EU asks China to meet its globalization promises

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in January painted a picture of China as an open economy in contrast to a rising wave of global protectionism. (Reuters)
Updated 09 May 2017
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EU asks China to meet its globalization promises

BEIJING: Europe hopes China will deliver its pro-globalization pledges by increasing foreign access to its own markets, the EU’s ambassador to China said on Tuesday ahead of a summit to discuss Beijing’s signature new Silk Road development plan.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in January painted a picture of China as an open economy in contrast to a rising wave of global protectionism.
However, the Chinese government has faced increasingly fervent criticism from foreign business groups and governments alike, who say China has done little to remove discriminatory policies and market barriers that favor Chinese companies.
EU Ambassador to China Hans Dietmar Schweisgut said Europe was impressed by Xi’s defense of globalization and open markets in Davos, calling them important messages.
“They are important also because they have raised expectations,” Schweisgut told a press briefing. “We obviously also hope that China will implement domestically what it is preaching globally.”
Schweisgut’s comments come days before next week’s “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) forum, which will draw heads of state to Beijing to discuss Xi’s plan to expand trade links between Asia, Africa and Europe through billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.
China has repeatedly rebuffed concerns that the plan is part of a grand strategy to expand its economic interests and seek global dominance, saying that while it is a Chinese-led scheme anyone can join to boost common prosperity.
Representatives from more than 100 countries will attend the summit, China’s biggest diplomatic event of the year, though only one leader from the Group of Seven (G-7) industrialized nations, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, is set to join.
Jyrki Katainen, EU Commission vice president for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, will attend for the EU.
Schweisgut said Europe supported carefully vetted initiatives to upgrade infrastructure in Eurasia, which could unleash “growth potential for all.”
“It is in our view something that should also be based on open platforms with sustainability in terms of financing, market-based principles, like open and transparent tender procedures. All of these are very important principles to make it succeed,” Schweisgut said.

Financial stability
China will pay close attention to the impact of non-bank financial institutions on financial stability, which could have global repercussions, according to a central bank working paper published on Tuesday.
In recent years non-bank institutions such as trust and investment companies, or fund and asset management firms have expanded their activity — much of it a less regulated form of lending — even as policymakers have tried to rein in leverage in the Chinese economy.
“Though banks still dominate China’s financial system, non-bank financial institutions have considerable influence as well,” the paper published on the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) website said.
The paper analyzed the impact of changes in China’s stock market and financial sector on developed countries — the US, Britain, Germany and Japan.
“China’s financial sector exerts considerable influence on global financial markets, especially on the Japanese financial sector,” it said.
The central bank has gingerly raised short-term rates recently to contain financial risks and encourage companies to deleverage, though economists expect authorities will move cautiously to avoid hurting economic growth.


OPEC may cancel April meet, but hold steady on oil output: Saudi energy minister

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Khalid Al-Falih that April may be premature to make any production decision for the second half. (Reuters)
Updated 45 min 53 sec ago
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OPEC may cancel April meet, but hold steady on oil output: Saudi energy minister

  • ‘As long as the levels of inventories are rising and we are far from normal levels, we will stay the course guiding the market toward balance’
  • ‘The consensus we heard ... is that April will be premature to make any production decision for the second half’

BAKU: OPEC and its non-OPEC partners need to reconsider if there is a need for a meeting in April, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said on Monday, adding that there was no pressure from the United States to increase supply.
“We are not under pressure except by the market,” Khalid Al-Falih told reporters ahead of a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
“As long as the levels of inventories are rising and we are far from normal levels, we will stay the course guiding the market toward balance.”
The JMMC includes major oil producers Saudi Arabia and Russia and monitors the oil market and conformity levels with supply cuts.
“There is a consensus that has also emerged that no matter what, we should stay the course until the end of June.”
Asked whether he was updated on whether the United States administration would extend the waivers it granted to buyers of Iranian crude, which are due to end in May, Al-Falih said: “Until we see it hurting consumers, until we see the impact on inventory, we are not going to change course.”
The oil producers are due to meet next in April in Vienna, but Al-Falih said this may not happen.
“The consensus we heard ... is that April will be premature to make any production decision for the second half,” Al-Falih said.
“We may not have a meeting in April,” he said, adding that the JMMC may recommend this later on Monday.