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News letter Issue No. 11

    Issue No. 11

   6 March, 2009

  Ambassador Song Zhe, Head of the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the European Communities, during his recent meetings with Commissioner László Kovács for Taxation and Customs Union, commented on China’s current economic situation as follows: under the impact of the global financial crisis and multiple factors, the world's economy will still be in a downward trend for a period of time. Recovery takes time. This makes China's economy face a severe external environmental impact. However, China's economy still has the potential for sustained growth, thanks to its advantage including the fundamentals and development momentum. First, the long-term trend of economic development has not changed. Industrialization, urbanization and internationalization, as well as industry and consumption upgrading continues to push forward. Secondly, the advantage and the conditions of economic development have not changed. China has set up good material, technical and institutional infrastructure, and at the micro level,the ability to make adjustment and adapt to changes has also improved. Thirdly, there has been substantial progress in financial reform, and the financial system is overall sound. Fourthly, the effect of the current macro-economic regulation has begun to manifest itself. With a series of policy measures taken by the Chinese government continuing to work, China's national economy is expected to continue to maintain steady growth.

  China's procurement delegation finished its four-nation Europe tour on February 28, which included Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Britain. With a total value of 15 billion U.S. dollars in deals and contracts accomplished in the four countries, The trip demonstrates China's determination to open its market and oppose trade protectionism and presents China as a responsible and accountable nation as promised during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's recent "trip of confidence" to Europe. The procurement will help countries tide over the current difficulty and push world economy onto the road of recovery.

  The procurement delegation was led by the Commerce Minister Chen Deming. During the trip, he said that the European Union (EU) is China's long-term strategic partner and relation with the EU is the most important one amongst China's foreign trade and economic ties. He said the visit brought a double-win situation for Europe and China, as Chinese companies didn't waste money when buying products and technology from Europe. Minister Chen said the trip was only a beginning on China's part. China would send a small-scale delegation to Britain to explore mutual investment opportunities. He pointed out that it could also be a measure for China to achieve a balance of international payments, if the government supported competitive domestic companies in making overseas investments. The government will render policy and financial support for these companies.

  China supports the United Nation's efforts to better tackle global threats and challenges through continuous reforms, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said on February 26. Yang made the remarks in a meeting with the visiting president of the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann. Minister Yang said the UN reform should accommodate the interests and concerns of all parties, especially those of developing countries, while seeking consensus on the basis of wide negotiation. Brockmann, who took up his one-year term in September 2008, said he expected China to play a more important role in the international community as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and as an important developing country.

  The Chinese special envoy on the Middle East issue Sun Bigan announced on March 2 the Chinese government pledged to donate 15 million RMB (2.2 million U.S. dollars) for the reconstruction of the Palestinian war-battered Gaza Strip. Sun pledged the government donation at an international donors' conference on Gaza reconstruction. China has already provided one million U.S. dollars of emergent aid to the Palestinians after the conflicts broke out in Gaza. Sun expressed that China has always been devoted to the Middle East peace process and ready to provide tangible help for Gaza's economic recovery and social development.

  The 11th National People's Congress (NPC) of China started its second session on March 5. Premier Wen Jiabao delivered a report on the work of the government at the opening meeting. He said China will be able to achieve the economic growth target of about 8 percent in 2009, if proper policies and measures are taken. He also announced a fiscal deficit budget of 950 billion yuan (139 billion U.S. dollars) for 2009, a record high in six decades, as the country boosts spending to cushion the impact of the global financial crisis. In addition, the State Council will allow local governments to issue 200 billion yuan worth of government bonds through the Ministry of Finance (MOF), which will go into provincial budgets. A comprehensive implementation of the value-added tax (VAT) reform will cut the burdens on enterprises and individuals by approximately 500 billion yuan this year, as preliminary calculations indicate. A variety of means such as tax cuts, rebates and exemptions will be adopted to encourage enterprise investment and consumer spending and invigorate the micro-economy. Altogether 100 administrative charges will be rescinded or suspended this year. He noted while continuing to increase investment in key areas, the government will "strictly control regular expenditures and do everything we can to reduce administrative costs." For more information about the meeting, please go to http://www.chinaview.cn/2009lh/


  China's top legislature on February 25 started to debate an amendment to the Criminal Law that aims to protect the personal information from being divulged and abused. If approved by the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, the article would forbid staff in government offices, financial, medical and educational institutions, transport and communications departments who usually have access to personal information, to sell or leak such information. Offenders could face a maximum jail term of three years as well as fines, although details of the fines were not given. According to a 2008 study by the Chinese Academy of Social Science, selling personal information was becoming a booming underground business, with property and car buyers, business people, patients, mobile phone subscribers, and even pregnant women falling prey. Due to a lack of powerful and clear laws, many victims found it difficult to sue offenders and seek compensation, the study found.

  China's top legislature approved the Food Safety Law on February 28, providing a legal basis for the government to strengthen food safety control "from the production line to the dining table." The law, which goes into effect on June 1, 2009, will enhance monitoring and supervision, toughen-up safety standards, recall substandard products and severely punish offenders. The law stipulated a ban on all chemicals and materials other than authorized additives in food production, saying that "only those items proved to be safe and necessary in food production are allowed to be listed as food additives." Producers of edible farm products are required to abide by food safety standards when using pesticide, fertilizer, growth regulators, veterinary drugs, feedstuff and feed additives. They must also keep farming or breeding records.

  The Chinese legislature approved on February 28 the amended Insurance Law which mandates the state regulatory body to prevent risky business operations of insurance companies. The amended law says the State Council's insurance regulatory body has the right to order the insurance company's shareholders to stop affiliate company transactions that seriously harm the company's interests and undermine its solvency. The revised law will take effect on Oct. 1.

  Chinese capital Beijing will put into use 20 bigger and more efficient heating centers in the next two years in a bid to reduce pollution. Ten such centers were in operation and the city planned to increase the number to 20 in 2009 and 30 in 2010. The city launched the project of building more efficient and less polluting heating facilities in Changping District in 2005. The centers, equipped with desulphurization facilities, could reduce harmful smoke and sulphur dioxide emissions by 74 percent and 68 percent respectively, according to the commission. They were also 30 percent more efficient.

  China plans to land Chang'e-3 on the moon at latest in 2013. The mission of Chang'e-3 is to make soft landing and probe the moon. Before the mission, Chang'e-2 will be launched at the latest in 2011 to test key technologies of soft landing and lower technical risks. The timetable was revealed as China concluded the first phase of its three-stage moon mission with a controlled impact of Chang'e-1 on the moon on March 1. A Chang'e-4 will also be launched during the second phase, which will be concluded before 2017. The third phase will last from 2017 to 2020, during which China will launch recoverable moon rovers.

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