Nieuwsbrief no9.

ECFA Newsletter Nieuwsbrief nummer 9 23-01-2020

Dear friends,


Kong Hey Fa Choi! Happy New Year! Year of the Rat this year, for the first time we organize a new year’s meeting in Brussels, Belgium on February the 5th at 17.30 hour. You will also meet many new friends: representatives from 21 EU countries have signed up for the event; Those who are interested can sign up on our website. Each one of you should bring his/her passport and take it with you. The admission fee is €100 and of course, a dinner is included within the price: food from the French kitchen. Those who want to join the party can stay in Brussels for a fee of €150, you will stay in a five-star hotel in HAINAN. Please send me a copy of your passport by mail if you want to join us in Brussels on February the 5th.

On the 27th of January, we will start the Chinese year with a party in the New Century hotel in the Netherlands at 17h00. After dinner, we will be heading to the Theatre Amstelveen at around 19.15, for an exciting Chinese Show. Members who paid the full membership may participate for FREE. They will be able to take part in the trip to CHINA at the end of February at a price from £ 1895 based on two persons ticket for the four-star spa hotel, breakfast every day and a lot of excursions! Our website allows you to sign up. At the moment we have two new members in our board: Hedda Sasburg, has been in love with China for years and Qi HU, a journalist. You will meet them both during our events. I hope that you all will meet up on the 27th of January.

Best regards,
Roy Ho Ten Soeng Chairman ECFA


China And EU May Hold Summit In Beijing At End Of March


China and the EU are expected to hold their annual summit at the end of March, two weeks before Beijing hosts a high-profile meeting with the leaders of Central and Eastern European countries, according to two sources. The proposed date for the EU-China Summit was March 30-31, when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang would meet the European Commission’s new leadership in Beijing, the two European sources with knowledge of the matter said.

President Xi Jinping would then host this year’s Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries meeting – known as the “17+1” for the 17 European nations that take part – in Beijing, they said. The proposed date for that summit was April 15.

Li has hosted the 17+1 summit for the past six years. Xi is expected to replace him as host of the summit, deliver a keynote speech and meet the visiting dignitaries. Observers have said the change of host was evidence of Beijing’s efforts to upgrade its engagement with Europe amid intensifying rivalry with the United States. But one of the sources said there had been “frustration” among European Union officials that China had placed priority on the 17+1 meeting over the EU-China Summit, which was not expected to be hosted by Xi. The source said that EU officials, concerned about the summit between Beijing and Brussels being overshadowed, had proposed that it be held ahead of the 17+1 meeting.

This year is expected to see a flurry of visits between China and the EU as the two sides try to reach a landmark bilateral investment treaty, known as the Comprehensive Agreement of Investment, by the end of the year – and ideally by September, when Xi will attend a summit with leaders of the 27-member bloc in Leipzig, Germany. Talks are under way on revised market access offers that were exchanged by the two sides last month – a key part of the treaty. Both sides were looking to strike an ambitious deal with an emphasis on a level playing field and reciprocity in investment, according to EU officials. China is turning its attention to the EU after it secured an interim trade deal with the US that is due to be signed in Washington on Wednesday.

EU officials have complained that China was too focused on the trade war with the US. The EU is also closely following the progress and details of the US-China deal, especially the potential impact on European companies from market access arrangements.

Observers have said that the so-called phase one deal failed to address systemic issues such as Beijing’s subsidies to and reform of state-owned enterprises. They will be among the thorny issues to be discussed in the next round of US-China trade talks, and are also concerns in negotiations forBeijing’s investment treaty with Brussels.


A Fruitful 2019 To A Promising 2020

The author is Chinese ambassador to the UK


The year 2019 was an extraordinary one for both China and the United Kingdom. Beijing celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and continued to make progress in the new era along the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. And the UK achieved important breakthroughs in Brexit and worked to build a “global Britain”. The year also marked the 65th anniversary of China-UK diplomatic relations at the chargé d’affaires level. Our relationship grew steadily, which can be summarized in four C’s.

The first C stands for communication between China and the UK at a higher level.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent messages congratulating China on the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China. Premier Li Keqiang sent a congratulatory message to Johnson after the general election returned him to 10 Downing Street. In April 2019, Philip Hammond, then UK chancellor of the exchequer, attended the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation as the special representative of the British prime minister. And Mark Sedwill, Cabinet secretary and national security adviser led a delegation of permanent under-secretaries from more than 10 departments of the UK government to visit China.

