Archive for the ‘commerce’ Category

Obama’s Biggest Challenge of All: China

November 29, 2008

The single most important challenge for the new administration—one with the potential to shape the 21st century—is China. As goes China, so go 1.3 billion men, women and children—one out of every five people on the planet.

China’s economy is now roughly half the size of America’s; in three decades, the two are likely to be about equal. What the Chinese eat, how much (or whether) they drive, where and how they choose to live, work and play: all will have an enormous impact on the availability and price of energy, the temperature of the planet and the prosperity of mankind.

By Richard Haass

Beijing’s foreign policy is no less important. A cooperative China could help stem the spread of nuclear materials and weapons, maintain an open global trading and financial system, secure energy supplies, frustrate terrorists, prevent pandemics and slow climate change. A hostile or simply noncooperative China, on the other hand, would make it that much more difficult for the United States and its allies to tame the most dangerous facets of globalization. But the emergence of a cooperative China is anything but inevitable. That is why Washington needs a new approach to Beijing. Think of it as “integration.”

In this March 31, 2008 file photo, a worker on a boat clears ... 
A  worker on a boat clears garbage from the Yellow River in Lanzhou in northwest China’s Gansu province. Newly released survey results show water quality along one third of China’s famed Yellow River has fallen below the lowest levels measured due to massive pollution. China’s second-longest river has seen its water quality deteriorate rapidly in the last few years, as discharge from factories increases and water levels drop due to diversion for booming cities.(AP Photo/File)

Integration should be for this era what containment was for the previous one. Our goal should be to make China a pillar of a globalized world, too deeply invested to disrupt its smooth functioning. The aim is ambitious, even optimistic, but not unrealistic. The United States and China need each other. Neither wants to go to war over Taiwan, to see another conflict on the Korean Peninsula or to see world oil prices quadruple as a result of a military strike on Iran. Even more than that, China needs access to the U.S. market for its exports in order to maintain economic growth and domestic political stability. Americans, in addition to benefiting from low-cost Chinese imports, need Beijing to manage its large dollar reserves responsibly.

Americans must accept China’s rise. There’s no guarantee we could prevent it anyway, and the attempt would only worsen the rivalry. We should not exaggerate China’s strength or the threat it poses. China’s military, for all its improvements, is still a generation behind America’s. And we should resist any calls to block China’s access to the U.S. market. Trade and investment aren’t just beneficial on their own terms; they also contribute to the web of ties that would bind China into an orderly world order.

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Chinese People's Liberation Army troops stand in their formation ... 
Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops stand in their formation at a parade ground during the annual rotation of military personnel in Hong Kong November 25, 2008.REUTERS/Alex Hoffard/Pool (CHINA)

Capitalism, fiscal woes; contempt for economic liberty

November 9, 2008

There has always been contempt for economic liberty. Historically, our nation was an important, not complete, exception. It took the calamity of the Great Depression to bring about today’s level of restrictions on economic liberty. Now we have another government-created calamity that has the prospect of moving us even further away from economic liberty with the news media and pundits creating the perception that the current crisis can be blamed on capitalism.

We see comments such as those in the New York Times: “The United States  has a culture that celebrates laissez-faire capitalism as the economic ideal.” Or, “For 30 years, the nation’s political system has been tilted in favor of business deregulation and against new rules.” Another says, “Since 1997, Mr. Brown [the British prime minister] has been a powerful voice behind the Labor Party’s embrace of an American-style economic philosophy that was light on regulation.”

By Walter E. Williams
The Washington Times

First, let’s establish what laissez-faire capitalism is. Broadly defined, it is an economic system based on private ownership and control over of the means of production. Under laissez-faire capitalism, government activity is restricted to the protection of the individual’s rights against fraud, theft and the initiation of physical force.

Professor George Reisman has written a very insightful article on his blog titled “The Myth that Laissez Faire Is Responsible for Our Financial Crisis.” ( nsible.html) You can decide whether we have an unregulated laissez-faire economy. There are 15 Cabinet departments, nine of which control various aspects of the U.S. economy. They are the Departments of: Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Education, Energy, Labor, Agriculture, Commerce and Interior. In addition, there is the alphabet soup cluster of federal agencies such as: the IRS, the FRB and FDIC, the EPA, FDA, SEC, CFTC, NLRB, FTC, FCC, FERC, FEMA, FAA, CAA, INS, OHSA, CPSC, NHTSA, EEOC, BATF, DEA, NIH and NASA.

Here’s my question to you: Can one be sane and at the same time hold that ours is an unregulated laissez-faire economy? Better yet, tell me what a businessman, or for that matter you, can do that does not involve some kind of government regulation.

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Once hostile Taiwan, China set to sign more deals

October 31, 2008

Negotiators for China and Taiwan will meet next week, as Beijing sends its highest-level official in decades to the self-ruled island that it claims as its own to sign a list of deals over a din of protests.

