National News

Forex reserves lowers by USD 1.45 bn, below USD430bn mark.

MUMBAI: As per the latest RBI data, after weeks of highs, a fall in foreign currency assets led foreign exchange reserves to fall by a steep USD 1.45 bn to touch USD 429.050 bn in the week to August 23.In the week ending August 9th forex reserves reached an all-time high of USD 430.572 bn and last week they slipped marginally by USD 70.8 mn to USD 430.501 bn, remaining above the USD 430 bn-mark. International Monetary Fund’s special drawing rights were down USD 4.5 mn to USD 1.433 bn. India’s reserve position with IMF reduced by USD 4.2 mn to USD 3.621 bn.

Fitch: By 2025 India will be the largest importer of coking coal.

MUMBAI: Fitch Solutions Macro Research printed a report that expects India to overtake China as the largest importer of coking coal by 2025.“We forecast India’s coking coal consumption to grow at an annual average rate of 5.4 % between 2019 and 2028, driven by an equally robust expansion in steel production in the country,” it said in a report. “As a result, we expect India to overtake China as the largest importer of global coking coal by 2025, despite the country only importing half as much as China in 2017,” it added.China it said will retain the bigger share of the market but India’s importance will rise in terms of seaborne demand, it said. “Although taking a longer time than previously expected to play out, due to the ongoing risks to the economy and government efforts to stimulate domestic industries, our view remains that steel production in China.will stutter in the medium term with the slowing of the economy and construction sectors, dragging coking coal consumption lower,” it added.will stutter in the medium term with the slowing of the economy and construction sectors, dragging coking coal consumption lower,” it added.

Exports can grow by 15% this fiscal: FIEO

KOLKATA:Exporter’s confidence needs to be boosted by resolving their issue like refund of embedded taxes and legal complexities on land purchase an. According quickly. FIEO President Mr. Sharad Kumar Saraf, President, said that despite trade headwinds exports can grow by 15 % in this fiscal, only that such growth is possible only when the Centre eases regulations and increases capacities for increased exports to US, China and the UK.Interest in Indian exports has upped after the US-China trade war and they have received a lot of enquiries, which are expected to materialise over a period of time. Brexit too will offer even more opportunities for Indian exporters. Over 200 products were identified by the Union Commerce Ministry recently for which India can increase exports to the US, replacing Chinese goods, and about 150 products that could be exported to China. These opportunities must be encashed by India, making the 15% growth possible, with intervention by the Centre by easing regulations and other confidence boosting measures, he said. Mr. Saraf opined that the Centre would have to devise schemes that will help in allocation of land for setting up units. Regulations and legal issues relating to allocation or purchase of land should be taken care of, he said.

Global Digital Maritime Freight Market to reach USD 38.4 bn by 2027: Report

PUNE:A report about the Global Digital Transformation of Maritime Freight market, predicts the Global Digital Maritime Freight market to be worth USD 38.4 bn by 2027, expanding at a CAGR of 10% from 2019 to 2027. This can be attributed to increased importance and dependency on IT & digitization in the shipping industry. Till 2027 the Digital Tranformation of Maritime freight market in Asia Pacific is expected to grow rapidly at 11% CAGR, which so far is dominated by North America, followed by Europe. In 2017 the digital transformation of maritime freight market, the software solution segment was worth USD 15.3 bn. IT and digitization in the shipping industry gaining importance and dependency Business gets boosted and operation optimized with digital transformation and the use of IT and the same has happened with the maritime freight industry. It integrates business potential with networknig and enables the market to move forward. Gradually all carriers are digitizing operations by installing IT systems to enhance their business and remain sustainable in this digitally-competitive world.Efficiencies of marine freight companies has gone up by leaps and bounds with by enabling the integration of artificial intelligence technologies, blockchain, Internet of Things, and robotics with shipping models. Long-term forecasts for traffic is possible and intelligent coordination models. Regional Outlook for digital transformation of maritime freight market:The global digital transformation of maritime freight market has been geographically divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and South America. North America is expected to dominate the market during the forecast period.Asia Pacific is expected to see rapid growth with China and India being two heavyweights in the region. Rapid digitization is expected of maritime freight markets in the Middle East & Africa, Europe, and South America during the forecast period.
Digital Transformation of Maritime Freight Market: Competition Dynamics
The research also points to key players in the digital transformation of maritime freight market like IBM Corporation, Oracle, SP SE, Syntel Inc., Hexaware Technologies, ABB Ltd., Tech Mahindra Limited, Kintetsu World Express, Inc., Advantech Co., Ltd., Mindtree Ltd., DigiLogistics Technology Ltd., Partner Tech Corp, 3GTMS, Inc., 4flow AG, and Logistic Solutions, Inc.

