China will safeguard national interests in response to US trade moves

Tariffs of $60 billion are expected to be imposed on China. (REUTERS)
Updated 22 March 2018
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China will safeguard national interests in response to US trade moves

BEIJING: China will actively take steps to safeguard its interests as well as those of its industries, Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said, in light of what he described as acts of trade protectionism on the part of the US.
The US decision to launch trade investigations is a unilateral act of protectionism, the Chinese commerce ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, citing a speech by Wang in New Delhi.
President Donald Trump is expected to unveil tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese technology and telecoms products by Friday, two officials briefed on the matter said on Monday.
The tariffs will be imposed under Section 301 of the 1974 US Trade Act, following an intellectual property probe that began in August last year.
“Taking trade restrictive measures will not only impede normal international trade order but also cause serious damage to the multilateral trade system,” Wang said at a two-day World Trade Organization ministerial meeting that ended on Tuesday.
Trump has accused the Chinese government of forcing US companies to transfer their intellectual property to China as a cost of doing business there.
Voicing hopes that Beijing and the United States could avoid a trade war, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday that China would open its economy further, so that foreign and Chinese firms can compete on an equal footing.
But one day later, Chinese tabloid Global Times said in an editorial that US subsidies for its soybean farmers have given them an unfair competitive advantage in selling to China and strong restrictive measures need to be taken to prevent dumping.
While the widely-read paper is run by the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily, its stance does not necessarily equate with Chinese government policy.
Expectations of tariffs on some Chinese goods have alarmed dozens of US business groups, who said they would raise prices for consumers, kill jobs and drive down financial markets.
Fears of a global trade war have risen after Trump imposed hefty import tariffs on steel and aluminum earlier this month under Section 232 of the 1962 US Trade Expansion Act, which allows safeguards based on “national security.”
The move provoked strong protests from US allies, including South Korea, Japan and Canada.
In a “field guide” on a potential China-US trade war, S&P Global Ratings said any retaliation by major US trading partners will derail a synchronized global economic recovery.
In any case, China’s trade openness and its reliance on trade for GDP growth both peaked over decade ago, and China’s growth story is increasingly a domestic one, the ratings agency said.
S&P has an A+ rating on China, on par with ratings from Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch.
Fitch Ratings on Wednesday affirmed its China rating, but said heightened trade tensions with the United States pose a downside risk to the ratings agency’s baseline outlook.


UAE’s Network International shrugs off Brexit to list shares in London

Updated 55 min 36 sec ago
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UAE’s Network International shrugs off Brexit to list shares in London

  • The planned share sale comes at an uncertain time in the UK
  • The company, which operates hospitals in the Middle East, was said to be also considering listing in the US or Singapore

DUBAI: Network International, the UAE payments processor, has committed to a London IPO next month in what would be the UK’s first big share sale of the year.
The company intends to have a free float of at least 25 percent and admission to the London Stock Exchange is expected to take place in April, Network International said in a regulatory filing on Thursday.
The planned share sale comes at an uncertain time in the UK where there is still no clarity around whether Britain will leave the EU or not at the end of the month.
VPS Healthcare, the Abu Dhabi-based hospital operator, is reconsidering plans to list in London due to uncertainty surrounding Brexit, Bloomberg reported on Thursday citing a person familiar with the matter.
The company, which operates hospitals in the Middle East, was said to be also considering listing in the US or Singapore.
Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest bank, owns 51 percent of Network International while Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic jointly own the rest.
The share sale will be a key test of investor demand for new listings in London after a subdued 2018 across most European markets.
“Volatility has continued in recent months, driven by the uncertainty around trade between the US and China, the wider geopolitical climate and the potential end of the current bull run,” said Peter Whelan, partner and UK IPO Lead at PwC in a recent report.
“We are seeing a healthy number of companies preparing for an IPO in 2019 despite the ongoing Brexit negotiations which have clearly impacted IPO activity on the London market.”
The payment processor reported earnings of $298 million last year according to its website, up from $262 million a year earlier. It does not disclose net income figures.
The company handles digital payments across the Middle East, which generate three quarters of its total earnings.
Last year it processed some $40 billion in payments for more than 65,000 merchants.
Its key markets in the region include the UAE and Jordan it says that Saudi Arabia offers “significant opportunities.” It also offers services in 40 African countries with Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa being its most important segments on the continent.