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China’s success in poverty reduction shows UN’s “No Poverty” goal attainable: UN official

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China‘s success in poverty reduction has demonstrated to the global community that the first goal of “No Poverty” among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is attainable, a high-ranking United Nations official said Friday.

China gives us an affirmation that SDG 1 – No Poverty is attainable even in a country with 1.4 billion population,” Jorge Chediek, UN secretary general’s envoy on South-South Cooperation and director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), told Xinhua in an exclusive interview through email.

China has made impressive achievements in the fight against poverty, which is also a significant contribution to global poverty eradication,” he said when commenting on the Government Work Report delivered by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress, the national legislature, in Beijing on Friday morning.

China provides the world, especially the Global South, an example of how economic policies and social policies have managed to take hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, Chediek said.

“The targeted poverty reduction policy implemented by the Chinese Government and focused support to areas of extreme poverty have proved to be effective in eliminating poverty, which also reflects the commitment and indicator of ‘leaving no one behind,’ as UN calls for, in its achievement of SDGs,” said the official.

The UNOSSC director noted that poverty alleviation “is a priority of China and so it is to us in the United Nations. The office has been working with China to support the eradication of poverty through effective and concrete South-South cooperation initiatives.”

Among them, the South-South Cooperation Facility for Poverty Eradication is a prominent example. The facility is supported by the Government of China and aims to provide an enabling environment for China and other development partners from the Global South to share their solutions, publicize their demands, and connect to foster south-south cooperation and Triangular cooperation opportunities on poverty eradication, he said.

“Each country has its own goals, circumstances, capacities, and development paths,” said Chediek, but adding that based on similar experiences and shared sustainable development goals, sharing good practices among the global South is extremely useful.

“We would expect to see a further expansion of south-south cooperation between China and other Southern countries on the SDG 1,” he noted.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all UN member states in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet now and into the future, with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals at its heart.

All the member states recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth, while tackling climate change and working to preserve oceans and forests.

(XINHUA)

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Commentary: China determined to further open up despite COVID-19 epidemic

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At this critical juncture when the COVID-19 epidemic is still ravaging the globe, China is opening its door wider to the world instead of trying to close it.

China on Monday announced it will build its island province of Hainan into a free trade port, a move that demonstrates the resolve to contribute to a stable world economy by continuing to advance reform and opening-up, widen market access, improve the business environment and expand imports and outbound investment.

By building a free trade port, Hainan will implement zero tariffs and low taxes, simplify the tax system, and offer special policies in trade, investment, capital flow, visa and entry, transportation, and flow of data, thus becoming a new hub for reform and opening up in China.

It will bring tremendous opportunities to countries across the world. Global companies, either multinationals or small and medium ones, can tap into the Chinese market or expand their market shares in China through Hainan free trade port.

As the coronavirus epidemic continues to deal a body blow to the global economy, it’s not easy to overcome external challenges to start development of a free trade port. However, China never wavers in its determination to further open up, and always goes all out to fulfill its promise.

China advocates building a community with a shared future for humanity. No country can isolate itself from the interconnected world. To bolster wider opening-up is what China says and what China does, as always.

For instance, the China International Import Expo, the world‘s first national-level exhibition dedicated to import, will be held for the third year in Shanghai. More than 1,400 companies have signed up. More countries and overseas companies are sharing China‘s large cake of the market.

The construction of a free trade port in Hainan is not only China‘s latest move to expand opening up, but also comes as a confidence booster to the world which is facing economic recession and rising protectionism.

The epidemic will eventually be defeated by mankind, after which globalization is expected to accelerate.

The future lies in openness and win-win cooperation, and China is ready to embrace the world at a new level.

(XINHUA)

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China calls for further support to WHO, rejects United States exit

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China on Monday called on the international community to further consolidate consensus of backing multilateralism and increase political and financial support for the World Health Organization (WHO) to jointly safeguard global public health security.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks at a press briefing in response to the recent United States exit from the organization.

Zhao said the international community does not agree with the United States “selfish, responsibility-evading” act that is harmful to global fight against COVID-19.

In fact, the United States has made a habit of withdrawing from commitments, Zhao said, adding the act has once again exposed the United States practice of unilateralism and power politics.

