2004-01-20 10:18:02
Weekly Review

Agency to ensure fair play

A national anti-monopoly administration will be set up in line with the antitrust law to implement uniform competition rules for the Chinese market, said a senior official with the drafting panel of the code.

The agency will be established directly under the State Council, said the official, who declined to be named.

The decade-long drafting of the law is expected to conclude this year, and it will be submitted to the National People's Congress for review, he said.

Moderate CPI growth

Despite worries about possible inflation, experts say China should only expect a "moderate?growth in its consumer prices this year, due to the rise in grain prices since last October.

Qi Jingmei, a senior economist with the State Information Centre, said China's consumer price index (CPI), a key inflation gauge, is likely to rise 3 per cent this year.

That would be much faster than the 1.5 to 2 per cent rate predicted at the end of last year.

Oil exports suspended

China has suspended oil exports to Japan due to a stalemate in sales negotiations. That move could risk the future of a three-decade long oil shipment programme.

The sales talks were on hold as China, the world's second-largest oil importer, demanded a price increase and a cut in volumes to justify exports from its Daqing Oilfield, industrial and company officials said.

Analysts said the economic relationship between the neighbouring countries is unlikely to be affected by the event.

Joint efforts for green Games

The United States of America joined with Beijing last week to improve the capital's air quality and environment for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

The US Department of Energy, China's Ministry of Science and Technology and the Beijing municipal government last Monday signed a Green Olympic Protocol for Beijing's 2008 Olympic Games.

Under the protocol, eight clean energy programmes will be implemented to promote environmentally friendly energy development efforts for the 2008 Games, and to develop future sustainable energy sources in the capital, Beijing Vice-Mayor Fan Boyuan said during a signing ceremony.

Banking supervision law hailed

Senior banking regulators, bankers and legal experts last week hailed China's first banking supervision law as a crucial step in the nation's effort to improve bank supervision and ensure the industry's stable performance.

But they said officials must make unremitting efforts to enforce the Law of the People's Republic of China on Banking Supervision and Regulation, which takes effect on February 1.

The law was passed at the end of last year.

"The banking supervision law addresses banking supervision system reform and helps protect depositors?interests,?Liu Mingkang, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), told a conference in Beijing.

Ag tax cut hailed wise

The central government's decision to waive the special agricultural product tax is a wise and timely measure to alleviate the heavy financial burdens on the country's 900-million-plus farmers, experts said.

"The move will no doubt help strengthen farmers,?said Niu Li, a senior economist with the State Information Centre.

The so-called special agricultural product tax is a major tax item in the rural areas, which is levied on farmers who produce almost all special local products ranging from fruit, aquatic products and flowers to mushrooms with an average tax rate of 8 per cent.

First ship order from Japan

China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC), one of the country's largest shipbuilding firms, signed a supply contract last week with Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), a leading Japanese shipping company.

According to the contract, Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co, under the CSSC, will build two, 175,000 dead-weight ton bulk carriers for the Japanese firm.

It is the first order Chinese shipbuilders have ever received from big Japanese shipping firms, said CSSC General Manager Chen Xiaojin.

Stronger consumer confidence

Chinese consumers?confidence has recovered strongly since SARS?spread was checked last summer, and China, given its fast-growing imports, will continue to be the Asia-Pacific region's primary economic engine this year, indicates the latest MasterCard International survey.

MasterIndex, MasterCard International's biannual survey on consumer confidence, indicated consumer confidence in China has recovered to exceed the historic average by 12.7 points.

The survey's current score is 83.7, up from 68 in June 2003.

The latest benchmark index is based on a survey of 601 consumers in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou from December 15-24.

Vehicle output slows down

China's vehicle output growth will slow down this year from the explosive levels it experienced in the last two years, according to an industry monitoring organization.

Vehicle output is expected to total 5.10-5.34 million units this year, up 20 per cent from last year, Zhu Yiping, a spokesperson from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said last week.

That's down from the 35 per cent growth rate seen in 2003 and 2002.

Plane parts industry takes off

China is becoming a major world producer of aircraft parts and components rapidly as foreign aircraft manufacturers, including Boeing and Airbus, are stepping up production in the country.

A Brazilian company has taken the lead in setting up a joint venture with a Chinese company to assemble a new civilian jet.

David Wang, president of Boeing China, says Boeing is rapidly expanding its industrial co-operation with Chinese companies.

Huaneng aims at Fortune 500

The China Huaneng Group, one of the nation's five largest power companies, is to maintain its growing momentum in 2004 and join the Fortune 500 list by 2010.

Huaneng President Li Xiaopeng announced the ambitious plan last Thursday during the 2004 working conference of the group.

He also said the power giant is extending into the financial sector.

According to Huaneng's general scheme, it will generate 189.8 billion kilowatt hours this year, up 9 per cent from last year's 174.4 billion kilowatt hours.

Meanwhile, China Huaneng Group, the parent firm of Asia's largest independent power generator, Huaneng International, will build 10 new power projects to raise its generating capacity to 8.695 million kilowatts.

(Business Weekly 01/20/2004 page2)

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