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News letter Issue No. 17
2009/06/22
  

Issue No. 17

  June 19, 2009

H.E. Ambassador Song Zhe, Head of the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the European Union, made a keynote speech at the seminar “EU-China Summit: making a fresh start?” which was organized by Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the European Policy Center and the European Institute for Asian Studies on June 5. To read the speech, please go to http://www.chinamission.be/eng/jd/t567437.htm

Ambassador Song recently met with Secretary General Gerhard Stahl of the Committee of the Regions, President Sepi of the European Economic and Social Commission, Commissioner Meglena Kuneva for Consumer Protection, Commissioner Leonard Orban for Multilingualism.

Leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) concluded their annual summit on June 16 with calls for constructive dialogues and enhanced cooperation to tackle regional and international issues. The summit was attended by heads of state of SCO member countries -- China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and leaders of SCO observer nations -- Mongolia, India, Pakistan and Iran. Also present at the meeting were Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan, a guest country of the SCO, and representatives of the United Nations and some other regional and international organizations. It was the first time that leaders from observer states were included in a restricted meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council. In a declaration adopted following the summit, the leaders said that regional cooperation is playing an increasingly important role in solving international issues. The leaders called for the establishment of a more just and rational system of inter-governmental relations, and set priorities for future cooperation. Constructive dialogues and enhanced cooperation are effective ways to seek solutions to regional and international issues, such as security threats, the global financial crisis, food security and climate change. The leaders also called for enhanced supervision of financial institutions and more international cooperation, so as to prevent the further spread of the financial crisis. The member countries will strengthen cooperation within the framework of the SCO, and make concerted efforts with the rest of the international community to build a more fair and rational international financial system.

Besides the declaration, the leaders also signed several other documents, including a convention against terrorism and agreements on training anti-terrorist forces of SCO members and cooperation on international information security.

On Tuesday, June 16, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are attending the first-ever Summit meeting of the BRIC countries in the Ural city of Yekaterinburg, Russia. Chinese President Hu Jintao presented a four-point proposal for dealing with the ongoing global financial crisis at the first summit meeting of BRIC countries which groups Brazil, Russia, India and China.

First, BRIC countries should commit themselves to bringing about an early recovery of the world economy. Second, BRIC countries should commit themselves to pushing forward the reform of international financial system. Third, BRIC countries should commit themselves to implementing the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Fourth, BRIC countries should commit themselves to ensuring the security of food, energy resource, and public health.

Chinese President Hu Jingtao paid a state visit to Russia from June 16-18. He discussed the current situation and prospect of the Sino-Russian strategic partnership of cooperation with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev. The two leaders held in-depth exchange of views on major international and regional issues and reached broad consensus. 

China and Russia shared the same or similar viewpoints and stance on the root cause of the current crisis, and the reform of the global financial system and the international financial institution. The two leaders agreed to oppose global trade protectionism, saying the global financial system in the post-crisis era should be fair, equitable, inclusive and well-managed.

The two leaders signed a draft plan of the China-Russia investment cooperation, pledging to earnestly implement the draft plan and encourage enterprises of the two countries to carry out pragmatic cooperation in such areas as mechanical manufacturing, construction, the light industry, transportation, agriculture, communication, bank and insurance, technology, energy, the chemical industry, forestry and mining.

The two leaders also spoke highly of the energy negotiation mechanisms between China and Russia and the inter-governmental agreement on oil cooperation signed by the two countries. The two countries have been pushing forward all-round cooperation in oil, natural gas, nuclear power and electricity.

China and Russia signed a five-point statement on bilateral relations and mutual cooperation on June 18.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences(CAS) published a report on June 10, entitled "Creation 2050: Science, technology and China' s Future", as a long-term strategy for the country's development of science and technology. The report covers eight topics involving science and technology in the fields of space, human health, mineral resource, energy, agriculture, biomass, ocean, and materials, with emphasis on 22 key points that would help the country's increase its international competition, sustainable development, and public security. By 2050, China will build up a system to significantly promote the development of emerging strategic industries like new energy industry, and the development of new energy and environmentally-friendly products. It says that China will further develop technology that can improve the autonomous navigation capability of space vehicle, the space effective payload, and near-space vehicles and flight hardwares.

The State Council, China's cabinet, has publicized measures to boost biological industry, said an announcement posted on China's central government website on June 6. The measures, Policies to Accelerate Biological Industry Growth, consist of 33 items in ten parts, involving targets of the policies, key fields in biological industry, technology innovation, attracting talents and providing fund support. The new policies have been made to implement China's medium- and long-term bio-industry development plan and the 11th five-year plan for biological industry growth, said the announcement posted on www.gov.cn. The measures aim to foster bio-industry as a pillar industry in high technology and a booming strategic industry in China.

