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Articles by Frank Tang

China meets Gulf oil bloc with sights set on free-trade agreement and energy security

6 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]As China scrambles to ensure a stable supply of energy, Beijing is looking to boost bilateral relations with oil-abundant Gulf countries by entering into a strategic partnership and expediting the implementation of a free-trade agreement.In a rare move, Beijing invited a high-level delegation of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, including its secretary general and the foreign ministers of four member countries – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain – for a China visit this week.“The two…

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China’s infrastructure push to fast-track 102 major projects as Omicron and economic risks loom large in 2022

7 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Beijing is trumpeting the urgency of its infrastructure construction push, as leaders admit that stabilising the national economy in the first half of this year will be an uphill battle.The fresh calls for increased consumption and more effective investment came as the world’s second-largest economy is facing new downward pressure, with the spread of Delta and Omicron coronavirus variants in major cities.“Our economic operations are now at the key stage of surmounting obstacles,” said a…

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China’s expat tax system: who pays and how does it work?

9 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s expatriate community is growing thanks to the nation’s central position in the global economy.The seventh national population census revealed the number of foreigners living in China for more than three months rose to 845,697 in 2020, from 593,832 10 years earlier. In the first half of 2021, the National Immigration Administration approved 380,000 resident permits for expatriates.Plans by Beijing to reform tax exemptions on expatriate employee allowances, which have since been shelved,…

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China-Australia relations: more Russian pipeline gas could be ‘political hedge’ for Beijing

10 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China is seeking to fast-track a second channel to double the supply of natural gas from “comprehensive strategic partner” Russia, which could give Beijing an upper hand in dealing with Canberra, according to analysts.The Power of Siberia 2 gas pipeline, which will be built by Gazprom, could pump 50 billion cubic metres of gas annually to northern China, and Russian President Vladimir Putin said last month that a feasibility study on the pipeline would be finished very soon.“Just as it makes…

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China’s expat tax breaks extension praised by Western companies, but business concerns remain

13 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s last-minute decision to extend tax exemptions on expatriate employee allowances for two more years has been welcomed by foreign business groups, though worries about rising costs, coronavirus-related travel restrictions and market access remain.Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Chamber of Commerce in China, said the extension of non-taxable allowances, announced by the Ministry of Finance and the State Taxation Administration on Friday, is highly significant for foreign firms and…

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China vows greater iron ore self-sufficiency as ‘deglobalisation tide’ and coronavirus expose mineral supply risks

18 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China will encourage domestic exploration of iron ore and use more scrap metals to reduce reliance on imports from countries like Australia, while streamlining production quotas for rare earth and tungsten, according to the government.In the 2021-25 raw material development plan, authorities said iron self-sufficiency would be “significantly” increased by lifting the supply of scrap steel to more than 30 per cent of the total, encouraging domestic mining and reducing steelmaking capacity.“The…

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China to ‘strengthen’ Hong Kong as yuan trading hub, diversify forex reserves in 2022

21 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China will push for greater international use of the yuan by giving more support to Hong Kong as an offshore trading centre next year, while also diversifying its forex reserves, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has said.Efforts to support the city as a yuan hub were among the central bank’s 2022 priorities, outlined at its annual work conference, and marked a change in tone from the “steady and prudent” economic message in the country’s five-year plan.The announcement on Monday comes as…

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China food security: vow to boost 2022 soybean output sets stage for leap in GM seed tech

22 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s efforts to lift domestic production of soybeans and other oil crops could accelerate the approval of genetically modified (GM) seeds and shake up the seed industry, analysts said.At the weekend’s central rural work conference, China’s top leadership pledged to keep people’s rice bowls filled with domestic grain, setting a 2022 production target at least equivalent to this year’s 650 million metric tonnes.“The general consideration next year is to stabilise domestic grain supplies and…

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China’s new rare earth merger hands it ‘trump card’ in global fight for resources

25 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s move to set up a global force in the strategic rare earth sector could help it pre-empt and respond to future external challenges, including trade tensions with the United States, analysts say.The China Rare Earth Group was formed after the merger of units from the Aluminium Corporation of China, China Minmetals, Ganzhou Rare Earth Group and two rare earth technology developers, the state assets watchdog said on Wednesday.Analysts believe the consolidation will help maintain the country…

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EU-China decoupling: Volkswagen chairman Herbert Diess says Brussels needs more cooperation with Beijing

26 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Volkswagen AG’s top executive Herbert Diess has warned Europe against decoupling with China and called for more cooperation, as economic relations between major Western countries and Beijing turn sour.The attitude of European nations towards China is particularly important at the moment, as Beijing’s tough stance on Lithuania backfired within the trade bloc, and trade tension with the United States and Australia shows no sign of abating.“It would be very damaging if Germany or the EU wanted to…

