Economy & Trade

What to Expect at China’s 19th Party Congress

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By Alexander Chipman Koty

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On October 18, China’s top leadership will convene at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to begin the weeklong 19th National Party Congress of the Communist Party of China.

The Congress is the most important political event in China, where the Party’s top representatives meet once every five years to announce changes to top leadership positions and set out the Party’s – and therefore China’s – direction for the next half decade.

This year, around 2,300 delegates will assemble for the Congress. The delegates consist of Party representatives from China’s national party organs, provinces, leading municipalities, the military, and state-owned enterprises (SOEs), as well as some private sector representatives and other influential figures.

The stakes for the 19th National Party Congress are high: five out of seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee (PSB) – the most powerful decision-making body in China – are set to retire, leaving only President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang remaining. Overall, about 70 percent of posts on the PSB, the 25-member Politburo, and the 350-member Central Committee are expected to shuffle, as well as adjustments to military positions.

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China’s Free Trade Agreements in South Asia

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By Melissa Cyrill

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China is steadily laying the groundwork for its ambitious ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) program. Given that it is an expansive regional infrastructure and connectivity initiative, the dismantling of trade barriers throughout the OBOR region is important. China realizes this, and has been actively pursuing free trade agreements (FTAs) with all key stakeholders.

OBOR is now labeled the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to reflect the fact that it will connect Asia, Europe, and Africa along five maritime and land routes. This includes two South Asian economic corridors: Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) and China-Pakistan (CPEC).

As a result, China is actively seeking to improve its trade relations with South Asia. Deeper connectivity, once achieved under the BRI, will boost the development and commercial aspirations of South Asia’s lagging economies, and open up new markets for China. However, China has yet to convince India; the latter is against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor due to geopolitical concerns.

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China’s Top Ports: An Index for Importers and Exporters

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By Yiyi Shi

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China has numerous ports along its eastern and southern coasts – 158 in total. While Shanghai often steals the attention as the largest port in China (and the busiest in the world), there are a number of other locations that foreign traders can look into. Moreover, as ports vary in size, accessibility, growth, and preferential policies, different options may better suit different needs.

Using our Ports Index – a metric focused on size, growth, and financials – we evaluate and rank 16 of China’s top ports in this article. Additionally, we make predictions about how China’s ports may develop in the future and what investors can expect.

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China – India Business Relations Robust Despite Border Hype

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By Melissa Cyrill

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Less than three months after a border standoff began at Doklam, China and India agreed to de-escalate the situation in favor of talks and military disengagement.

The standoff caused some strain in bilateral trade and business relations. Yet, eventually, economic and commercial interests trumped geopolitical concerns, leading to the relatively swift resolution of border tensions.

Indeed, a week after the disengagement, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the ninth BRICS Summit in Xiamen, and met separately with Chinese President Xi Jinping for bilateral talks.

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Prospects for UK FTA with China, Revitalization of Commonwealth

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CDE Op-Ed Commentary

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The UK has been in the business of negotiating free trade, or what were previously known as “Treaty Agreements” with China since 1842. The Commonwealth of Nations, meanwhile, has its roots way back in 1887, when the first of several British Imperial Conferences was held in London. These roots are of interest, as despite subsequent negative historical coverage, and much hand wringing among the politically correct, the British Empire ultimately led to the creation of modern India, Hong Kong, and mainland China. Without British influence at that time, these countries and territories would not be in the same format as they are now.

The first Treaty Agreement the UK had with China, the Treaty of Nanjing, covered the following clauses as concerns trade (others dealt with war reparations and other unfair impositions upon China, however for the purposes of this article, I concentrate purely on the trade aspect and leave the political material elsewhere). The Treaty of Nanjing’s trade clauses’ fundamental purpose was to change the framework of foreign trade imposed by the previous trade agreement, known as the Canton System, which had been in operation since 1760 – some 82 years – and had not been negotiated directly by the British government, but by appointed agents (The British East India Company). Those 82 years even then were a long time in underlying trade protocols between two large economies, even if one was the dominant world power.

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Revitalizing China’s Rust Belt: Incentives for Businesses and Expats

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By Moliang Jiang

Lively debate has exploded in recent weeks among economists, commentators, and netizens over how to revitalize China’s struggling Northeast. The region, often compared to the Rust Belt in the US thanks to its industrial focus and decline, has encountered obstacles in reinvigorating its economy and retaining talent. Although several startups and innovative industries have emerged in the Northeast, the economic situation still does not look promising.

The Northeast region, known as Dongbei in Chinese, consists of three provinces: Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang, which neighbor Russia and North Korea. The region has rich natural resources, vast forest areas, and fertile soil for agriculture. However, it is experiencing an exodus of young talent and professionals, an economic slowdown, a decline in investment, and an aging population.

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China-Canada Relations: A New Economic Partnership?

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By Alexander Chipman Koty

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced the beginning of a new “golden decade” in China-Canada relations when he visited Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in September 2016.

The trip was the first by a Chinese premier in 13 years, and came only weeks after Trudeau himself paid a visit to China. The “golden decade” has already borne fruit with Canada’s accession to the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the launch of exploratory talks for a free trade agreement (FTA).

The optimistic language surrounding China-Canada relations marked a tonal shift from the previous decade of bilateral relations, when Canada, under the stewardship of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, viewed China largely with suspicion and unease. However, while Trudeau has publicly sought to reengage China, barriers remain in the relationship.

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China-Russia Bilateral Trade is World’s Fastest Growing Opportunity Corridor

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By Dezan Shira & Associates

Bilateral trade between China and Russia has skyrocketed this year and is expected to reach US$80 billion by the end of 2017, an increase of over 30 percent year-on-year. The Russian Ambassador to China, Andrey Denisov, told the media that “This year, for six to seven months, growth of trade turnover amounted to around 30 percent. If we keep this momentum, then by the end of the year our trade will reach US$80 billion and even slightly more.”

According to the General Administration Customs of China, trade turnover between Russia and China in January-July this year increased by 25.5 percent in annual terms to US$46.82 billion. At the end of 2016, this indicator grew by 2.2 percent in annual terms to reach US$69.52 billion.

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Dezan Shira & Associates

Meet the firm behind our content. Dezan Shira & Associates have been servicing foreign investors in China, India and the ASEAN region since 1992. Click here to visit their professional services website and discover how they can help your business succeed in Asia.

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