As an international body made up of 194 sovereign states, the WHO does not serve any particular country and it should not defer to any country for providing more funding than others, he said.

In the face of COVID-19, the attempts to suppress or blackmail the WHO show indifference toward lives and pose challenges to humanitarianism, which will be surely rejected by the international community, he added.

China will continue to act as a responsible country and will consistently endorse the WHO‘s leading role in the global cooperation to fight COVID-19, Zhao said.

(XINHUA)

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Major China-Europe freight train route sees surging deliveries

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A major China-Europe freight train route linking Yiwu in Zhejiang Province and Madrid in Spain has seen deliveries surge 72 percent in the first five months, according to the train operator.

As of May 31, 16,672 twenty-foot-equivalent unit (TEU) containers have been sent on the route, with 200 trains sent this year, according to the China Railway Shanghai Group.

The operator sent 19 trains in the last week of May and plans to send over 20 trains weekly starting in June.

Dubbed Yixin’ou in Chinese (Yiwu-Xinjiang-Europe), the cargo line is 13,052 km long, connecting China‘s major small commodity hub with Europe.

Initiated in 2011, the China-Europe rail transport service is considered a significant part of the Belt and Road Initiative to boost trade between China and countries participating in the program. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the service remained a reliable transportation channel.

From March 21 to the end of April, anti-pandemic supplies totaling 660,000 items and weighing 3,142 tonnes were sent by the freight trains to European countries such as Italy, Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic, according to China State Railway Group.

(XINHUA)

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Air Peace hails India, China, Israel over evacuation of citizens from Nigeria

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Leading Nigerian carrier, Air Peace, has commended Israel, China and India for contracting the airline to evacuate their citizens to their countries due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyeama, gave the commendation in a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the airline on Sunday evacuated 312 Indian citizens from Nigeria to their country in a 10-hour non-stop flight.

The flight, which departed on Sunday from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, was operated with a B777 aircraft with registration number 5N-BWI. The flight, operated by 15 crew members, is expected to arrive Cochin International Airport in Kerala.

NAN reports that Air Peace had also evacuated about 210 Israelis from Nigeria to Tel-Aviv on March 29, evacuated about 301 Chinese from Lagos airport to Guangzhou, China, on May 28, and also evacuated 286 Indians to Kochi from Lagos last Sunday.

Onyema said that the airline was grateful to the three countries for the confidence they reposed in it, which in no small measure portrayed their support for the development of Nigerian airlines.

He said: “Israel blazed the trail when it approved the evacuation of its citizens from Lagos and Abuja to Tel-Aviv, followed by China and India.

“For these three countries to engage Air Peace to carry out the evacuation exercise speaks volumes about the level of confidence they have on the airline and its safety standards.

“This feat has been attested to by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification of our airline.

“What the three countries have done will help in creating and sustaining jobs for Nigerians and by identifying with a Nigerian carrier at this time shows that they love our country and their support has challenged us to do more by improving on our achievements.

Air Peace is grateful to the government of these countries. Their support means a lot to us. It shows that they truly have the interest of Nigeria at heart.”

Onyema noted that the gesture shown by Israel, China and India would not go unnoticed by the Nigerian public, which over the years have yearned for viable Nigerian carriers.

According to him, this could be flying them to different parts of the world, as it is known that Nigerians are great travellers.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Interview: Innovation cooperation between Israel, China has bright prospect: university president

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Cooperation between Israel and China in the sector of innovation has a bright prospect and wider cooperation is under expectation, said Asher Cohen, president of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

During an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Cohen expressed his excitement for future cooperation between Israel and China, particularly in scientific R&D fields, saying that the Hebrew University is beyond keen to further their collaborations with the top universities of China.

“One of our top priorities is to increase international cooperation, specifically to increase the cooperation with the Chinese universities,” said Cohen.

As of present, the Hebrew University has established close relations with a number of top Chinese universities. Academic exchanges and scientific R&D collaborations have been conducted in many domains such as biology, social science and agriculture.

“It is a priority for us to cooperate and increase cooperation with the Chinese universities,” said Cohen, adding that a number of joint academic activities are “progressing very well.”

