China Market Intelligence

May 16th, 2007

In recent weeks, US government and media have reported that wheat gluten imported from China and used to manufacture certain pet food products contained melamine, a chemical used in plastics and fertilizers. Melamine can be used to make feeds appear to contain higher protein content and is banned from food products in the United States. Melamine-contaminated pet foods have been the confirmed cause of at least 16 pet deaths in the United States, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)...

May 16th, 2007

The PRC Ministry of Railways (MOR) in mid-April implemented the Sixth National Acceleration of Train Services, raising maximum national passenger train speeds to 200-250 km per hour and maximum freight train speeds to 120 km per hour. These represent increases of 18 percent and 12 percent, respectively, from last year and are part of MOR's broader efforts to upgrade China's railways. China's 11th FYP calls for substantial spending on China's rail infrastructure and specifically allows MOR,...

May 9th, 2007

China appointed four new ministers during the last meeting of the NPC Standing Committee, which concluded in Beijing in late April. The four ministers who were replaced had passed the retirement age of 65 for PRC officials. More State Council personnel changes are likely to take place as the upcoming Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress approaches.

Foreign Affairs

China named Yang Jiechi as its new foreign minister, replacing Li Zhaoxing. A native of Shanghai, Yang...

May 9th, 2007

The National People's Congress (NPC) conducted its third reading of the draft Labor Contract Law on April 24 and decided to read the draft law for a fourth time, which may occur as early as the next NPC meeting in June. Observers expect the law to be passed after that reading. Most laws are passed following three readings at the NPC, but controversial or particularly complicated legislation often requires additional review.

The draft of the law that was discussed at the third reading...

May 9th, 2007

In just two weeks, top US and PRC economic officials will meet in Washington, DC, for the second round of the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED). US Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson, who chairs the US side of the dialogue, previewed the upcoming SED in a speech on May 2 at the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. Reiterating one of his regular themes, Paulson described the purpose of the SED as building a framework for the two countries to address...

May 9th, 2007

USTR released its annual Special 301 report on April 30, putting China on the priority watch list for the third year in a row and continuing Section 306 monitoring (see Box). For the first time, the report includes a review of intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement at the provincial level.

The report noted two improvements in China's IPR regime: The country has joined the World Intellectual Property Organization's Copyright Treaty and the Performances and Phonograms Treaty,...

May 9th, 2007

The PRC State Council in late April released long-awaited regulations on government information disclosure that may boost government transparency and accountability. As with all PRC laws and regulations, however, the effect of these regulations will depend on how individual agencies at the national and local level interpret and implement them.

Scope of disclosure

The Regulations on the Disclosure of Government Information, which take effect May 1, 2008, require all...

May 9th, 2007

USCBC Vice President for China Operations Bob Poole on April 24-27 led a delegation of USCBC member company representatives to the Second Central China Investment and Trade Expo in Zhengzhou, Henan. While in Zhengzhou, the USCBC delegation met with Vice Minister of Commerce Ma Xiuhong and, together with an American Chamber of Commerce-China delegation, PRC Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai. The USCBC delegation also met with the governors of the two most populous provinces in central China: Li...

April 25th, 2007

China's economy expanded at a faster-than-expected rate of 11.1 percent in the first three months of the year, largely driven by fixed-asset investment and exports. Most economic indicators delivered a stronger performance than in the first quarter of 2006 (see Table 1), leading most economists to expect cooling measures such as higher interest rates and reserve requirements, as well as administrative directives on bank lending. Because the economy shows no sign of transportation bottlenecks...

April 25th, 2007

In an attempt to curb energy inefficient, environmentally unfriendly, and low-value-added processing trade, the PRC Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) recently issued a notice that calls on local commerce authorities to more tightly regulate and monitor enterprises engaged in processing trade. If fully implemented, the notice, which follows the recent ban of 184 additional products from processing trade, may help China slow the growth of its trade surplus and shift toward a more balanced...

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