Hu Chun Hua, Chinese vice-premier, visited the UK and hosted the 10th China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue, where 69 outcomes were reached. And Chen Zhu, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, and Gao Yunlong, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, visited the UK separately.

The second C stands for cooperation, which saw sustained expansion in the past year.
In the first 10 months of 2019, China-UK trade in goods reached $71.14 billion, increasing by about 8 percent year-on-year. Britain resumed beef exports to China. Thirty British companies attended the second China International Import Expo. The 15th World Chinese Entrepreneurs Conference, which was held in London for the first time, served as a new platform for cooperation. And the Shanghai-London Stock Connect was launched in June, the first-ever link between the Chinese capital market and a foreign market.
London saw the opening of new branches by Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, Agricultural Bank of China and China CITIC Bank. The British capital is also the world’s second-largest offshore clearing center and the largest offshore trading center for the Chinese currency, with China Construction Bank, the yuan clearing bank in London, achieving a total clearing volume of more than 40 trillion yuan ($7.4 trillion). Also, China and the UK signed an agreement on cooperation in third markets, which opened a new channel for China-UK cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative.

The third C stands for closer cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and the UK.
There has been steady progress in the implementation of the China-UK Joint Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation. Close to 200,000 Chinese students are studying in Britain. Across the UK, 30 Confucius Institutes and 161 Confucius classrooms have enrolled more than 190,000 students, and more than 1.7 million people have attended the various cultural events at the Confucius Institutes, and over 600 British schools are offering Chinese language courses.

A British government program known as “Generation UK” has enabled more than 10,000 British students to visit China for studies. Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and China National Peking Opera Company gave successful performances in the UK. And China-related events such as Festival of Spring, Happy Spring Festival and “China Lates” at the Science Museum were extremely popular.


Exchanges and cooperation at the subnational level have also seen much expansion, evidenced by the increasing number of trade, cultural and tourism road shows in Britain by Chinese provinces and cities including Guizhou, Liaoning and Hunan provinces, and the city of Shenzhen. Every week, 168 flights operate between the two countries, facilitating exchanges of close to 2 million person-times a year. And China has become an important source of overseas tourists visiting the UK.

The fourth C stands for coordination on global issues.
China and the UK have stepped up coordination and communication under the framework of international organizations such as the United Nations, the G20 and the World Trade Organization. We have reached a consensus on opposing protectionism and unilateralism, and on supporting free trade and multilateralism, and joined hands to address global challenges such as climate change and bio-diversity depletion.

The year 2020 has special significance for China, for the UK and for China-UK relations. In 2020, China will complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects, which is our first centenary goal. It will then focus on realizing the second centenary goal of building a strong, modern socialist country in all aspects. The UK will have left the European Union and embarked on a new journey of building a “global Britain”.

The year 2020 also marks the fifth anniversary of the China-UK “Golden Era”. The China-UK relationship is standing at a new starting point and faces new opportunities for development. In 2020, I have three hopes for China-UK relations.

First, I hope China-UK relations will advance with steadier steps.

China and the UK should enhance strategic communication, deepen political mutual trust, see each other as partners rather than rivals, and view each other’s development as opportunities rather than threats. I hope our two countries will respect and accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns, refrain from interfering in each other’s internal affairs and handle differences appropriately, so as to keep our relationship on the right track.

Second, I hope China-UK relations will deliver more tangible outcomes.

Both deeper reform and further opening-up in China, and Brexit in the UK will create huge opportunities, which our two countries should seize with both hands. We should foster a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for the companies of our two countries, which will in turn encourage deeper business cooperation across the board. In particular, we could expand cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative, in order to make the pie of our common interests bigger and deliver more tangible benefits to the peoples of our two countries.

And third, I hope China-UK relations will take one step further.

Our two countries should follow the trend of our times by holding high the banners of multilateralism and free trade, and by championing cultural diversity and encouraging exchanges and mutual learning between different civilizations. As key global players, China and the UK should take up historical responsibilities, work together to build a community with a shared future for mankind, and make new contributions to world peace and development. Scottish author and government reformer Samuel Smiles said: “Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.

“The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. Steady and sound development of the China-UK relationship will serve the common interests of both countries and will be conducive to world prosperity and progress.’’


Can China And The EU Put Aside Their Differences And Find Common Ground?