Cohen traveled to China for the first time in 2015. There, he visited a range of Chinese top universities, which to this day has left an outstanding impression in his mind.

China has improved tremendously in the last 50 years in terms of academics and there is now a great deal of “really excellent” universities, he said.

In the eyes of Cohen, China‘s high education is progressing into a better future. “That’s why it is one of our top priorities to cooperate with the Chinese universities,” he further emphasized.

Cohen continued that it is “very important” to cooperate between Chinese and Israeli researches because each country and each university has its advantages.

The Hebrew University is renowned for its innovation, and Chinese universities are interested in the innovation aspect. “We cooperate together, and we produce a better product,” he noted.

In order to promote innovation cooperation, in 2014, China and Israel established the mechanism of the joint committee. In March 2017, the two countries established an innovative comprehensive partnership during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s visit to China.

Thereafter, cooperation between China and Israel in innovation has achieved eye-catching progress, with increasing mutual investment and vibrant people-to-people exchange.

Cohen expressed his expectation for more delegations from the Chinese universities when the pandemic is over and more opportunities to visit China in the future.

(XINHUA)

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Economic Watch: China PMI data shows fresh signs of recovery amid COVID-19 control

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China‘s factory and service sector activities expanded in May amid government policies to coordinate growth and control of the COVID-19 epidemic, official data showed Sunday.

The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for China‘s manufacturing sector and that for the non-manufacturing sector both stood above the boom-bust line of 50 in May, indicating steady recovery in major industries, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.

While the manufacturing PMI eased to 50.6 in May from 50.8 in April, it still indicated an upward trend in economic growth as counter-cyclical adjustment policies gradually took effect, said Wen Bin, chief analyst at China Minsheng Bank.

China has been walking a fine line in balancing epidemic control and economic recovery, with targeted measures introduced to help firms safely restart their businesses.

Of the surveyed manufacturing firms, 81.2 percent saw over 80 percent of their business operation resume in May, NBS data showed.

Domestic demand bounced back, with the indices measuring new orders in 12 of the 21 surveyed manufacturing industries picking up, NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe noted.

The sub-index gauging firms’ expectations for business activities ticked up 3.9 percentage points to 57.9, indicating improved confidence among manufacturing companies.

Sunday’s data also showed that the PMI for China‘s non-manufacturing sector came in at 53.6 in May, up from 53.2 in April.

The sub-index for business activities in the construction sector saw accelerated pace of growth in May, expanding 1.1 points from the previous month to 60.8, while that for the service sector steadily recovered, edging up 0.2 points from April.

As China further implements proactive fiscal policy after the annual sessions of the national legislature and political advisory body, the construction industry is expected to see sound growth momentum, Wen said.

China will blaze a new path of shock-resilience and positive growth cycles which will center on stabilizing employment, energizing the market, stimulating demand and achieving stable growth, according to a government work report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang at the annual national legislative session.

To that end, the country will pursue a more proactive and effective fiscal policy, aiming to reduce corporate burden by over 2.5 trillion yuan (about 350 billion U.S. dollars) this year.

Toshiyasu Iiyama, head of China Committee of Nomura Holdings, said that the tax and fee cuts are expected to benefit domestic and foreign companies alike.

The country also promised to ensure fair competition and make sustained efforts to create a market-oriented, law-based, and internationalized business environment, a move that will further improve the quality of the market economy and inject vitality into the market, Iiyama said.

The country will pursue a prudent monetary policy in a more flexible and appropriate way, using a variety of tools including reserve requirement ratio cuts, interest rate reductions and relending to enable M2 money supply and aggregate financing to grow at notably higher rates than last year, said the report.

As total social financing continues to grow, China‘s manufacturing PMI will likely stay in expansionary territory, investment bank CICC said in a research note.

(XINHUA)

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Interview: California avocado trade group sees opportunity, competition in China market

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“We are so pleased the long process has been finalized,” Ken Melban, vice president of Industry Affairs for the California Avocado Commission, told Xinhua after the state’s Hass avocado was approved for export to China.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced last week that several more U.S. agricultural products had been approved to be exported to China as part of the U.S.-China phase-one economic and trade agreement.

