Can China really kick its coal addiction to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060?

Ahead of this week’s summit of global leaders to discuss ways of tackling climate change, the South China Morning Post looks into how attitudes have changed among China’s leadership, the challenges faced by the world’s largest polluter and what we can expect from Thursday’s meeting.When China pledged in September to reach carbon neutrality in four decades and peak emissions before 2030, it was a watershed moment in the global fight against climate change.But seven months later, one question in…

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China-Australia relations: traders eye spirits to ‘survive’ crippling disruptions in wine industry

Relations between China and Australia have become fraught over the past year after Canberra pushed for an international probe into theorigin of the coronaviruswithout diplomatic consultations beforehand, and Beijing has responded with a number of trade blocks on wine, barley, cotton, copper, coal, sugar and lobsters.We look at the issuesin this series. For years, manning a booth at a beverages trade fair hosted by the marketing arm of Australia’s trade department – Austrade – meant one…

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China ‘central’ to WTO reform, global trade chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala says

World trade chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iwealasays she has been “heartened” by China’s commitment to revitalising the multilateral trading system, insisting the country is “central” to reform at the World Trade Organization (WTO). Former Nigerian financeministerOkonjo-Iweala took over as the director general of the troubled WTO in March, with the Geneva-based body widely acknowledged to be in need of an overhaul and reform. The 164-member WTO has been operating without itsAppellate Body, which…

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How a sweeping US infrastructure plan might spur financial havoc in China

As the Biden administration pushes its proposed US$2 trillion domestic infrastructure programme forward, it is sparking debate about the programme’s potential to wreak havoc in emerging markets.If passed, the total amount of extra capital pumped into the US economy in relief and recovery packages since March 2020 – at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic – would swell to US$7.2 trillion, the largest such capital infusion since World War II.Policy watchers agree that the new plan would help…

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China vows ‘bigger contribution’ in helping poor countries, with an emphasis on profitable infrastructure projects

China is making it clear that it will honour the Group of 20’s debt-suspension scheme it endorsed last year, but Beijing is reluctant to respond to Western suggestions about debt restructuring for struggling developing nations.While promising a “bigger contribution” in helping poor countries achieve financial sustainability, vice-minister of commerce Qian Keming said that China will focus on infrastructure projects that can generate returns for participating countries.“We definitely didn’t…

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China ready with ‘precautionary measures’ to stop foreign traders causing market volatility, regulator says

China will suspend the ability of foreign investors to trade if they cause serious market volatility through massive capital flows in a short period of time, a senior Chinese regulatory official has said.“Many people are asking whether foreign ownership will affect the stability of our stock market,” said Fang Xinghai, vice-chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, at the Boao Forum for Asia on Monday.“What if massive amounts of foreign capital come in and go out? I can tell you…

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China pork imports hit all-time high over supply concerns as US soybean imports surge 320 per cent

China’s pork imports jumped to an all-time high in March on supply concerns following a resurgence of African swine fever in the world’s biggest consumer and producer.Inbound shipments increased 16 per cent from a year earlier to 460,000 tonnes, boosting overall meat imports to a record as well, according to customs data on Sunday. Purchases in the first quarter advanced 22 per cent to 1.16 million tonnes, data showed.Hog herds could have contracted by as much as 30 per cent from November, said…

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China-Australia relations: what’s happened over the past year, and what’s the outlook?

Relations between China and Australia have become fraught over the past year after Canberra pushed for an international probe into theorigin of the coronaviruswithout diplomatic consultations beforehand, and Beijing eventually responded with a number of trade blocks on wine, barley, cotton, copper, coal, sugar and lobsters. We look at the issues in this series.China and Australia, two of Asia-Pacific’s biggest trading partners, have been locked in political conflict for the past year…

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US urged to join mega APAC trade deal by China’s former chief trade negotiator

The United States should rejoin the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (CPTPP)and work with China to merge the agreement with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to create a huge free-trade area that would include the two largest economies in the world, according to China’s former chief trade negotiator, Long Yongtu. The CPTPP is an ambitious trade agreement that was created after theUS withdrewfrom the original Trans-Pacific Partnership…

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China’s yuan internationalisation goal ‘is not to replace US dollar’, top banking official insists

China has played down US concerns about its ambitions for the yuan, with the new deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) insisting “our goal is not to replace the US dollar or any other international currency”. The gathering momentum of China’s digital currency efforts has caught the attention of various American officials, withthe US Treasury, State Department, Pentagon and National Security Council reported to be bolstering their efforts to understand the potential implications…

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China trade: imports help Japan’s exports post largest monthly gain since late 2017

