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The Daily Brief for Friday, 21 April 2017

Where Pyongyang shops: As the US ratchets up pressure on China to do more to help rein in North Korea, a UN report shows how Pyongyang uses technology smugglers and financial institutions to build missiles and nuclear weapons. Bill Gertz writes that China figures prominently in the UN report that also states that North Korea’s illicit procurement activities is underpinned by continued access to the international banking system.

US-Indonesia trade imbalance: During last week’s visit to Jakarta, US Vice President Pence made it clear to President Widodo that he had to “level the playing field” to ensure US exporters can fully participate in Indonesian markets. John McBeth reports that two-way trade is at its lowest in five years, with Indonesian exports outweighing US imports by US$19.2 billion to US$6 billion, and the US sees protectionism as a significant issue

Pakistan crisis averted: A Lahore court has revived a 17 year-old money laundering case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and will examine how his wealth was transferred to Qatar and then invested in properties in London’s Mayfair. F.M. Shakil reports that the court, by also ruling that currently there is insufficient evidence to order the PM’s removal from office, has for now averted a political crisis ahead of next year’s elections.

China steel closures: Premier Li Keqiang told 20,000 workers the government will ensure “redeployment not retrenchment” and “change of career not loss of career” when Jinan Steel Group is restructured this year. Asia Times’ China Digest this is part of a significant central government message, as capacity cuts in iron, steel and coal industries have affected more than 2 million workers since last year.

Film-Udine, Fruit Chan: Twenty years ago, at its inaugural “pre-edition”, Udine Far East Film Festival screened Hong Kong director Fruit Chan’s groundbreaking independent drama Made in Hong Kong. Richard James Havis writes that this year’s festival, that takes place in the northeastern Italian city from April 21 to 29, will see the Hong Kong classic return in a restored form – courtesy of the festival itself.

Posted inBeijingChinaShanghaiTianjin

China Digest for Friday, 21 April 2017

CIRC warns insurance industry to behave

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission warned the industry it would be strict in monitoring any illegal activity, strengthen supervision, and prevent internal and external collusion, Caixin reported on Thursday.

PBOC to consider market impact of shadow banking rules

Ma Jun, the central bank’s top researcher, said the People’s Bank of China will weigh up the market impact on whether to introduce new rules on shadow banking, Yicai reported on Thursday. New rules will be rolled out gradually, Ma added.

Beijing property deals to be settled via bank accounts not cash

Settlement of property transactions in Beijing from May 1 should be completed through bank accounts between the buyer and the seller not cash or third-party credit sources, Caixin reported on Thursday evening, citing an official notice. The move is to prevent money laundering, the Paper added.

Li Keqiang stresses redeployment not retrenchment for workers

Premier Li Keqiang told 20,000 workers the government will ensure “redeployment not retrenchment” and “change of career not loss of career” when Jinan Steel Group is restructured this year, China News online reported on Thursday evening. The news is a significant central government message as capacity cuts in iron, steel and coal industries have affected more than 2 million workers since last year.

NDRC to support adoption of IT in industrial, manufacturing sectors

The National Development Reform Commission is set to announce new policies on industrial and manufacturing sectors to achieve 10 key goals such as integration of technology, “green” production and raising brand profiles, the Economic Information Daily said on Friday morning.

Licensing fees in mineral resources mining to boost fair competition

The State Council will introduce licensing fees on mineral resources to create a fair competitive environment for the national mining market, The Paper reported on Thursday. Local government revenue is expected to increase by 3.37 billion yuan (US$490 million) annually, the report added.

Reform plan to raise international standards at Tianjin Free Trade Zone

Tianjin Free Trade Zone will implement a three-year reform program to raise international standards via system innovation, promotion of strategic integration with countries and highlighting its position in the development of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area, the Shanghai Securities Journal said on Friday, quoting Tianjin Deputy Mayor Yan Qingmin on the zone’s second anniversary.

Victims of fraud case will be protected, vows China Minsheng Bank

China Minsheng Bank promised to protect consumers following the start of talks with almost 150 clients to return money they lost after being sold fake wealth management products, the Shanghai Securities Journal reported on Thursday evening. Deputy Governor Zhang Ying of a Beijing branch is being investigated. These clients’ rights will be protected “to the highest level,” it added.