China says open for trade with east Europe as clash with US ramps up

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (C) and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov inspect an honour guard during a welcoming ceremony in Sofia on July 6, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 07 July 2018
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China says open for trade with east Europe as clash with US ramps up

  • Sofia hopes to lure Chinese funds for highway and railway projects to link ports on the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea
  • More than 250 Chinese companies and 700 officials from central and eastern Europe are expected to attend an economic forum alongside the summit

SOFIA: China remains open for trade with foreign partners and can only benefit from an economically strong Europe, its premier said on Saturday as he pressed for expanded ties with the continent’s eastern wing while waging a tariff war with Washington.
Li Keqiang told a summit with central and eastern European leaders that China would continue opening its markets and implementing other reforms that had fueled its economy, providing opportunities for EU members and aspirants in the bloc’s poorer half.
“It is two-way traffic,” Li said through an interpreter.
.”..Opening up has been a key driver of China’s reform agenda so we will continue to open wider to the world, including widening market access for foreign investors.”
Li’s attendance at the seventh “16+1” summit in Sofia coincided with the first salvos in what risks becoming a protracted global trade war, as Washington and Beijing slapped tariffs on $34 billion worth of each others’ goods.
Some participating countries have begun doubting the value of the annual meetings, and China has come under pressure to show its courting of individual countries from the Baltics to the Balkans would not hurt the European Union as a whole.
“If Europe is weakened, it will only be bad news for China, not the other way around,” Li said. “This (16+1) platform needs to stay open. It needs to be transparent.”
Officials from the EU, World Bank, and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development were invited and Li said those organizations were welcome to jointly fund projects in central and eastern Europe.
KEEPING IT SWEET
Mindful of the need to keep relations with the EU on an even keel as his trade battles with US President Donald Trump intensify, Li has been careful to stress China’s support for European integration and rules in trade and procurement.
He said China was ready to fund a Global Partnership Center in Sofia that should help Chinese companies understand EU market rules and adhere to them in the region.
Analysts have said Li, who will travel to Germany on Sunday ahead of a wider China-EU summit in Beijing, would avoid any issues that might irk western EU governments.
He is holding bilateral meetings in Sofia with all the leaders of the eastern countries. He said these were also not meant to divide Europe.
Some 18 bilateral agreements and memorandums were signed, but no new major deals were announced.
China has promised billions of dollars for development projects in the region as part of its Belt and Road strategy to carve out new export markets.
More than 1,000 business people from China and central and eastern Europe attended an economic forum alongside the summit, seeking deals in trade, technology, infrastructure, agriculture and tourism.
Bulgaria hopes the summit will help secure funds to build new infrastructure, mainly in the Balkans, which still lags richer western EU states.
“16+1 is a format that aims to strengthen Europe,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said in his opening remarks. “It gives more opportunities to those who joined the EU later to catch up faster.”
Last month Hungary finalized the construction timetable with Beijing for a Budapest-Belgrade rail link. But outside Hungary, Chinese investments have not met expectations.
Countries taking part in the summit include the region’s EU states, plus Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.
Croatia will host the next 16+1 summit in 2019.
($1 = 1.6729 leva)


Apple China says it will push software update in bid to resolve Qualcomm case

Updated 29 min 58 sec ago
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Apple China says it will push software update in bid to resolve Qualcomm case

  • Apple will carry out the software updates at the start of next week to address the concern
  • A court found Apple infringed two patents held by the chipmaker and banned sales of older iPhone models

SHANGHAI/SAN FRANCISCO: Apple Inc. , facing a court ban in China on some of its iPhone models over alleged infringement of Qualcomm Inc. patents, said on Friday it will push software updates to users in a bid to resolve potential issues.
Apple will carry out the software updates at the start of next week “to address any possible concern about our compliance with the order,” the firm said in a statement sent to Reuters.
Earlier this week, Qualcomm said a Chinese court had ordered a ban on sales of some older Apple iPhone models for violating two of its patents, though intellectual property lawyers said the ban would still likely take time to enforce.
“Based on the iPhone models we offer today in China, we believe we are in compliance,” Apple said.
“Early next week we will deliver a software update for iPhone users in China addressing the minor functionality of the two patents at issue in the case.”
The case, brought by Qualcomm, is part of a global patent dispute between the two US companies that includes dozens of lawsuits. It creates uncertainty over Apple’s business in one of its biggest markets at a time when concerns over waning demand for new iPhones are battering its shares.
Qualcomm has said that the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court in China found Apple infringed two patents held by the chipmaker and ordered an immediate ban on sales of older iPhone models, from the 6S through the X.
Apple has said that all of its phone models remained on sale in mainland China and that it had filed a request for reconsideration with the court. All the models appeared to be available to buy on Apple’s China website on Friday.
Qualcomm, the biggest supplier of chips for mobile phones, filed its case in China in late 2017, arguing that Apple infringed patents on features related to resizing photographs and managing apps on a touch screen.