a nuclear test early last month. [...]

US signals positives in IPR efforts
2006-11-15 China Daily
Visiting US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez has acknowledged China's efforts to protect intellectual property rights (IPR), saying it is "showing an increasing ability to deal with this very complex matter." Speaking at a roundtable on IPR protection Tuesday, he listed a number of achievements. In one case, co-operation between Chinese and US law enforcement agencies led to the seizure of fake Tamiflu, a drug used to fight bird flu. He also noted that Chinese courts have ruled in favour of protecting the trademarks and patents of among others Pfizer, General Motors, Starbucks and Kodak. China has revoked more than 360 business licences for audiovisual products since July because they were involved in piracy. The Chinese Government now insists that legal operating system software be pre-loaded on all computers produced in China or imported from overseas, which has led to a noticeable drop in software piracy. The US trade chief praised China for increasing punishment of counterfeiters, but, he said: "The reality of course is we are still behind the criminals and pirates." A mutually beneficial trade relationship depends on a number of factors, and IPR protection is critical, Gutierrez said. [...] In another development, the visiting US commerce chief said the US Government would issue new rules to clarify requirements for technology exports to China in a few months. "The new rules will be an improvement because they will be more focused and more specific," Gutierrez said. "They provide predictability, and that should make things clearer for both parties." The US published a draft regulation on high-tech exports in July tightening restrictions on exports to China.

China, France hail agricultural cooperation
2006-11-13 Xinhuanet
Beijing: Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu on Monday met with visiting French Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Dominique Bussereau and hailed the agricultural cooperation between the two countries. The agricultural sectors of China and France complement each other and boast huge potential for cooperation, Hui said. It is in the fundamental interests of the two peoples to step up China-France agricultural cooperation, Hui said. Hui said that he hoped the Chinese and French agricultural sectors would build closer links.

Foreign banks plan local incorporation
2006-11-17 China Daily
China's announcement Thursday that foreign banks can soon deal in renminbi retail business has prompted a flurry of international lenders to announce their plans to incorporate in China. The rule, which marks the implementation of one of China's banking commitments to the World Trade Organization (WTO), allows foreign-funded banks to deal in the renminbi retail business across the country after December 11. In order to better protect the interests of domestic depositors, the Chinese Government is encouraging foreign banks to incorporate locally when dealing in renminbi retail business. The release of the rule yesterday was welcomed by foreign banks, with a few immediately announcing they are ready to become among the first to incorporate in China. According to Xu Feng, the director in charge of overseeing foreign banks for the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), more than 10 foreign banks are ready to change their branches to local corporations following the issuance of the rules. Foreign lenders including HSBC, Standard Chartered, Bank of East Asia, and Hang Seng Bank have all expressed their willingness to transfer operating branches into locally registered corporations. "It is a historic milestone to mark the fifth anniversary of China's entry into the WTO and its commitment to fully open the financial market," said Richard Yorke, China CEO of HSBC. "We believe that local incorporation will enable us to further expand our network and service range, in particular our renminbi financing ability for the benefit of our customers in the China market," he said.

China faces inflation pressures: central bank
2006-11-14 People's Daily Online
China's central bank said in Beijing on Tuesday that inflation pressures still exist despite lower consumer price index (CPI) in the first three quarters. Prices for both consumer goods and production materials have risks of going up in the future, said a report on currency policy in the third quarter released here Tuesday by the central bank. China's CPI rose 1.3 percent in the first nine months, 0.7 percentage lower than the same period last year. The central bank said that China's consumer goods would be in oversupply in the future period. However, as China speeds up its pricing reform on energy products, prices of water, electricity, oil and gas would continue to be raised. Price hike of crude oil and non-ferrous metal in the international market would push the prices of concerned products high, says the report. Stricter requirement on safe production and social security would increase costs of companies and the strong momentum of investment would bring more pressures for price rise, it says. [...]

FDI climbs after falling for 4 months
2006-11-16 China Daily
Realized foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country rose in October after annualized declines in the previous four months, the Ministry of Commerce said Wednesday. The amount grew nearly 16 per cent to US$5.99 billion and 3,047 foreign-invested enterprises were approved. The country attracted US$48.58 billion in FDI from January to October, up 0.34 per cent from a year earlier, ministry spokesman Chong Quan told a news briefing. During the same period, 33,068 foreign-invested ventures were approved, down 6.32 per cent year on year. The ministry did not reveal figures for contracted FDI. Hong Kong ranked first among sources of FDI, followed by the British Virgin Islands and Japan. [...] The figures released by the commerce ministry did not include investment flows to the financial sector, which has become a major destination of FDI since last year. "A lot of foreign money is coming into China's banking sector as the deadline at the year-end for the full opening of the banking sector draws near," Citigroup economist Huang Yiping said. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the top economic planner, said last week that the country welcomes foreign companies as strategic investors in commercial banks and State-owned insurers as long as the Chinese side holds a controlling stake. The move is expected to attract more inflows to the financial services sector during the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10). The banking regulator is expected to publish revised administrative rules on foreign banks, allowing them to deal with renminbi retail business. FDI in the sector jumped to US$12 billion last year, compared with less than US$2 billion in 2004. The spokesman also touched on China's trade and economic relations with Viet Nam, India and Pakistan with President Hu Jintao yesterday starting his visit to the three countries. [...]

Heavy oil to help lighten energy load
2006-11-14 China Daily
Oil producers will give priority to heavy oil exploration and production in the next decade to meet China's increasing energy needs. "As prices for conventional oil products will remain high in the long run, heavy oil and alternative oil products will unavoidably become part of our energy segment in the near future," Zhang Fengjiu, deputy chief engineer of China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC), told China Daily Monday at the first World Heavy Oil Conference. Heavy oil a catch-all name for oil shale, oil sand and natural asphalt and natural gas hydrate are becoming increasingly important substitutes for conventional energy resources worldwide. Zhang said that heavy oil production will hold a dominant position in his firm's business. "By 2010, the daily production of heavy oil will surge to 500,000 barrels from the current 200,000," Zhang said, adding that heavy oil will account for 60 per cent of CNOOC's total production then. Jia Chengzao, vice-president of PetroChina, said his company is also interested in tapping heavy oil resources. But he said it is still too early to make any announcement. As the cost of heavy oil exploration and production is high, Jia called for more government policy support. Bob Lockwood, president and chief executive officer of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, based near Boston, Massachusetts, said China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), PetroChina's parent company, is also targeting global heavy oil resources by working closely with his organization. "We have hammered out a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with CNPC, mainly studying options of bringing more heavy oil resources from Canada to China," Lockwood said. "I believe the MOU can expand beyond that scope to joint research on technology innovation and investment options." CNPC and the government of the Canadian province of Alberta initiated the four-day global heavy oil conference, which opened on Sunday. Canada is rich in heavy oil. Ma Kai, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at the opening of the conference: "The government should encourage and support the development of heavy oil, in line with its 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10)." [...]

 

Chung Vay-Luy
Embassy of Switzerland
 

The Press review is a random selection of political and social related news gathered from various media and news services located in the PRC, edited or translated by the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing and distributed among Swiss Government Offices. The Embassy does not accept responsibility for accuracy of quotes or truthfulness of content. Additionally the contents of the selected news mustn't correspond to the opinion of the Embassy.
 
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