A surge in China-bound shipments saw Japan post its strongest export growth in more than three years last month, in a sign that the economic recovery from last year’s deep coronavirus slump remains intact.However, the trade data is unlikely to completely ease worries about the fragile state of the world’s third-largest economy, which took an enormous hit from a collapse in global trade due to the pandemic in the first quarter of 2020.Japanese Ministry of Finance data showed on Monday that…

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US stops short of branding Taiwan as a currency manipulator

The US Department of the Treasury on Friday said Taiwan, Vietnam, Switzerland tripped its thresholds for possible currency manipulation under a 2015 US trade law, but refrained from formally branding them as manipulators.In the first semi-annual foreign exchange report issued by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the treasury said it would commence “enhanced engagement” with Taiwan and continue such talks with Vietnam and Switzerland after the Trump administration labelled the latter two as…

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China’s job market improves a year after coronavirus shock, but young people still face ‘pressure’

China’s job market has improved steadily since the height of the coronavirus pandemic early in 2020, but it is still struggling with a shortage of labour and a high number of unemployed graduates.In the first quarter of the year, China’s official surveyed unemployment rate stood at 5.4 per cent, down 0.4 percentage points from a year earlier when the outbreak first began, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Friday.It will take some time to resolve the employment problem of young…

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China’s digital currency won’t topple US dollar ‘so easily’, senior Bank of Japan official says

A senior Bank of Japan (BOJ) official downplayed the potential for China’s digital yuan to threaten the US dollar’s position as the world’s main reserve currency.“The dollar’s status as the key global currency won’t change so easily,” said Kazushige Kamiyama, head of the BOJ’s payment systems department and the person in charge of looking into a virtual Japanese currency. “In fact, the dollar’s advantage may strengthen further if the US goes with digitalisation.”A report earlier this week…

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China’s aviation capabilities stuck at ‘low-end’ as military-civil fusion weighs on innovation: official report

China’s commercial aviation industry is lagging behind international competitors, with the country’s military-civil fusion strategy stifling innovation and state dominance of the sector hampering efficiency, according to a report from the Shanghai government.Shanghai has been at the forefront of China’s commercial aviation sector, which was identified as one of the key industries set for heavy investment in the 14th five-year plan for 2021-25.The city is home to the state-owned Commercial…

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Xinjiang cotton ban uncertainties weigh on Chinese farmers, smaller textile firms

Mr Zhang runs a cotton-processing plant in the middle of Xinjiang province. Every year, from September to November, he purchases raw cotton locally and processes it into ginned cotton – separating the seeds and the fibres – and then sells it to traders and yarn plants. And as a member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) for more than five years, his business in Yuli county has benefited quite a lot from the Switzerland-based network.However, while Zhang, who would only give his surname, was…

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Growing China human rights concerns risk curbing foreign investment needed to support economy

International criticism of China’s alleged human rights violations has grown louder in recent months, putting downward pressure on Beijing’s efforts to attract foreign capital into its financial markets to support the economy, analysts said.Social issues and corporate governance have become important factors for North American and European fund managers screening their securities investments, and this is taking place amid increasing scrutiny over environmental, social and governance (ESG)…

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China’s company finance chiefs see business improving in 2021 as world emerges from pandemic, Deloitte survey finds

Financial controllers at companies operating in China are expecting their businesses to perform better in 2021, bolstered by the global roll-out of vaccinations and rising consumer demand in Western economies, a Deloitte survey has found.Some 89 per cent of respondents said earnings would improve this year amid a brighter economic outlook, the survey of chief financial officers (CFOs) in China showed.Half of the CFOs are more upbeat about the Chinese economy than they were six months ago, the…

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Xinjiang cotton ban, forced labour claims push China to step up plans for domestic Better Cotton Initiative

China has stepped up plans to launch its own version of the under-fire Better Cotton Initiative after the network cut off all ties with Xinjiang due to concerns about the alleged forced labour issue in the region, according to three people familiar with the matter.Beijing-based cotton vertical service provider Zhongnong Guoji started the Weilai Cotton, or future cotton, project two years ago, but it did not make much progress until January when two state-backed organisations – the China Fashion…

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US-China relations: Premier Li Keqiang tells American firms there is room for cooperation, despite frosty diplomatic ties

China has assured American multinationals at two separate high-level meetings there are opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation, despite the frosty bilateral relationship between Washington and Beijing.At a virtual meeting on Tuesday with senior executives from more than 20 US firms including Boeing, Honeywell, Qualcomm, General Motors, Pfizer, Abbott, Corning and General Electric, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang discussed the investment environment and the US-China relationship, according…

