Much work remains in Sino-US trade negotiations

China and the United States have made new progress in negotiating the text of an econom

ic and trade deal, but much work remains to be done, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.

Negotiating teams from the two countries are hashing out the text of the deal, including

an enforcement mechanism, on the basis of mutual respect and benefit, said Gao Feng, ministry spokesman.

The remarks came as the world’s two biggest economies have been i

ntensifying their consultations and aiming to break the deadlock in a timely manner.

In the most recent round of trade consultations, the negotiators discussed technolo

gy transfers, protection of intellectual property rights, nontariff measures, the service sector, agriculture, tra

de imbalances and enforcement mechanisms, according to earlier reports.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China said in a recent white paper that the US business commu

nity in China, long an advocate of good bilateral relations, can no longer be relied on to be a positive anchor.

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Gao cited data to rebut that view and urged AmCham Chi

ina to evaluate China’s market access and business environment for foreign investors in a “comprehensive, objective and fair” way.

The ministry’s data showed that US investment in China jumped 71.3 percent year-on-ye

ar in the first three months of this year. In 2018, US investment increased 7.7 percent year-on-year.

Gao said expansion of the investment figures fully demonstrates that US compan

ies continue to be optimistic about the market and accelerate the pace of investing in China.

Gao cited another survey published in February by AmCham China that showed that most US

companies with operations in China said they have continued to see their revenues grow there.

Gao said the ministry will maintain close contact with foreign enterprise

s and business associations, and continuously improve China’s business environment.

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The eastern area and central China region are accele

rating the push for economic upgrading, which offers strong impetus for the growth. Despite the pressure, we still can see gr

owth momentum,” Zhang said during a macroeconomic seminar earlier this month in Beijing.

“Recently, the government has introduced a series of su

pportive policies which will gradually help grow the real economy,” Zhang added.

NDRC said a further 3.24 million new urban jobs were added in t

he first quarter, with surveyed unemployment ra

te remaining at a comparatively low level of 5.2 percent in March. And consu

mer prices registered a moderate rise of 1.8 percent in the first three months of this year.

A basic equilibrium in the balance of payments was maintai

ned, and China’s foreign exchange reserves exceeded $3 trillion, Yuan added.

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Last month, China has set its GDP growth target for this

year at a range of 6 to 6.5 percent, according to the 2019 Government Work Report.

A further 3.24 million new urban jobs were added in the first quarter, and the survey

ed unemployment rate remained at a comparatively low level of 5.2 percent in

March. Consumer price registered a moderate rise by 1.8 percent in the first three months this year.

A basic equilibrium in the balance of payments was m

aintained, and China’s foreign exchange reserves remain more than $3 trillion.

Economic structure further improved during the same period. Value-added high-tech se

ctor’s output rose by 7.8 percent, higher than the country’s value-added industrial output.

In the first quarter, NDRC has approved 50 fixed asset investment projects, mainly i

n the fields of energy, transportation and high-tech sectors. The total investment hit 370.3 bill

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Paris fire sends alarm on relics protectionhedral in Pa

An inferno that destroyed the spire and a large portion of the wooden roof structure of the 12th-century Notre Dame Cathedral in Pa

ris on Monday reinforced a cautionary message to Chinese authorities about the need to better protect vulnerable heritage sites.

The National Cultural Heritage Administration held a staff meeting on Tuesday night at wh

ich officials discussed the Paris fire and six major fires that have taken place at Chinese cultural heritage sites this year.

“The fire at Notre Dame in Paris rang the warning bell for us,” Song Xi

nchao, deputy director of the administration, said in an interview on Tuesday.

“The safety of cultural heritage sites is a red line that can never be crossed. It’s a global issue,” he said.

The six fires were in Sichuan, Fujian, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang provinces, officials said.

On Jan 6, a hall at Yunyan Temple in Jiangyou, Sichuan province, burned down. On

Feb 2, a wooden family temple from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in Nanchang, Jiangxi, was destroyed by fire.