DBS Report: US-China trade war, an opportunity for India

MUMBAI:India has an opportunity in the US-China trade war, especially for categories for which tariffs have been imposed by the US on China, as per a research by Singapore’s DBS Bank titled Trade War and India: Five Factors to Watch.” It said India needs constructive domestic policies to keep global risks at bay. Ms. Radhika Rao, the bank’s economist and author of the research report lists five reasons why the trade war matters to India.Foremost is the theory that portrays India as immune to the ongoing trade conflicts and global growth trends. “We disagree,” she wrote, India has only a small share of global exports, India’s shipments track the latter closely. Past data brings out the fact that for every one %age point increase in global exports, India’s shipments tend to rise by half that much and vice versa. Hence, scaling back in global trade expectations is a pertinent risk for India’s trade, even as its stronger domestic sector helps neutralise some of this weakness.Secondly, as compared to others in the region, India’s direct exposure to the US (20%) and China (5%) is modest, who between them have 20% of the global merchandise exports, whereas other Asia Pacific countries like Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam 40% % of whose total exports head to US and China.‘Between the two, India is more exposed to the US, even as their bilateral trade surplus has been narrowing in recent years,’ said the report.Yet, there is a defect in India’s overall trade balance, and a big gap with China. Opportunity lies in stepping in products where US has imposed tariffs on China. Besides trade, diversion in investment flows is an opportunity that India could benefit from, as manufacturers seek alternative origination destinations. For example thru US FDI into India rose in 2018, accounting for 6 % of total investment flows, besides a notable pick-up in FDI from China. More is likely in the medium-term as India continues to work on easing FDI regulations.The research report said the US has also initiated protectionist action against India, as the latter runs a trade surplus with the US, and it withdrew favorable treatment meted under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) on India earlier this year. “We had noted that the impact on exports (nominal terms) is modest as GSP makes 10 % of India’s exports to the US and a small 1-2 % of overall India’s exports,” said Rao.Fourthly, through commercial and trade interventions India has taken protectionist actions in recent years, which is not surprising for its stage of development said the DBS report. Global Trade Alert database declares India as one of the top few countries to have the highest number of restrictive trade practices, even after adjusting for liberalizing measures. The top five sectors that have been tightened include basic organic chemicals with over 100 interventions, followed by products of iron and steel, basic inorganic chemicals, wearing apparel, and other fabricated metal products, amongst others. Lastly, after a stable 1H19, the Indian rupee has weakened more than 4 % vs USD in 3Q, under pressure from broad US dollar gains. To balance tough global conditions, domestic policies will have to be constructive to revive demand, it said.

First consignment of perishable cargo via Chabahar sent by Afghanistan to India

NEW DELHI:Mr. Behrouz Aqaei, Director General of Ports and Maritime Organization of Sistan-Baluchestan Province confirmed that Afghanistan had sent its first consignment of perishable goods to India through Iran’s Chabahar Port,.“The reefer ship carried grapes from Afghanistan through Chabahar’s Shahid Beheshti Port to India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Port” he explained. With construction of the main container site of Chabahar’s Shahid Beheshti Port having a capacity of 150 refrigerated containers for loading and unloading of perishables underway, Aqaei said, “Currently, Shahid Beheshti Port is equipped with a temporary cold storage unit with a capacity of 16 refrigerated containers.”Phase I of the Shahid Beheshti Port was inaugurated in December 2017 by Iranian President Mr. Hassan Rouhani, thereby opening a new strategic route linking Iran, India and Afghanistan which has tripled Chabahar’s capacity to 8.5 mn tons (equal to that of all the northern ports of the country). It allows the docking of super-large container ships (from 100,000 DWT to 120,000 DWT) and increases India’s connectivity with Afghanistan.

