EU business lobby fears losses as China promises to import more from US

UNTV News   •   January 16, 2020   •   416

European Chamber report on China epa05174731 Joerg Wuttke, President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, delivers a briefing on a new report on the increased overcapacity in China’s industrial economy at the Four Seasons hotel in Beijing, China, 22 February 2016. According to a statement from the European Chamber, it’s report titled ‘Overcapacity in China: An Impediment to the Party’s Reform Agenda’ provides recommendations to address problems of ineffectual efforts by China’s government in resolving excessive production capacity in its industrial economy. EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA

Beijing – A European business lobby in China on Thursday said Beijing’s promise to buy $200-billion worth of products from the United States in two years as part of the first phase of a bilateral trade agreement could result in a drop in imports from Europe.

“Will our exports to China be possibly hurt? Possibly yes,” European Union Chamber of Commerce President Joerg Wuttke told reporters.

He warned that Chinese commitments could mean that it stops purchasing European products in the relevant sectors to substitute them with US imports.

In the agreement signed in Washington on Wednesday, China has pledged to boost its imports of US goods and services by $200 billion over the next two years.

This includes $32 billion in additional agricultural purchases, $52 billion in energy products and $78 billion in additional manufactured goods.

In 2018, the US had exported products worth $120 billion to China.

“The US always stood for competition and openness and it’s very interesting to see only that China gets told now what to buy, where to buy (…) All of a sudden, the lead of the free world is turning into a system that resembles the Chinese system. It’s ironic,” Wuttke said.

Although the EU trade representative welcomed the deal as a “good news” that meant the end of the “negative spiral” caused by the tariff war between the US and China, he criticized what he called a trend of “managed trade” and said it was “rewriting globalization”.

The business lobby also expressed doubts over specific parts of the agreement, such as the emphasis on bigger purchases of steel, even though China has been struggling with overproduction in the sector.

Wuttke welcomed Chinese Vice Premier Liu He’s statement that the deal would not affect third parties.

“(The statement) indicates that China might not be willing to just be forced to buy American products, they still want to maintain the right to source globally where products are (the) cheapest and best,” Wuttke said.

How the conflict between Beijing and Washington has been resolved – at least partially and temporarily – has not surprised European companies, which have been hit by US tariffs in sectors like Spanish olive oil.

“There’s this particular ban on Scottish whiskey and Spanish olive oil. There might be Italian or Greek olive oil but the fact is the American consumer gets told ‘you buy only this’,” Wuttke said.

“We do not like this kind of protectionism. Tariffs are something like an addiction, once you have it you don’t get rid of it, and certain interest groups will defend them. Getting tariffs down, as we learned last night, is very difficult,” he said.

Wuttke said that the real challenge in resolving the trade dispute lay in the “tech war”.

“There is tremendous pressure from the US on European business, you know the Huawei 5G story. But then again, like China, Europe doesn’t like to be told what to buy, where to buy,” he insisted.

Wuttke said EU firms suffered from the trade war because most of them operated in China and sold to China.

“We happen to sell to many Chinese exporters so indirectly many of us took a hit by this,” he said.

As part of Wednesday’s deal, the US agreed to cut tariffs on $120-billion worth of Chinese imports (imposed in September) from 15 percent to 7.5 percent and also suspend plans for 15 percent tariffs on $150 billion of Chinese goods that had been scheduled to go into effect last month.

However, tariffs ranging between 15 and 25 percent will remain in place on $370 billion worth of goods: roughly two-thirds of all US imports from China. EFE-EPA

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China’s lunar rover unveils underground secrets on far side of moon

UNTV News   •   February 27, 2020

China’s lunar rover Yutu-2, or Jade Rabbit-2, has helped scientists unveil the secrets buried deep under the surface on the far side of the Moon, enriching human’s understanding about the history of celestial collision and volcanic activities and shedding new light on the geological evolution on the Moon.

China’s Chang’e-4 probe made the first-ever soft landing on the eastern floor of the Von Karman Crater within the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the Moon on Jan 3, 2019. After its landing, the spacecraft immediately deployed its Yutu-2 rover, which uses Lunar Penetrating Radar (LPR) to investigate the underground it roams.

A study conducted by a research team led by Li Chunlai and Su Yan at the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) reveals what lurks below the lunar surface.

As a result of the tidal locking effect, the Moon’s revolution cycle is the same as its rotation cycle, and the same side always faces Earth.

The research team used the LPR on Yutu-2 to send radio signals deep into the surface of the Moon, reaching a depth of 40 meters by the high-frequency channel of 500 MHz – more than three times the depth previously reached by the Chang’e-3 lunar probe, which was sent to the near side of the Moon at the end of 2013.

The results of the radar data collected by the LPR during the first two lunar days (a lunar day equals 14 days on Earth) of operation provide the first electromagnetic image of the subsurface structure of the far side of the Moon and the first “ground truth” of the stratigraphic architecture of an ejecta deposit, said Li Chunlai, deputy director of the NAOC.