There was no shortage of geopolitical events in 2019. While sprawling US-China tensions occupied most of the year’s headlines, the EU also adjusted its strategic stance on China, in a move which is expected to shape the narrative of relationships across the Asian and European continents in 2020.

For the first time, on March 12, the EU labelled Beijing as “an economic competitor in pursuit of technological leadership and a systemic rival promoting alternative models of governance” in a document which mapped out a 10-point action plan to establish a more balanced relationship with China.

The harsh tone was a surprise to Beijing, which took a while to figure out a precise translation of “systemic rival” which properly reflected the shift in relations, according to a Chinese government adviser. Since then, China has strengthened its engagement with the EU, offering olive branches to Brussels and messages that cooperation outweighed conflict, delivered personally by Chinese President Ji Xinping on visits to Italy, Monaco and France in March, and reinforced at the annual China- EU summit in April.

In November, Beijing and Brussels signed a landmark deal to step up intellectual property protection for 100 branded products from both sides and China also appointed its first special envoy for European affairs – veteran diplomat Wu Hongbo – despite already having an ambassador to the European Union.

Observers have predicted that 2020 will be the Year of Europe for China, with an intensive agenda of visits between Brussels and Beijing planned and a playing up of the prospects for bilateral cooperation in the months ahead. However, diplomatic sources have warned that EU wariness and a lack of trust may cast a cloud over any substantial progress.

Investment treaty talks

The two sides are aiming to conclude an ambitious investment deal by September, when Xi is expected to attend a summit in Leipzig, Germany, with the leaders of the EU member states. Key to an agreement will be whether China can sufficiently reduce market barriers for EU firms.

The last round of talks, in Brussels in December, saw an exchange of revised offers of market access. China’s commerce ministry said the talks “achieved positive progress” while the EU was more cautious in its assessment.

In a statement sent via its embassy in Beijing, a spokesman for the EU described the timeline for negotiations as “ambitious” and said China needed to start showing the necessary level of ambition “now”.

The statement – which listed the EU’s key interests as financial services, information, communication technologies, telecommunications, manufacturing, health, biotechnology and maritime transport – called on China to deliver discipline for its state-owned enterprises and increased transparency for their subsidiaries to offer fairness and reciprocity to European firms.

“For the EU, substance will, of course, always prevail over speed,” it said.

US-China trade war

For most of 2019, China’s engagement with the EU was overshadowed by the trade war with the US. European diplomatic sources said Beijing had sidestepped the EU for most of the year because of its trade talks with Washington, only really turning


its attention back towards Brussels in November. But they said the EU would not sit idly by while European companies were squeezed out of the market if the so-called phase one of the US-China deal – expected to be signed on January 15, according to US President Donald Trump – included favourable treatment for Washington in violation of World Trade Organisation rules.

Another adviser to the Chinese government said Beijing was treading carefully as it tried to make sure the text of the deal with Washington was in line with global trading rules to avoid damaging ties with its other key trading partners, including the EU.

Phil Hogan, the European commissioner for trade, said at a press interview in December that the US-China trade talks would not affect the investment dialogue between Beijing and Brussels. The EU had independent policies and would not choose a side, he said.

“We are not going to be treated as second-class citizens,” Hogan said. “The European Union is the most open internal trading bloc in the world, and we want everybody else to be the same.

“It’s up to the Chinese government to put forward their best market access proposals and to engage in a spirit of reciprocity with the European Union,” he said.

Building trust

Renewed pressure from the EU on China’s human rights record in 2019 intensified with the newly installed executive wasting no time in raising Beijing’s policies in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, In his first meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Madrid in December, the EU’s new foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he had brought up Beijing’s response to the ongoing anti- government protests in Hong Kong, as well as the internment camps in Xinjiang where an estimated 1 million Uygurs are detained. China has been firm that it sees any overseas commentary on both these issues as an interference in its domestic affairs.

Nevertheless, European diplomats in Beijing have pointed to several areas in which the two sides could expand their cooperation, despite the rift on human rights issues. These include immigration and economic recovery in the Middle East, economic development in Africa, as well as the fight against climate change and the world’s shrinking biodiversity.

Wang Yiwei, head of EU studies with Renmin University in Beijing, said the EU’s new leadership was “torn between its hopes and worries” about China but there were areas in which Brussels and Beijing could explore pragmatic cooperation.