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China debt: local government spending under microscope to protect national economy from ‘systemic risk’

The Chinese leadership regards the prevention of implicit local government debt risks as an “important political discipline and rule”, implying that there are plans for more forceful measures to defuse the debt bomb and lower its potential threat to the world’s second-largest economy.It is also Beijing’s answer to lingering calls for expansionary policies, particularly the launch of new projects, highlighting its intention to shift away from an investment-driven growth model.The requirement was…

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Macau to ‘study feasibility’ of digital currency in potential threat to casinos in world’s biggest gambling hub

Macau has moved a step closer to the potential introduction of a digital currency as it seeks to better combat money laundering and tax evasion in the world’s biggest gambling hub.The government plans to amend laws to regulate the issuance of a virtual legal tender, Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng told lawmakers on Tuesday. The government will work with China’s central bank to “study the feasibility of issuing a digital currency,” he said.Although no formal plans have been announced on whether or…

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China, Australia could feel impact as New Zealand halts livestock exports by sea over animal welfare concerns

New Zealand said on Wednesday it will stop the export of livestock by sea following a transition period of up to two years, citing animal welfare concerns for a decision that will affect major trading partners including Australia and China.The ban was welcomed by animal welfare groups, but the peak farming industry body said it was caught by surprise and was unaware of any breaches of standards.Live exports by sea have represented around 0.2 per cent of New Zealand’s primary sector exports…

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China’s imports from US set record in first quarter, but their trade imbalance grows on strong Chinese exports

Against the backdrop of a transpacific rivalry and amid uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus, China’s imports are on the rise, with its purchases from the United States setting record highs in both March and the first quarter of the year. Meanwhile, China’s export engine continues to fire on all cylinders.Regarded as the world’s factory and categorised as a developing economy, China has long faced overseas scepticism about its trade practice of selling more to other nations than it is…

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China digital currency: Shanghai, Hainan among regions added to e-yuan trials

China has added six more regions to its pilot programme for the sovereign digital yuan, expanding the scope of testing as the country inches closer to launching the world’s first central bank digital currency among major economies.The financial hub of Shanghai, Hainan province in the far south, the central cities of Changsha and Xi’an, as well as the port cities of Qingdao in Shandong province and Dalian in Liaoning province have been chosen to participate in the programme, said Li Bin, head of…

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China trade: rebound continues as imports surge 38.1 per cent in March, exports up 30.6 per cent

China’s imports and exports continued their strong rebound in March, data released on Tuesday showed. Exports grew by 30.6 per cent last month from a year earlier to US$241.13 billion, down from the 60.6 per cent seen in January and February, and below the median result of a survey of analysts conducted by Bloomberg, which predicted 38.1 per cent growth.This was still the ninth consecutive period of export growth, although the fact that exports fell by6.6 per cent in March last year due to the…

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US-China relations: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen plans to spare China from currency manipulator label

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will decline to name China as a currency manipulator in her first semi-annual foreign exchange report, according to people familiar with the matter, a move that allows the United States to sidestep a fresh clash with Beijing.The report, which is not yet finalised, is due on Thursday, although it is unclear when the department will release it. During the Trump era, the US Treasury Department was accused of politicising the report after it abruptly designated…

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China trade: imports, exports set to have stayed ‘solid’ in March

Improved global demand and a favourable base effect are likely to have kept China’s exports buoyant in March, while higher oil prices will have boosted its imports, a Reuters poll showed on Monday.China’s trade surplus is expected to be US$52.05 billion in March, following a surplus of US$103.25 billion in the first two months of the year, according to a median forecast in a Reuters poll of 27 economists. The data will be released on Tuesday.Exports are expected to have risen 35.5 per cent in…

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China population: census results to confirm a worrying demographic picture

The results from China’s once-a-decade census are set to confirm the worrying picture of a rapidly ageing society, shrinking labour force and an insufficient number of newborns. For analysts who are trying to gauge China’s economic and social development potential over the coming years or even decades, the population data is vital. The figures are expected to be released later this month. In fact, the data will provide key metrics pertaining to some of the biggest questions surrounding China’s…

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China digital currency: Biden administration steps up scrutiny of e-yuan over potential threat to US dollar dominance

The Biden administration is stepping up scrutiny of China’s plans for a digital yuan, with some officials concerned the move could kick off a long-term bid to topple the US dollar as the world’s dominant reserve currency, according to people familiar with the matter.Now that China’s digital currency efforts are gathering momentum, officials at the US Treasury, State Department, Pentagon and National Security Council are bolstering their efforts to understand the potential implications, the…

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