The November 3-7 talks mark another thaw in relations between the two sides since Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou took office in May on pledges to improve the island’s economy by getting a piece of China’s booming markets.

By Ralph Jennings, Reuters

Negotiators for China and Taiwan will meet next week, as Beijing sends its highest-level official in decades to the self-ruled island that it claims as its own to sign a list of deals over a din of protests.

The November 3-7 talks mark another thaw in relations between the two sides since Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou took office in May on pledges to improve the island’s economy by getting a piece of China’s booming markets.

A plane flies past the entrance of the Grand Hotel, which is ...
plane flies past the entrance of the Grand Hotel, which is the location of the upcoming talks between the mainland and Taiwan, in Taipei October 31, 2008.(Nicky Loh/Reuters)

China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s Communists won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek‘s KMT fled to the island. Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary.

“Symbolically, the meeting is important because it conveys a message from the Chinese government and leadership that they are supporting this process to enhance interaction,” said Andrew Yang, secretary-general of the Taiwan think tank, China Council of Advanced Policy Studies.

“It’s also conducive to (President) Ma’s commitment to keeping peace,” he said.

Chen Yunlin, Beijing’s top negotiator on Taiwan affairs, will lead a 60-person team to the island on Monday.

During the week, he and Taiwan counterpart P.K. Chiang will negotiate shortening routes for direct flights, which started in July following landmark two-way talks in Beijing after a decades-long ban due to security concerns.

They also aim to add six new Chinese airports to the destination list and allow daily direct flights, up from four days a week now.

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China’s premier invites Taiwan for ‘big-issue’ talks

April 1, 2008

BEIJING 2008 (AFP) – Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has invited Taiwan to hold “big-issue” talks on establishing direct transport links and signing a peace agreement, state media reported Monday.

Wen, who was speaking to reporters during a visit to Laos, extended the invitation in his first public remarks on Taiwan after the more China-friendly of two presidential candidates won an election on the island this month.

“(What we can talk about) include big issues, such as the implementation of the Three Links and the end of cross-strait hostility by reaching a peace agreement,” Wen was quoted as saying by China National Radio‘s website.

The “Three Links” refer to direct transport, trade and postal links, something that has not yet materialised because of continuing tensions between the two sides who split after a civil war in 1949.

China considers Taiwan part of its territory, and has vowed to aim for eventual reunification, even if it means war.

The Chinese premier said talks should take place on the basis of the so-called “1992 consensus” which lets both parties agree there is only one China, but leaves the precise definition of the term to each.

Observers said Wen’s remarks were significant due to their timing, after the landslide victory in Taiwan’s presidential election for opposition candidate Ma Ying-jeou.

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Inflation figures pressure China to act: Commerce

March 12, 2008

BEIJING (Reuters) – China‘s high January and February readings for inflation have increased the pressure on the government to take action to counter price rises, Commerce Minister Chen Deming said on Wednesday.

A Communist Party delegate (L) poses for a photograph in front ...
A Communist Party delegate (L) poses for a photograph in front of the Great Hall of the People with a member of an ethnic minority group wearing traditional dress as they arrive for the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square March 10, 2008. China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, continues to sit in the Great Hall of the People, and is due to finish on March 18.

Annual consumer inflation jumped to 8.7 percent in February after hitting 7.1 percent in January, the worst in more than 11 years.

Chen told reporters that consumer inflation would stabilize at a high level over the next few months and then ease in the second half, as the impact of recent snowstorms subsided and because of a higher base of comparison from the second half of 2007.

The government still hoped it could hit its target of keeping consumer inflation to within last year’s pace of 4.8 percent, said Chen, who was speaking at a news conference held on the sidelines of the session of parliament.

Chen said an important….

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US questions China’s commitment to economic reforms

January 31, 2008
By P. Parameswaran

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States accused China Wednesday of discriminating against foreign investors and taking short cuts to address serious concerns over safety of its products, amid new concerns over Beijing‘s trade and economic policies.

“China has been more open than many developing countries, but there are increasing signs of policies that seek to direct markets rather than opening them,” said US under secretary of commerce for international trade Christopher Padilla.

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China may need a fresh approach to regulating its often unruly economy

July 8, 2007

By Joseph Kahn
International Herald Tribune
July 8, 2007

BEIJING: Phony fertilizer destroys crops. Store shelves are filled with deodorized rotten eggs, and chemical glucose is passed off as honey. Exports slump when European regulators find dangerous bacteria in packaged meat.

More product safety scandals in China? Not this time. These quality problems prompted a sluggish U.S. government to tighten food and drug regulation 101 years ago, when President Theodore Roosevelt signed the act that created the Food and Drug Administration.

Like America’s industrializing economy of a century ago, China’s is powered by zealous entrepreneurs who sometimes act like pirates. In both cases there were epidemics of fatal fakes, and regulators too inept, corrupt or hamstrung to do much about it.

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