“Both have been hurt by the US-China trade war. European and US companies are strong competitors in the Chinese market. European firms are looking to benefit from an ambitious investment treaty with China,” he said.

“Meanwhile the European Parliament, with its increasing influence amid rising populism, is pointing fingers at China on many issues, such as complaints about the coal-fuelled projects in the Belt and Road Initiative.”

In April, for the first time, Xi will host the annual gathering of the Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries, better known as the “17+1” – which Greece joined last year – when it meets in Beijing. Previously, the role was left to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Diplomatic sources said Xi’s involvement was a sign of the greater significance to Beijing of its links with Europe. At last year’s summit in Dubrovnic, Li said the platform – which comprises 12 EU member states and five Balkan nations, plus China – was an important supplement to Beijing’s relationship with the EU, while pledging to respect the EU’s rules and standards. The EU has been critical of the 17+1 group, saying it threatens to undermine European unity and accusing Beijing of using the belt and road plan to gain influence by building infrastructure projects in poorer EU states like Greece and Hungary.


Risking friendships

China’s increasingly assertive response to overseas criticism on human rights and freedom of speech led to the cancellation of a trade visit to Stockholm in December, along with threats of “bad consequences” for Sweden from Chinese ambassador Gui Congyou, when a free speech literary prize was awarded to bookseller Gui Minhai, currently detained in China.

A diplomatic source said Beijing was also making operations difficult for Swedish companies in China, with tactics which have included a prolonged regulatory review and the blocking of communications between a Swedish-owned business in China and its headquarters by cutting VPN access.

It was “not a wise move” and by playing tough on European countries China was “risking losing friends”, the person said.

China also took exception to the European Parliament’s award of its 2019 Sakharov Human Rights Prize to Uygur economist and activist Ilham Tohti, who is serving a life sentence on charges of separatism.

The Chinese government adviser said the deep rift between China and the EU on human rights issues had existed for years, recalling the protests China encountered in 2008 in London and Paris that forced the Summer Olympics torch relay to be cut short.

“It’s unlikely that Beijing and Brussels can solve their human rights differences. Neither of us can change each other. But we should have a broad picture – shelve disputes and eye cooperation,” the adviser said.

“Do not be overly optimistic, nor too pessimistic on China-EU relations.”


Chinese Vice Premier Stresses Efforts To Eliminate Poverty As Scheduled


Villagers harvest lilies in Bijie, Southwest China’s Guizhou Province, on Wednesday. They are poverty-stricken households and can earn 100 yuan ($14.2) a day working at the Chinese herbal plantation base. The plantation has helped 61,698 villagers emerge from poverty in recent years, media reports said.

Vice Premier Hu Chunhua has called for greater efforts to ensure that all poverty-stricken rural residents and counties will be lifted out of poverty under the current standards.

Hu, also chief of the State Council leading group of poverty alleviation and development, made the remarks Saturday while addressing a symposium held in Nujiang, southwest China’s Yunnan Province.

While declaring the start of the work to secure a decisive victory in the battle against poverty, Hu stressed the importance of adopting targeted and effective measures in the poverty eradication to overcome difficulties so as to make sure the poverty relief goals are met on time, and poverty is eradicated at village and county levels.

He also emphasized the need to carry out and strengthen support for poverty-stricken areas with a long-term perspective, saying that efforts should also be made to support industrial development and stabilize employment in poverty-stricken areas.


China’s Equities Market Is Likely To Be The Next ‘Big Bang’


The fortunes with China’s ascendant equities market are difficult to fathom, but colossal returns are broadly anticipated by upbeat economists and enthusiastic individual and institutional investors.

Many predict China’s stock market benchmark index will rally 20-30 percent in 2020, supported by the country’s dynamic economy. If the tariffs war with the US is substantively decelerated this year, China is expected to return back to achieving an annual 6-6.5 percent growth.

Four factors set a strong base for the country’s capital market to stage a bullish run in the next 10 years: China’s technology ventures are springing up and gaining rising traction among global peers, the country’s middle class’ consumption power is going to be the largest in the world, the country has a strong and uninterrupted leadership that ensures policy continuity, and China has undertaken a series of capital market structural reforms since the second half of 2019 that drastically ease foreign investment into its fin Since the S&P 500 Index has soared over 400 percent over the past 30 years, half of that growth for the Shanghai Composite Stock Index in the upcoming 30 years will generate a mountain of gold for investors.