Operations of Nepal Government’s own CFS in Kolkata begin

KOLKATA:On 29th august 2019, the Container Freight Station (CFS) built by the Nepal Government at Kolkata Dry Port in India, with a capacity of 500 containers, began operations, for which the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) has expressed gratitude to the Indian government in a statement. Mr. Matrika Prasad Yadav, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Supplies inaugurated the facility.Also present for the ceremony were Mr. Kishor Kumar Pradhan, Vice President of FNCCI and other high-level officials from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies and Kolkata dry port and other Nepali stakeholders. CFS is a warehouse where vehicles carrying goods are housed until they complete the legalities of import and export.“This initiative of the Government will reduce the extra charges that Nepali traders have been paying for the import and export of goods via Kolkata dry port. FNCCI had been requesting the Government for this facility since long. Now, finally the government has brought its own CFS into operation and FNCCI believes that this initiative will provide some respite to Nepali traders,” reads the statement. It went on to say that with the Government’s own CFS, storage of containers for Nepali traders is much cheaper. Charges to Nepali importers by Kolkata dry port ware INR 45 to INR 65 per tonne per day but after this they can now store their goods at half the rate, the statement adds. “It will surely benefit Nepali traders but ultimately it will be the consumers who will benefit. Prior to this, the government had launched the electronic cargo tracking system on February 15 to clear cargo vehicles coming via Kolkata dry port. That initiative has also contributed in the improvement of import-export of the country.”

Commerce Minister to discuss export promotion with top trade advisory body next week

NEW DELHI:A top advisory body on exports will meet next week to discuss issues related to promotion, domestic manufacturing and competitiveness after exports of traditional, employment-generating sectors such as gems and Jewellery, leather, handloom and cotton yarn and fabrics took a beating. Commerce and Industry Minister chairs a Board of Trade (BoT), which advises the Government on foreign trade policy (FTP), will meet on September 12. It last met in June during which it was merged with the Council of Trade Development and Promotion to streamline the consultation process with all stakeholders for promoting trade.“Besides export promotion and domestic manufacturing, India’s free trade agreements and domestic competitiveness are also on the agenda,” said an official. A drop on outward shipments in July by gems and Jewellery (6.82%), engineering goods (1.69%) and petroleum products (5 %) has triggered the meeting. April-July 2019 saw exports dip 0.37% to USD107.41 bn, while imports contracted 3.63% to USD166.8 bn. The new board serves as a platform for states and union territories to voice their perspectives on trade policy and help develop and pursue export strategies in line with the national foreign trade policy. Members include State Ministers who are in charge of trade, Secretaries of different departments like Revenue, Commerce, Health and Agriculture besides NITI Aayog CEO, Deputy Governor RBI, and CBIC Chairman. Presidents and chairpersons of industry chambers among others are ex-officio members.

Export subsidy overhaul in new Foreign Trade Policy: Officials

NEW DELHI:The Central Government will overhaul export subsidy schemes with WTO-compliant schemes in its plan to unveil a new Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) next month. The schemes will give rebates and incentives to exporters and work on reduction of import dependence on the top-50 Indian exports.After a series of consultations on the schemes the Commerce, Finance, Industry and other Ministries “are almost ready with the new schemes that are now being vetted by trade experts and legal teams”, said officials. The schemes that have drawn flak from the World Trade Organization (WTO) are proposed to be replaced such as the Merchandise Export from India Scheme, the Export Promotion Capital Goods Scheme and some incentives for Special Economic Zones. The new scheme called Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies (ROSCTL) is expected to be compliant with WTO norms. Officials said that these rebates were being granted to garments and some textile units but now will be extended to other export sectors. This move will aid in reversal of the slowdown in these sectors.“We have been working on reframing export promotion measures as otherwise, we were in trouble with many countries including our allies like USA, Japan and Russia challenging our schemes at WTO,” said Prof Biswajit Dhar of JNU, who was formerly the Director-General of RIS. Officials were evaluating refunds not only of local taxes such as the GST but also embedded taxes and charges such as the ‘Mandi’ tax on farm products and excise and VAT on auto fuels. Ever since the country’s per capita income rose to USD 1000, that is for some years now, many countries including the US, have opposed India’s export subsidies at the WTO. That is the threshold for WTO mandates to a country that can offer export subsidies.

CEA: Govt tackling slowdown attributable to local and global factors

NEW DELHI: Chief Economic Advisor Mr. K V Subramanian confirmed that the Government is tackling slowdown in GDP growth which can be attributed to both domestic and global factors. National Statistical Office data showed that GDP that the government is addressing the situation and working to revive the economy. He was confident that the country would be on a high-growth path “very soon”. “The government remains committed to its fiscal glide path,” he emphasized. “The Government is alive to the situation and has taken several measures including mega merger of banks,” he emphasized.