A senior Chinese negotiator at the U.N. climate talks on June 12 urged developed nations to show the political will to fulfill their obligations to curb global warming and said China will make continued efforts to advance the negotiations. Li Gao, acting chief of the Chinese delegation, told Xinhua at the end of the second round of the U.N. climate talks that limited progress was made at the latest negotiating session, including working out a draft document comprising various positions of parties involved in the talks. To view more details, please go to http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-06/13/content_11537150.htm

U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern on June 12 spoke highly of what the Chinese government has done to curb green house gases emission, saying those measures "very favorably impressed" him.  "I was very favorably impressed by actions that China has already taken and is taking -- and by China's commitment to develop a low-carbon path forward and to take potentially far-reaching steps to contain their greenhouse gas emissions and at the same time as they pursue what is an undeniable need to develop and grow," Stern said while briefing reporters following a trip to China on June 7-10. Stern said U.S. and Chinese officials had a very constructive set of meetings in Beijing during his visit. Though the two sides did not agree with each other on everything, they each came away with a better and a clearer understanding of each other's views and perspectives. The U.S. government has already issued a statement describing the meetings between Stern and Chinese officials as "a step in the right direction on the road to Copenhagen and to charting a global path to a clean energy future." Stern also said there's no question that a Copenhagen agreement has to include mechanisms to provide financial flows and technological assistance to developing countries.

China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's top economic planning body, announced on June 3 the detailed plan for the country's subsidy for auto and home appliance replacements. Consumers who trade-in their used mid- and small-sized truck and some types of mid-sized passenger cars for new ones will receive rebates from 3000 yuan (about 437.96 U.S. dollars) to 6000 yuan, according to an announcement on the NDRC Web site. Rebates will also be given to consumers who sell automobiles that no longer meet the government's emission standards, but are still within life expectancy. For home appliance replacements, consumers who contact local recycling plants will receive pick-up service and qualify for a direct price reduction when buying the new appliances with vouchers from the plants. Buyers will receive a subsidy worth 10 percent of the retail prices on five kinds of new appliances: TV sets, refrigerators, washing machines, air-conditioners and computers.

China is loosening its grip on the use of foreign exchange to encourage domestic firms to make overseas investment, as the country sought to diversify the use of its huge forex reserves. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), the country's forex regulator, said on June 9 in an online notice that it would allow all kinds of firms in China to invest their forex earnings in overseas branches. Previously, only large domestic or foreign multinationals are allowed to do so. The other firms are required to submit their forex earnings to the government in exchange for the local currency, contributing to the huge pool of the country's forex reserves. The SAFE said in the same notice that it would allow firms to use self-owned forex and forex purchased with the yuan, expanding the source of forex that firms could use to invest in their overseas subsidiaries. The administration sets a quota on such forex uses, which is no more than 30 percent of the firm's equity. Firms still need approvals from the SAFE to use forex in overseas investment, but the administration said it would simplify approval and forex remittance procedures to facilitate such practices.

Companies planning to list on China's Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) will have to follow a stricter delisting mechanism, according to the new-published GEM listing rules. The Shenzhen Stock Exchange on June 5 published the listing rules for the GEM, the country's first Nasdaq-style stock market. The rules will take effect from July 1 this year. With a major focus on risk control, the document sets out a stricter delisting mechanism, information disclosure rules, and more rigid stock sale restrictions for controlling shareholders compared with stocks trading on the main boards in Shanghai and Shenzhen. A GEM-listed company would be subject to delisting procedures if its debts exceeded total assets in the latest fiscal, or its share trading volume was below 1 million shares for 120 straight trading days. These rules are not required on the main boards in Shanghai and Shenzhen. Meanwhile, if a GEM-listed company did not release its annual report or quarterly financial reports within the required period, the company would be delisted in three months, compared with six months on the main boards.

Standard Chartered Bank (China) Limited announced on June 3 that it plans to issue 3.5 billion yuan (512 million U.S.dollars) financial bonds in China, the first foreign bank to issue Renminbi bonds in the Chinese mainland. The announcement was made in the wake of a circular released by the State Council in April on building Shanghai into an international financial center and shipping hub.  "As China's financial market continues to liberalize, Standard Chartered is seeing a number of opportunities for our business," said Peter Sands, Group Chief Executive of Standard Chartered Bank, during his visit to Beijing. Standard Chartered Bank is China's oldest foreign bank enjoying150 years of history. It is among the first batch of locally-incorporated foreign banks and has one of the largest foreign bank networks operating in China.

China on June 12 promised to increase efforts to stem the A/H1N1 virus after the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the flu alert to its highest level. Mao Qun'an, a spokesman with the Health Ministry, said the country "understands, supports and cooperates with" the world health body's pandemic declaration, pledging to further beef up its flu prevention and control work. As of 8 a.m. June 10, 13 Chinese mainland provinces and municipalities had reported 126 confirmed A/H1N1 flu cases, of whom 60 had recovered and been discharged from hospitals. There have been no deaths. Mao outlined concrete steps, including improving the joint prevention and control mechanism at different regions and different levels, increasing the number of labs and designated hospitals nationwide, enhancing medical workers' diagnosis and treatment ability to avoid fatalities, increasing drug stockpiles and vaccination production, and increasing public health awareness and winning public support.

Chinese archaeologists started a new excavation of the famous terracotta army site on June 13, hoping to find more clay figures and unravel some of the mysteries left behind by the "First Emperor."  It was the third excavation in the pit -- the first and largest of three pits at the site near Xi'an, capital of northwestern Shaanxi Province -- since 1974 when the terracotta army was discovered by peasants digging a well. The discovery, listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO in December 1987, has turned Xi'an into one of China's major tourist attractions.

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