U.S., China appear to get little done in removing economic barriers

admin   •   June 25, 2015   •   1983

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) toasts with Chinese Vice Premiers Liu Yandong at a joint banquet at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) at the State Department in Washington June 23, 2015. REUTERS/YURI GRIPAS

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) toasts with Chinese Vice Premiers Liu Yandong at a joint banquet at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) at the State Department in Washington June 23, 2015. REUTERS/YURI GRIPAS

The United States and China urged each other on Wednesday to remove barriers to foreign investment, saying that business ties were vital to overall relations, although they appeared to achieve little beyond rhetoric at a high profile three-day meeting that was overshadowed by security rivalries.

Speaking to leading U.S. and Chinese CEOs on the final day of talks in Washington, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang said that while investment cooperation had made significant progress, “there are still problems and obstacles and this requires new ways of thinking, cooperation and policy environment.”

While the world’s two largest economies have $590 billion in two-way trade, efforts to secure a bilateral investment treaty have been stalled for seven years.

China upset U.S. firms when it imposed new financial cybersecurity rules that would effectively replace foreign tech products in bank systems after former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed that U.S. spy agencies had planted code in technology exports.

The move has been characterized by Washington as protectionism and was suspended in April after pushback from banks.

Beijing restricts foreign investment in vast swaths of its economy, and Washington hopes that an eventual investment treaty could open up China’s financial and telecom sectors.

The United States on its part reviews more investments from China over security concerns than it does of any other country, which has helped scuttle Chinese investments in everything from U.S. telecommunications infrastructure to wind farms.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told the CEO forum it was critical to have markets that foster fair competition.

“And it is also of vital importance that there are non-discriminatory technology policies and open trade in information and communications technology goods,” he said.

Tensions over cyber attacks on U.S. government computers that U.S. officials have blamed on Chinese hackers and China’s pursuit of territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea, have threatened to hamper efforts to deepen economic ties, although U.S. officials have sought to stress that talks aimed at deepening economic relations have continued.

Wang Yang later went with other senior Chinese officials to meet President Barack Obama at the White House.

Zhang Xiangchen, a Chinese deputy trade minister, said on Tuesday Washington should remove barriers imposed for national security reasons, although he acknowledged that China had further to go than America in improving its investment climate.

At the same time as Beijing and Washington struggled over implementing closer economic ties, Europe was weighing whether to open further to China under World Trade Organization rules.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Jason Lange; Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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Duterte, Xi call for ‘win-win’ cooperation on 46th anniversary of PH-China ties

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping both call for a “win-win” cooperation in commemoration of the 46th anniversary of Philippine-China relations.

The Philippine President expressed his gratitude for  China’s assistance to the Philippines in the face of challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Philippine-China economic ties are of course the dynamic force that will continue to drive or bilateral relations forward,” Duterte told Xi in a statement.

“I am confident that my Administration’s Build Build Build program together with the Belt and Road Initiative, will reap long-term benefits for our peoples,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a letter addressed to Duterte, the Chinese president acknowledged that in recent years, with concerted efforts of both sides, Philippine- China relations have remained “healthy and stable.”

“I attach great significance to the development of China-Philippines relations, and stand ready to work with you in guiding our bilateral relations to move forward in a sustained and steady manner, so as to achieve greater win-win results and mutual benefits,” Xi said. AAC

 

US downgrades travel advisory for Philippines

Marje Pelayo   •   June 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The United States has downgraded its travel advisory status for the Philippines from ‘Do Not Travel’ to ‘Reconsider Travel’.

The US State Department relaxed travel advisory to most countries as well after more than a month of barring its citizens from traveling to concerned countries due to surge in COVID-19 cases.

On Wednesday (June 9), the State Department removed 61 countries from the ‘Do Not Travel’ or Level 4 Alert status and placed them under the ‘Reconsider Travel’ or Level 3 Alert Status following recommendations from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

AFP chief Sobejana visits Pag-asa Island

Robie de Guzman   •   June 9, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Cirilito Sobejana visited Pag-asa Island amid the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China over the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement, the AFP said Sobejana visited the island on Monday along with key officers from the General Headquarters and the Western Command.

The visit was in connection to the conversion of the island into a logistics hub that seeks to sustain the Philippine government forces deployed in the area.

The trip also aims to uplift the morale and welfare of troops securing Pag-asa Island and other communities within the Kalayaan Island Group.

“The AFP will strike a balance between mission accomplishments and looking after the morale and welfare of our men and women,” Sobejana said, addressing the military force manning the Naval Station Emilio Liwanag on Pag-asa Island.

The AFP chief also stressed the importance of the troop’s role in protecting the citizens of Kalayaan Group of Islands and their livelihood as well as guarding the country’s territories in the West Philippine Sea.

The AFP said it recently deployed additional air and naval assets under the operational control of Western Command (WESCOM) in Palawan to support the National Task Force-WPS together with the Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in performing sovereignty patrols in the area.

Prior to visiting Pag-asa Island, the Chief of Staff met with the troops of the 3rd Marine Brigade to extend the AFP’s commendation for keeping the Province of Palawan peaceful, stable and progressive.

He also lauded the unit’s contributions in security operations, civil military operations, stakeholder’s engagement and on COVID-19 mitigation which are vital in the over-all mission accomplishment of WESCOM and the AFP as a whole.

The AFP Chief also visited BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS35), one of the many ships currently deployed at WESCOM while docked at Puerto Princesa City Pier, to commend the their efforts in protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country particularly in the West Philippine Sea.

He likewise lauded the officers and personnel for their role in the successful rescue of 31 fishermen of MB Pauline 2 at Nares Bank, WPS on May 24.

 

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