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Taiwan speeds up investment diversification away from mainland China amid cross-strait tensions

26 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Taiwan has accelerated investment diversification away from mainland China, placing an emphasis on managing exposure to its largest export and investment destination amid ongoing cross-strait tensions and changes to the global supply chain.Investment in mainland China dropped by 14.5 per cent from a year earlier to US$4.79 billion in the first 11 months of 2021, according to data from Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs.Investment from mainland China dropped by 62.9 per cent year-on-year to…

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China denies ‘despicable’ banknote forgery worth US$314 billion as alleged scam goes viral

27 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s central bank on Wednesday denied a “despicable” rumour that a former senior official had forged 2 trillion yuan (US$314 billion) of banknotes after the allegation began trending on social media.Chen Yaoming, a board director of the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation, an affiliate of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), turned himself in to authorities earlier this month.He is being investigated by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the country’s top anti…

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China tackles ‘corruption in numbers’ to ensure economic, social stability in 2022

27 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China has pledged to improve the quality of its economic data to better assist Beijing policymaking at a time when positive official figures in some cases contrast sharply with the reality faced by small businesses and individuals suffering under various coronavirus pressures.New statistical supervision guidelines were approved by the Central Commission for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms at the end August, although the rules that lay out an intention to narrow the gap between government…

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China calls on US businesses to play ‘bridging role’ as trade talks stall

28 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]American businesses should play a “bridging role” between China and the United States and “actively” contribute to a healthy and stable bilateral relationship, Beijing says.The comments from deputy foreign minister Xie Feng come as dialogue stalls between the world’s two largest economies, with little recent progress in trade negotiations despite President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden holding a virtual meeting a month ago.Instead, the two sides continue to spar over a variety of…

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China’s first benchmark rate cut in 20 months signals ‘serious easing cycle is unfolding’

29 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The first cut to China’s one-year market benchmark rate in 20 months indicates the government’s determination to stabilise economic growth next year, but economists are still divided on how effective such easing measures will be as major Western countries tighten monetary policy.Some analysts have called on Beijing to loosen purse strings further to finance infrastructure projects, as the country may have to defend a growth rate of 5 per cent in 2022.The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) on Monday…

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China needs ‘firewalls’ to guard against systemic risks, but economy resilient to short-term pressure: central bank

December 17, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Beijing has pledged to inject ample liquidity into China’s economy while ordering more credit support ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s potential interest rate hikes next year.China’s financial regulator is looking to ensure a reasonable supply of bank credit, optimise the lending structure and lower financing costs, the central bank said at a meeting on Thursday.“It is necessary to intensify cross-cyclical adjustments … maintain reasonable and sufficient liquidity, keep the money supply and…

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China puts forex markets under microscope as yuan rallies and capital outflow pose ‘major risks’

December 14, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s financial regulators have vowed to better supervise foreign exchange markets while taking a “zero-tolerance” approach to illegal transactions, as the yuan’s exchange rate has recently seen an unusual rally against the US dollar.Meanwhile, the world’s second-largest economy intends to implement a fast-track mechanism for Olympics-related demand, particularly for foreign visitors and athletes, according to official online statements.The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) has…

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China ‘can’t avoid’ tough negotiations on SOEs, subsidies at WTO, trade ambassador says

December 8, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China should treat rising foreign concern over subsidies and the prominence of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the economy with a more rational, open and confident attitude, the nation’s ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Wednesday.The world’s second largest economy needs to take part in creating new international trade rules, while also strengthening domestic reforms, Li Chenggang told a seminar organised by the University of International Business and Economics and…

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UK business group calls on Beijing to improve market reforms and resume flights between two countries

December 7, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The British Chamber of Commerce in China has called on the country to engage in greater reform and cultivate a more predictable business environment, in another call by a foreign business community for the country to speed up the pace of market opening.The call came as the Chamber revealed that a large proportion of British companies that operate in China have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels of revenue and optimism, although there has been a slight improvement from the worst point in 2020,…

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China’s economic growth is ‘biggest challenge’ for Beijing in 2022, senior adviser warns

December 2, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Stabilising economic growth in the coming year will require Beijing to implement new measures, as a larger-than-expected decline in the growth rate this year has sparked market concerns over China’s development prospects, a senior government adviser warned on Thursday.The comments by Yang Weimin, deputy director of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)’s Economic Affairs Committee, suggest that Beijing’s policymakers could rally more supportive policies in 2022 in…

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China’s Fujian sparks fears about Taiwan tensions with emergency drill for blackouts