ICRA: Export of sugar from India challenging

MUMBAI:Sugar prices have dipped globally and therefore its export from India will be a challenge said rating agency ICRANSE. Even if India is able to achieve a fraction of the six mn tonne of sugar exports target it would relieve some pressure from domestic stocks, support domestic sugar prices and facilitate timely cane payments to farmers. In its attempt to intervene the Government announced an Rs 6268-crore sugar export subsidy scheme on August 28, 2019. Mr. Sabyasachi Majumdar, Senior Vice President and Group Head, ICRA, said, “The export subsidy comes in the wake of high opening sugar stocks of around 14.5 mn tonnes for 2019-20 season. Given the prevailing subdued international prices, the companies are likely to make losses on sugar exports. While the quantum of exports could be lower than the targeted 6 mn tonne (as also witnessed in the previous year, wherein around 3.2 mn MT of sugar was exported as against a target of 5 mn MT) given the subdued global sugar prices, even part exports are likely to relieve the pressure on domestic sugar stocks and thus support domestic sugar realizations to a certain extent,“ said Majumdar.

Greenfield Navi Mumbai airport to be made by L&T

HYDERABAD:The contract for engineering procurement and constructions of the Greenfield airport project has been awarded to L&T Construction by GVK’s step-down subsidiary Navi Mumbai International Airport Private Ltd. It entails cut and fill works, terminal works including departure and arrival forecourts, airfield development works that include a 3,700-metre-long runway, apron systems, taxiway systems, airfield ground lighting and other facilities, landside facilities covering roads, multilevel car parking, utilities and support facilities.The passenger terminal building capable of handling 1o mn passengers annually has been designed with complex forms by the renowned Zaha Hadid Architects. In the second phase the project will be ready to handle twice that many. Mr. GVK Reddy, Founder and Chairman, GVK, said: “With the commissioning of the iconic Terminal 2 at Mumbai airport and designing the under construction Garden Terminal 2 at Bengaluru airport, GVK had set new benchmarks in the Indian airports sector. Now, for the Navi Mumbai International Airport, we have to raise the bar over and above what we have achieved at Mumbai and Bengaluru airports.”“For this challenge, we are partnering with L&T yet again, as their team is very much in sync with our philosophy of delivering world class quality and creating landmarks for others to follow. I am confident that with the high standards of excellence that L&T brings to the table, we will deliver yet another world class airport that will be the pride of India,” he said.SN Subrahmanyan, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, L&T, said: “With its burgeoning demand, Mumbai city was in dire need of a second airport and we have bagged the mandate to build the Navi Mumbai airport. GVK has entrusted L&T to develop some of their major infrastructures and L&T reciprocates their commitment to build a world class airport and to transform GVK’s vision into reality.”A strategic investment deal is being finalized by the diversified GVK group.

Jewellery exporters can get precious metals duty-free for exports: GJEPC welcomes move

NEW DELHI:A Ministry of Commerce notification now permits jewellery exporters to claim duty free replenishment of gold, silver and platinum used in the manufacture of items sold overseas.Amending Para 4.34(I) of the Foreign Trade Policy the notification has been welcomed by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJAEPC) which had appealed several times for the same. The benefit was available earlier too but was discontinued following the implementation of GST. Its restoration comes as a big relief to exporters especially since it is timed when the industry is facing numerous challenges, said GJEPC It says that the replenishment will be made in accordance with specified procedure and that replenishment of gold / silver / platinum will be subject to applicable Customs regulations.

Bankers urged to ease export credit flow: Commerce Minister.