“The first layer is a fine 12-meter soil layer below the surface. The second layer between 12 and 24 meters under the ground has a lot of stones and the strongest radar echo. It even forms a stone layer and stacks of loose stones. There are three gravel stacks. The third layer is 24-40 meters under the surface. Radar echo shows its dark and bright parts, so there are granules and scattered stones,” said Su Yan, a researcher from the NAOC.

The scientists analyzed the radar image with tomographic technique, and the result shows that the subsurface is essentially made by highly porous granular materials embedding boulders of different sizes.

The content is likely the result of a turbulent early solar system, when meteors and other space debris frequently struck the Moon. The impact site would eject material to other areas, creating a cratered surface atop a subsurface with varying layers, said Li.

“We find the ejecta have many layers and each layer is different from each other. It may mean the place has lots of ejecta from impact sites, so history of meteorite impacts here is very complicated. It also shows the Moon was frequently struck by small celestial bodies, and debris will be ejected to bottom of the Von Karman Crater. The ejecta have recorded history of meteorite impact on the Moon,” said Li.

As the Yutu-2 rover has walked about 300 meters, Li said his team expects new discovery in the future.

“We hope it can walk out of the ejecta-covered area. If it can enter a basalt zone, maybe we can better understand distribution and structure of ejecta from meteorite impacts. The distance may be 1.8 kilometers. I think it may take another one year for the rover to walk out of the ejecta-covered area,” Li said.

The study was published Wednesday in the latest issue of Science Advances. (Reuters)

People return to Shanghai as China slowly eases coronavirus-induced restrictions

UNTV News   •   February 27, 2020

Thermal screenings, disinfectant spraying and arrival registrations were underway for people entering the city through Shanghai Railway Station on Thursday (February 27) to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

Almost 2.3 million people travelled back to the Chinese financial hub by rail after the lunar new year holiday according to Shanghai railway station.

Travellers arriving or leaving by rail in Shanghai had to undergo checks for high temperatures by train staff before being allowed to leave the station.

People can head back to work as reported new cases of coronavirus outside the worst-hit province fell to the lowest in a month.

Yang Hao, who comes from Anhui province, said he would quarantine himself for a fortnight before going back to work.

Mainland China reported 433 new cases of coronavirus infections on Feb. 26, the National Health Commission said on Thursday, up from 406 on the previous day.

The total number of confirmed cases on mainland China has now reached 78,497 and the outbreak has now killed a total of 2,744 people. (Reuters)

(Production: Xihao Jiang)

Babies, critically ill patients discharged from hospitals across China

UNTV News   •   February 26, 2020

Babies, previously critically-ill patients were on the list of people recovering from the novel coronavirus infection and discharged from hospital since Tuesday, sending hope and inspiration to China and other parts of the world as the globe continues to battle against the pulmonary disease officially known as COVID-19.

On Wednesday, doctors bade a happy farewell to 23 patients who were discharged from the first Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)-oriented temporary hospital in central China’s Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, after they recovered from the novel coronavirus disease.

The recovery of the patients, who all received TCM treatment while at the hospital, speaks for the value of TCM clinical treatment and research in the fight against the ongoing epidemic.

After leaving the hospital, the group of patients will go into a 14-day quarantine at designated facilities in the city for further observation as planned.

While on Tuesday, a total of 2,422 people across China walked out of hospital after recovery, according to the daily report by the National Health Commission.

Sixty-eight-year-old Yang was one of the seven patients leaving the hospital in Shanghai on Tuesday. The man had been critically ill after being diagnosed with COVID-19 on Jan. 23.

Normally patients can be discharged when the symptoms are alleviated, the body temperature remains at a normal range for at least three days, and the nucleic acid test shows a negative result twice.

However, doctors take extra care for patients in severe and critical conditions like Yang and usually maintain a longer observation period before discharging them.

“If we discharge critical patients so easily, we might put them in danger because they may still suffer from poor immunity, weak overall physical condition, and multiple organ functions have yet to recover. They may have a relapse of the disease, which may be caused not only by coronavirus infection, but also by other secondary bacterial infections. So we are extra cautious when it comes to evaluating the condition of critical patients,” said Hu Bijie, director of the infectious disease department of Zhongshan Hospital in Shanghai.

In central China’s Hunan Province, many were relieved to see a three-month-old baby discharged from a hospital in the province’s Yueyang City on Tuesday.

Little Chenchen had been the youngest COVID-19 patient in the province. He received great care from doctors and nurses at the First People’s Hospital of Yueyang since arriving there on Feb. 14.

“The baby is so young that his body and immune system are not fully developed. So we need to pay extra attention to observe him in our daily nursing service — the baby does not speak, he just cries when feeling uncomfortable. The nursing staff watch closely how well he eats, sleeps and breathes. We also communicate with the mother every time we go on ward round,” said Yang Lirong, a nurse at the hospital.

Beside the infant, another 27 patients left hospital in good health in Hunan the same day. So far 779 of the province’s 1,016 confirmed patients are out of hospital.

While in the southern island province of Hainan, eight cured coronavirus patients walked out of hospital on Tuesday, bringing the total number of discharged patients in the province to 124. (CCTV via Reuters Connect)

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