December 1, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]An emergency drill in preparation for potential blackouts in China’s Fujian province has drawn widespread attention online amid high tensions with Taiwan.The exercise on Tuesday simulated a large-scale power outage in the southeastern province – which is just across the Taiwan Strait from the self-ruled island – caused by a typhoon and “external damage”.A level-two emergency response was also launched during the event for rescue and power restoration, the government-run Fujian Daily reported on…

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China’s economic arsenal has ‘more ammunition’ than other countries as 2022 uncertainties loom

November 29, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Chinese authorities need to stay ahead of the curve to stabilise the national economy in the face of outsized threats in the coming year, senior policy advisers said at the weekend.The nation’s massive export machine may lose steam, its financial markets could be stressed, and its zero-Covid policy will be further tested, according to Huang Yiping, a former member of the People’s Bank of China’s (PBOC) monetary policy committee.The warning by Huang, who is now a professor with Peking University…

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EVs, 5G set to spearhead China’s ‘moderately excessive’ infrastructure push amid economic slowdown concerns

November 26, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Beijing’s call for “moderately excessive development of infrastructure” may reflect its growing concerns over an economic slowdown, but it is unlikely to repeat the previous mistakes of debt-fuelled blind expansion of traditional projects, analysts said.Instead, the Chinese government is likely to place an emphasis on new infrastructure – new energy, charging stations for electric cars, data centers and 5G – that could deliver greener and more sustainable growth.Debate over stimulus tools was…

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China’s world-class business environment plans ‘address’ some concerns, but ‘implementation key’

November 26, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China is ready to open new economic areas and provide more conveniences to lure foreign talent and investment in the latest bid to build a market-oriented and law-based business environment which aligns to high-standard international trade agreements.The State Council has selected six of China’s economically developed cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Chongqing – to take part in a pilot programme, according to a circular released on Thursday.The six cities already…

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China plots economic recovery path, technological innovation a ‘matter of survival’ for Beijing

November 24, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Beijing has pinned its hopes on improving the quality of its economic development and technological innovation to steer the world’s second largest economy through uncharted waters and external turmoil, China’s economic tsar said on Wednesday.In a 6,500-word article published by the ruling Communist Party’s flagship newspaper, the People’s Daily, Vice-Premier Liu He reflected on the key weakness of the country’s economic system.Xi Jinping’s key adviser also raised the possibility of further…

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China warned to brace for US stimulus tapering, rate increases with Jerome Powell to remain as Fed chair

November 23, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Jerome Powell’s nomination for a second term as chair of the US Federal Reserve has fuelled market expectations of faster-than-expected stimulus tapering and earlier than expected interest rate increases, triggering calls for China to make early preparations for the United States normalising its monetary policy.Powell, 68, was officially nominated by US President Joe Biden on Monday in Washington to serve for a further four years, with the more dovish figure of Lael Brainard put forward as vice…

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China must clarify ‘uncertainty’ over data security laws, allow more cross-border transfers

November 23, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Beijing has been urged to set a clear definition and scope for its enforcement of data security and transfer laws as it is vital for the operation of foreign businesses as well as China’s innovation strategy, the British Chamber of Commerce in China said on Tuesday.China has recently elevated its requirements concerning data, particularly additional assessment requirements for cross-border transfers, with the introduction of laws on data safety and the protection of personal information in the…

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How big are China’s crude oil reserves and how do they compare to the US’ SPR?

November 22, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]In a bid to help stabilise soaring international crude oil prices, the United States has asked China to tap into its crude oil reserves.The issue came up during a virtual meeting between President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden in November.The US has the world’s largest reported strategic petroleum reserve, while China as the world’s largest importer of crude oil has also built up a system of its own.Why does China need a strategic crude oil reserve?In the 1990s, China said it…

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China needs ‘key reforms’ to support transition to high-quality growth, IMF says

November 19, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Beijing has been urged to implement more supportive policies amid risks and uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, consumption and financial vulnerabilities, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Friday.“China’s recovery is well advanced, but it is unbalanced and the momentum is slowing, even as downside risks are accumulating,” said Geoffrey Okamoto, the IMF’s first deputy managing director.His comments were made after the conclusion of this year’s Article IV consultation and…

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Xi-Biden summit lays groundwork, but ‘significant challenges’ remain in trade talks

November 19, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Trade talks between China and the United States have been fast-tracked after a virtual meeting between presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden, but finding common ground for future negotiations is still far from assured, according to analysts.While both sides appeared to put aside recent acrimony to address bilateral economic issues, Chinese analysts still question what is behind the US’ “strategic competition” and how far negotiations will progress amid anti-China rhetoric on Capitol Hill and…

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