The returns of China’s equities market in the coming decade will be comparable to the spectacular 10-year rally of the US stock market which stood up from the ruins of the

2008-09 economic meltdown.
When China’s massive technology upstarts obtain an access to direct financing by issuing stocks or bonds, they are inspired to research and develop the world’s best innovations and generate the largest possible revenue and profit, as elevating equity prices are the best rewards for the entrepreneurs, and the investors as well.
And, after the Chinese middle class families see their household balance sheets double or even triple as the equities they bought roar and soar in prices, they are going to consume more with their growing prosperity, which in return will fire up China’s economic growth.

Pessimism about a hard landing of the world’s second largest economy is dissipating after China has weathered a ferocious and protracted trade war with the US and has come out of it largely unscathed. The economy is forecasted to grow 6.2 percent in 2019, and the decision-makers in Beijing have a full policy toolbox at their disposal in the beginning of 2020 to make sure the $14 trillion economy runs on a safe and relatively fast track in 2020 and beyond.


Economic resilience gives the investors more confidence. In 2019, China’s Shanghai stock index rose 22.3 percent. And, China’s capital market has witnessed a remarkable rally in the past 20 days after China and the US agreed in December to a phase one trade agreement which will unleash a thawing of their icy trade ties.

Now, it seems that China’s market investors have largely shrugged off the negative impact and economic side effects caused by the trade war, and more investors are swarming in to the market to chase China’s technology and consumer stocks, which have been encouraged by a spate of bold capital market reform measures taken by Beijing in the second half of 2019.

The State Council stated that it is necessary to expand the high-level two-way opening-up of China’s financial industry, and moved to encourage overseas financial institutions and funds to enter the domestic capital market.

To enhance vitality and competitiveness of China’s financial sector, China’s central authorities meted out an array of financial opening-up measures, including stock connect schemes and scrapping quota for qualified foreign investors.

Many foreign investors attracted by China’s strong growth potential are snapping up yuan-denominated assets. They had purchased a record sum of 1.77 trillion yuan ($254 billion) in Chinese equities as of the end of September, according to data from China’s central bank.

China also revised the securities law by instituting a registration-based IPO system, which is aimed to cut red tape and corporate costs of getting listed. Previously, any issuance of an IPO needs to be approved by China Securities Regulatory Commission under the State Council.

Effective on March 1, the new law rules that companies seeking an IPO on Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges will be vetted by the bourses rather than the regulator. The new legislation, which eases listing requirements, also includes much tougher penalties to deter stock market fraud, including deceitful listing and insider trading. And, inclusion of China’s A shares into global stock benchmarks by index publishers such as MSCI and FTSE Russell makes Chinese equities increasingly attractive to global investors.

China’s capital market will be the next “big bang” in the global economic landscape, and it will offer a lifetime of opportunity.


Year Of The Rat


The Rat () is the first of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Rat is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol . Symbolizing Strong Vitality. One reason is that the Rat has a strong reproductive capacity with a high survival rate, and about 5,000 babies are born to one female rat each year. The other reason is the Rat’s fertility.

Chinese zodiac Rat’s personality is outgoing, cheerful, and sociable in character. They can get along well with different people, so there are a lot of friends around them. Chinese zodiac Rat’s personality is outgoing, cheerful, and sociable in character. They can get along well with different people, so there are a lot of friends around them. No matter what jobs they are occupied, they can harvest success on account of their quick response to outside changes.

Personality traits for the people born in the year of the Rat are intelligent, charming, quick-witted, practical, ambitious, and good at economizing as well as social activities. The weaknesses are that the Rats are likely to be timid, stubborn, wordy, greedy, devious, too eager for power and love to gossip.

In general, Rats’ best matches come from Ox, Dragon and Monkey according to Chinese zodiac compatibility rules. They can live an everlasting and happy marriage life together. Attracted by Rat’s passion and romance, Ox is always faithful to their marriage.

2020 is a year of new beginnings for the Chinese dog zodiac sign. The year of the rat forecasts suggest that your flexible and open mind will make your life much

easier. Good luck and prosperity will follow you in your job. Keep a lookout for opportunities and make the most out of it.

For the year 2020, the main zodiac element is metal, and the animal sign is Rat, and hence, 2020 will be the Year of the Metal Rat. The Chinese year will last from January 25, 2020 to February 11, 2021.