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From January to March, government tax income inc

creased by 5.4 percent year-on-year, 11.9 percentage points lower than that in the first quarter 2018.

Individual income tax decreased by 29.7 percent, the largest drop among three major tax item

s. Value-added tax growth has already slowed to 10.7 percent, down from 20.1 percent a year earlier.

Local government income from land sales fell 9.5 percent in the first three months, the Ministry of Finance said.

As the central bank has taken a pause in monetary easing, fiscal policy should remain pro

active to stabilize economic growth and ensure the recent rebound is not just a seasonal fluke, said economists.

Xu Xianchun, a former deputy director at the National Bureau of Statist

ics, said that fiscal policy should be implemented “with proper intensity and at the right time”, t

o prevent large fluctuations in the investment growth rate and negative impact on economic stability.

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Military drill near Taiwan ‘necessary’sman for the State Coun

Mainland slams response by island’s leader, who called exercise ‘a threat’

A spokesman for the Chinese mainland said a military drill by Chinese bombers and warships around Taiwan on Monday was routin

e and slammed the island’s administration for misleading the Taiwan people and hyping tensions.

On Monday, various warships, bombers and reconnaissance aircr

aft of the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command conducted “necessary train

ing” around Taiwan as a means to test the joint assault capability between different branches of the military, Senior Colone

l Zhang Chunhui, the theater command’s spokesman, said in a statement on Monday.

The exercise took place in waters east of Taiwan and was part of a scheduled PLA exercise, he said.

“It is completely within the normal legal rights of a sovereign cou

ntry, and it’s beneficial for maintaining peace and security in the Taiwan Straits,” Zhang said.

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Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the State Council’s Taiw

wan Affairs Office, said in a statement on Tuesday that the exercise aimed to protect national sover

eignty and territorial integrity, as well as protect the common interests of people from both sides of the straits.

Taiwan’s administration, led by the Democratic Progressive Party, used the drill as an opport

unity to “deceive and mislead the residents of Taiwan and to provoke and escalate a cross-Straits confrontation,” Ma said.

“Its goal of undermining cross-Straits relations and the peace and security of the region will not succeed,” Ma said. “Nobo

dy should underestimate our adamant resolve and ability to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

On Tuesday, Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen said she will not be intimidated by the military d

rill, calling the exercise “a threat to Taiwan” and an act of “coercion”, the island’s media reported.

Tsai also thanked the United States for considering a deal with Taiwan to renew a $500

million training program in the US for Taiwan F-16 pilots and maintenance crews.

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The monkeys implanted with human genes developed bett

better short-term memory and faster reaction times compared with the control group, acco

rding findings published March 27 in the China-based journal National Science Review.

The study also found that transgenic monkeys’ brains took longer to develop, in a similar fashion to humans.

The experiment has divided the scientific community however, with a number of Western scientists criticizing it as uneth

ical, while some went as far to suggest, perhaps ironically, that it could lead to a Planet of the Apes-type scenario.

The Kunming Institute of Zoology told China Daily in a statement that the experiment was ethically approved in 2010.

In 2015 the animal rights committee of Kunming Biomed International, a research organiza

tion specializing in nonhuman primates, also declared the animals were being treated humanely in every

step of the experiment, in accordance with domestic and international regulations, the statement said.

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Customs makes its biggest tusk bustuangpu Customs Distri

China’s customs officers have seized 2,748 ivory tusks weighing a combined 7.48 metric tons after cracking a major smuggling case.

It was the biggest haul of tusks ever recorded in an anti-smuggling bust conducted in

dependently by customs officers, the General Administration of Customs said on Monday.

The case was solved in March after a combined operation of differ

ent customs offices lasting three months. A total of 238 custo

ms officers took part from cities around the country, including Hefei, Nanjing, Beijing, Fuzhou and Qingdao.

Twenty suspects were detained for further investigation, accor

ding to Sun Zhijie, director of the administration’s anti-smuggling bureau.

Sun said the tusks, illegally shipped from African countries, were imported into China labeled as wood.

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