The list included California’s premium Hass avocado, as well as tasty blueberry, barley for malt processing and feed, alfalfa hay, Timothy hay, and almond products.

California avocado growers are elated with the news. Melban said his trade group has been working to promote productivity, new market opportunities and initiatives for their growers, as well develop the branding of Haas avocado as the premium avocado product in the global marketplace since 1978.

“We are looking forward to bringing our premium California avocados to China, probably first to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou,” he said in an exclusive interview to Xinhua on Wednesday.

Melban said the procedures, protocols and products being traded between the United States and China are first hammered out between governments before farmers and distributors can get into act.

“With all the safety protocols, inspections, and pest control measures both countries require, it can take years to be approved,” he said, revealing that the process for exporting their premium avocados began way back in 2005 under the administration of George W. Bush.

His big lament is that the remaining trade war tariffs for their products may be as high as 60 percent – a crippling sum for a new product coming into a competitive foreign market.

“We work for a great commodity and are very proud of the growers we serve,” Melban told Xinhua. “They‘ve had to weather a lot of challenges to get to this point to enable them to provide high quality, healthy premium products worldwide at a reasonable price.”

Having seen how well other quality California products have fared in China, some sources are predicting China could be a 10-billion-U.S.-dollar market for avocados. Melban is taking a more cautious, wait-and-see view.

“We think it will be an excellent market, but until you actually get in there, you can’t know,” he told Xinhua, pointing out that while the door is now open, no avocados have been shipped to China yet.

“But the more options you have the better positioned you are for the future.”

He was quick to point out that while avocados from other countries have been imported to China for years, California superior avocados would soon achieve their rightful place in that market.

“We don’t compete with Mexican or Peruvian avocados. They compete with quantity, but we compete with quality and nobody can top California’s premium Haas avocados.”

Regarding price points, he explained that while other fruits like strawberry take only 6 weeks from blossom to harvest-ready fruit, premium Haas avocados take 14 to 18 months to mature.

“The long growing cycle is a challenge, but also a strength,” he explained. It is one of the key factors that has allowed California avocado farmers to avoid the devastating, wasted harvests that potato and dairy farmers have suffered during the COVID-19 crisis when shuttered fast-food chains and restaurants didn’t buy their crops as usual.

“Our growers can watch the market and delay harvest a few months, if needed, so they can weather this crisis better than most other growers can,” Melban added.

(XINHUA)

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China’s economic recovery benefits global economy: expert

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China‘s economic recovery after containing the COVID-19 outbreak will help boost the global economy, a Greek economist told Xinhua in a recent interview.

China‘s economic growth is the most important source of growth for the global economy,” said Vasilis Trigkas, who is also a research fellow at the Belt and Road Strategy Institute at China‘s Tsinghua University.

Noting that China‘s economic recovery will be beneficial to the global economy, Trigkas said he believes China will eventually shift toward higher consumption domestically, which, however, might be a long-term process.

Trigkas added that China can attract investments from European companies by accelerating negotiations for a bilateral investment treaty with the European Union, as well as deepening the reform and opening-up process.

“Obviously, this will have a positive impact on the global economy, as nations would increase their exports to the vast Chinese market,” he said.

(XINHUA)

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China’s tax, fee cuts total over 906 bln yuan in Jan.-April

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China‘s top tax watchdog said the country’s tax and fee cuts totaled 906.6 billion yuan (about 127.1 billion U.S. dollars) in the first four months.

Of the total, the preferential tax and fee measures unveiled in 2020 to support economic development and the containment of the COVID-19 epidemic saved a total of 485.7 billion yuan, according to the State Taxation Administration.

The remaining 420.9 billion yuan of taxes and fees were reduced as a result of the implementation of a larger scale of tax and fee cut policies rolled out last year.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, China has rolled out a slew of tax and fee relief measures to alleviate the burdens on market entities.

Meanwhile, more Chinese cash-starved small and micro-businesses have easier access to credit support thanks to the information sharing system between banks and tax departments.

Small and micro firms have received 181.6 billion yuan worth of loans based on taxpaying credit in the first quarter, official data showed.

(XINHUA)

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