China says trade war with US hampered its 2019 foreign trade

UNTV News   •   January 14, 2020   •   549

A man works on the CSCL Yellow Sea cargo ship at the Los Angeles Port in Los Angeles, California, USA, 08 August 2019. EPA-EFE/ETIENNE LAURENT

Beijing – China’s international trade growth slowed to 3.4 percent in 2019, affected by the trade war with the United States, a country with which exchanges decreased 10.7 percent, according to official data published Tuesday.

China’s foreign trade increased by 3.4 percent to 31.54 trillion yuan ($4.57 trillion) in 2019, figures of the General Administration of Customs showed.

Exports grew by 5 percent in 2019 to 17.23 trillion yuan, while imports increased by 1.6 percent to 14.31 trillion yuan.

The trade surplus increased by 25.4 percent, totaling 2.92 trillion yuan.

Although the growth rate was lower than in the previous two years, Customs authorities underlined that the total trade volume as well as imports and exports set record nominal figures in 2019.

There was a sharp increase in pork imports (75 percent), a product in great demand in China and for which supply was severely affected by the African swine fever epidemic.

Purchases of veal meat abroad, used as a substitute, also experienced a notable increase (59.7 percent).

China’s trade scenario last year was marked by the ongoing trade war with the United States, leading bilateral trade between them to fall by 10.7 percent to 3.73 trillion yuan.

The figure means the United States is no longer China’s second-largest trading partner, and falls to third place, although it is still far superior to fourth-placed Japan.

Chinese exports to the US reduced by 8.7 percent to 2.89 trillion yuan, while imports from the North American country dropped by 17.1 percent to 845.38 billion yuan.

This lopsided trade balance between them in favor of China — which last year stood at 2.04 trillion yuan, a drop of 4.7 percent — was among the major reasons for the Trump administration to start the trade war with Beijing.

While trade with the US fell, China increased exchanges with the European Union by 8 percent, the United Kingdom (12 percent).

One of the commercial year’s notable relationships was with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a regional bloc with which China raised its businesses by 14.1 percent and took the place of the US as Beijing’s second-largest trading partner.

In addition, the Asian giant carried out 8 percent more year-on-year more purchases and sales in Latin America in 2019, and 6.8 percent more in Africa.

The country’s Customs authorities also highlighted trade growth with countries that are part of the Chinese initiative of the New Silk Routes, which rose by 10.8 percent.

Another figure highlighted by the state press is that, for the first time since the statistical series began, Chinese private companies outperformed those with foreign funding.

Looking ahead, Capital Economics analyst Julian Evans-Pritchard believes the “gradual recovery” of the economies of China’s main trading partners will help sustain exports this year.

This should also be helped by the so-called “first phase” of the agreement between China and the US, which is to be signed Wednesday and will serve to end the tariff conflict between the two powers.

Evans-Pritchard is not so optimistic about the growth of imports in 2020 “It could not increase much more due to the winds against domestic demand,” he said, and said the agreed increase in purchases of US products would be carried out by sacrificing other countries’ imports.

The General Administration of Customs published data today for the month of December, in which foreign trade increased by 12.7 percent and set a new monthly volume record. EFE-EPA

vec/tw-lds

Duterte to listen to public’s sentiment on VFA issue

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is open to listening to the public about their sentiments on the issue regarding the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States (US).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said those who wish to voice out their opinions on whether the VFA should be abolished or not can send messages through the government hotline 8888.

Kung nais ninyong marinig ang inyong boses tungkol dito, huwag po kayong mag-atubili, kayo po ay magpadala ng e-mail o mensahe o kung anuman doon sa mga linya ng ating mga ahensiya sa gobyerno para makarating po kay Presidente (If you want your voices to be heard, do not hesitate and send an email or message through government agency hotlines for it to reach the President), he said.

Duterte, during his public address on Wednesday (February 24), said he is still undecided on what to do. He previously demanded the US to pay if it wants the VFA to continue.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt.Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said the military will support the decision of the President but also said the Philippines should be able to defend itself without any assistance. -AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

PH urges Filipinos in the US to exercise ‘utmost caution’ amid rise in anti-Asian attacks

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Embassy in Washington has cautioned Filipinos in the United States (US) to stay safe and vigilant amid rising incidents of anti-Asian attacks in various parts of the US. 

The Embassy and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also called on the local authorities in the US to further ensure the protection of Asian Americans, including Filipinos.

“The Philippine Embassy and Consulates General in the United States appreciate the swift action taken by a number of local authorities to apprehend perpetrators of these attacks. However, we call on federal, state, and local authorities to further ensure the protection of persons of Asian descent, including Filipinos,” the DFA said.

Among the reports concerning violence against those of Asian descent include the case of Filipino-American Noel Quintana who was slashed in the face by a fellow subway passenger early February this year.

Filipinos in the US have been advised to immediately call 911 if they experience an attack. AAC

Lacson reiterates diplomatic approach more effective on PH-US VFA talks

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—A diplomatic approach will be more effective in discussing the Philippine-United States Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) instead of using strong words to send a message, according to Senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson.

“The President may have used strong words to send his message across to the US. But certainly, there is a more civil and statesmanlike manner to ask for compensation from a longtime ally using the usual diplomatic channels and still get the same desired results,” he said.

Lacson made the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday (February 12) said the US will have to “pay” if it wants the VFA with the Philippines to continue. Duterte also said that US’ “share of responsibility does not come free.”

The senator said the the country needs the VFA especially with recent Chinese intrusions into its territory, particularly in the West Philippine Sea. AAC

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