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News letter Issue No. 12
2009/03/27
  

    Issue No. 12

   26 March, 2009

  On March 23, 2009, Ambassador Song Zhe, Head of the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the European Communities wrote an open letter to all members of the European Parliament as March 28--the memorial day for the liberation of millions of serfs in Tibet--is approaching. The letter provides some facts and figures about Tibet, explains Tibet's road of development since democratic reform 50 years ago, enumerates its achievements, and clarifies policies of the Chinese government towards Dalai Lama. To read the letter, please go to http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/ce/cebe/eng/stxw/t553421.htm

  Another Chinese delegation of businesses and industry leaders, led by the Ministry of Commerce (MOC), left for four European countries on March 7 for investment and economic cooperation. The business delegation, following purchases totaled more than 10 billion U.S. dollars in Europe by a Chinese procurement delegation in late February, is heading for the same destinations of Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Britain. The new delegation will explore investment opportunities on areas of automobile, machinery, textile, food, electronics and technologies relating to energy saving and environment protection. The delegation is composed of more than 20 top Chinese companies, as well as several national trade associations and government officials.

  High level officials from China and the European Union (EU) held a forum in Brussels on March 6 on protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), vowing further cooperation and dialogue in this area. Chong Quan, assistant minister of the Ministry of Commerce of China, told a press conference after the forum the Chinese government has always attached great importance to IPR protection, and China has been building an innovation-oriented country as a national development strategy. Mr. Chong said that in the three years from 2006 to 2008, China enacted action plans to protect intellectual property rights, implementing 717 specific measures in 10 areas, including legislation, law enforcement, services, publicity and education. Last year, the Chinese government promulgated the "Outline of National Intellectual Property Strategy," lifting the IPR work to a level of national strategy. Mr. Chong stressed that IPR protection is advantageous to China's own development needs as IPR has played a more and more prominent role in China's sustained and rapid economic and social development and hoped that the EU provides China more help and support on capacity-building concerning IPR protection.

  Peter Balas, deputy director-general of the European Commission's DG Trade, appreciated efforts and progress the Chinese government has made in IPR protection, urging for more attention be paid to the protection and enforcement of IPR for European and Chinese industry.

  The current EU-China IPR protection project, known as the EU-China IPR2 Project, was launched in 2007 by the Chinese government and the European Commission, aimed at improving the effectiveness of IPR enforcement in China. Based on the success of IPR1 from 1999-2004, which promoted international standards of IPR protection in Chinese legislation, IPR2 targets the reliability, efficiency and accessibility of the IPR protection system in China.

  Chinese government has detailed a stimulus plan to encourage farmers to buy automobiles, which may bring an auto sales surge in rural areas. Following an announcement in January that the central government would float 5 billion yuan (732 million U.S. dollars) to subsidize rural residents who buy automobiles, the Ministry of Finance announced the subsidies would be 10 percent and 13 percent, respectively, for those who purchase automobiles and motorcycles. Farmers who buy light trucks and minivans from March 1 to Dec. 31, would get a 10 percent discount, with the ceiling subsidies of 5,000 yuan. Subsidies of 2,000 and 3,000 yuan can be use to replace old three-wheeled and four-wheeled vehicles respectively. From this Feb. 1 to Jan. 31 in 2013, farmers who buy motorcycles would get 13 percent of the purchase price back, with ceiling subsidies of 650 yuan. Every rural household may purchase two motorcycles at most.

  China's Ministry of Culture confirmed on March 17 that it reached an agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim) to provide no less than a 20-billion-yuan (2.9 billion U.S. dollars) credit line to cultural industries. China Exim, one of the country's three policy banks, will grant loans over the next five years to help cultural industries expand exports. The first credit line under this framework, of 10 billion yuan, was granted on March 9 to Shenzhen Huaqiang Holdings Ltd., which produces cartoons and develops entertainment technologies applied in theme parks. For more information, please go to http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-03/17/content_11026711.htm

  The Chinese government has announced a massive plan to rebuild and renovate dilapidated houses in rural areas, aiming to improve people's life, create jobs and boost domestic demand amid the global financial meltdown. Qi Ji, vice minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, said that the country will rebuild and renovate 800,000 rural houses this year, which was expected to create 1.5 million jobs.

  A ship carrying 1,600 Chinese mainland tourists arrived at Keelung harbor in March 15, marking the first direct cruise from the mainland to the island. "Legend of the Seas", a passenger liner of Royal Caribbean International, traveled about 40 hours after it set off from Shanghai. Passengers received a welcoming ceremony complete with traditional Chinese dragon and lion dances. According to the mainland-based Cross-straits Tourism Exchange Association, more than 100,000 trips have been made by Chinese mainland visitors to Taiwan from July 2008 to March 12 of this year. The mainland and Taiwan started direct flights and shipping services on Dec. 15, 2008, ending a 59-year ban on such links.

  China's overseas contractual projects stood at 7.96 billion U.S. dollars in the first two months of 2009, Ministry of Commerce (MOC) spokesman Yao Jian said on March 16. The figure was up 24.8 percent year-on-year despite the world economic downturn. Many Chinese companies expanded their target markets from the European Union and the United States to developing countries in Africa and Latin America. Also, many companies shifted from labor-intensive sectors to technology-intensive industries, such as electric power, oil refining, telecommunications and metallurgy.

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