NEW DELHI:Commerce and Industry Minister Mr. Piyush Goyal in a meeting with senior public-sector bankers urged for easier and greater flow of loans at cheaper rates, to deal with its shortage. This is a measure of the Government’s intervention to boost faltering export growth. Priority sector lending norms for exports are under scrutiny by both the Government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for easing them. The RBI is willing to change credit norms but not to allocate a part of its foreign exchange reserves for export credit as is being demanded by some.Under priority sector norms exporters with a turnover of up to Rs 100 crore are eligible for credit. It was earlier learnt that the RBI was considering a proposal to either scrap or double the limit to include more exporters. Also the limit for loan amounts was likely to be upped to Rs. 40 crore per borrower from the current Rs. 25 crore. The cap on bank’s to limit export credit to 2% of total loans will be relaxed soon. The RBI data shows that as on June 21st, export credit shrank as much as 36.1% year-on-year, even on a low base (it had contracted 42.7% a year earlier) and despite the fact that non-food bank credit grew 11.1% y-o-y as of June 21 and overall priority-sector loans rose 10.2%.Many MSME exporters suffered after the contraction in such credit flows forcing them to close down at a time when a global trade war has already threatened to slowdown both economic and export growth, industry has told the Government. Once modified the norms are said to make available an additional credit of between Rs 35,000 crore and Rs 68,000 crore for exporters, according to an RBI assessment.Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman had held a crucial meeting earlier this month with both private and public-sector banks about easing the flow of credit to various critical sectors of the economy. To up the ability of state-run banks’ to lend more, the Government has promised the required capital of Rs 70,000-crore to them “upfront” in FY20, which will come shortly.The Commerce Ministry Mr. Piyush Goyal has held many meeting with exporters to understand their concerns before phasing out the flagship Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) with a more WTO-compatible regime under which various State and Central levies on inputs consumed in exports will be reimbursed.

Union Shipping Minister assures of Govt’s commitment to lower logistics cost to global average of 9% within 5 years.

MUMBAI:Inaugurating the celebration for the 70th Foundation Day of the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) in mumbai, the Union Shipping Minister Mr. Mansukh Mandaviya addressed a conference on “Indian Maritime Administration, 70 years – The Vision Ahead”. He said that shipping had a pivotal role to play in the making of a new India, assuring the Government’s commitment to lower the logistics cost for India from the current 14% to the world average of 9%, in five years, as a consequence of which Indian exports would increase by 25%, by lowering price level by 2.5%. The gala was organized at the Maritime Training Institute of Shipping Corporation in Powai on 3rd September, 2019.He said that coastal shipping, ship repair and maintenance, cruise tourism and inland waterways were upcoming opportunities that need to be encased. New routes like inland waterways and coastal shipping go a long way in reducing cost of public transportation as well, said the Minister. He stressed on the role of innovation in solving problems and the importance of adaptation, asking the industry not to feel threatened by technology. He believed that technology creates different opportunities and that be more competitive technology is a must. He said that he was working out with the Union Finance Minister to lower the cost of capital, especially for shipbuilders and coastal shipping players. Also under consideration is a plan to let Indian entities the long-term charter to operate foreign ships; he said this will support small entrepreneurs and develop coastal shipping. Citing the Prime Minister’s Independence Day address, he reassured the industry that the Government is stable, industry-friendly and supports wealth creators urging them to embrace continuous learning, which will lead to reform, innovation and better outcomes. Earlier that morning, the Minister inaugurated a course titled, Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (PSCARB), to be conducted by the Maritime Training Institute, SCI.

China News

China, U.S. have plenty to gain from closer cooperation say Experts: Economic Watch

BEIJING, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) — Chinese and U.S. should go back to the negotiating table and resolve disputes on the basis of cooperation and mutual trust, and the call for separating the 2 economies is detrimental to both sides and experts said.Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez said in a speech during a special session of the China Development Forum held in Beijing on Sept. 6-7, that it is hard to imagine that there are assertions about the decoupling of China and the United States, adding that it is impossible and unrealistic for the two economies to separate.The session which attracted about 200 government officials, scholars and business leaders to exchange views on a wide range of crucial issues which mainly focused on the ongoing China-U.S. trade tensions was themed “Trade, Openness and Shared Prosperity”.Touting the decoupling of the world’s two largest economies will undermine not only China and the United States by putting the 40-year-old bilateral relations at stake, but also the global economy, warned Robert D. Hormats, former Under Secretary of U.S. State Department.Lack of mutual trust not deficit of trade is the biggest drawback of the ties of United States with China, Hormats said, emphasizing the importance of restoring trust to mitigate tensions and bring mutual benefits.Corporate leaders at the session expressed their fears of being trapped in the prolonged trade disputes, and the so-called “decoupling” claims have stirred up anxieties in the U.S. business community.Mr.John Neuffer, President and CEO of Semiconductor Industry Association said, that trade tensions cause havoc in our industry adding that China is the biggest and fastest growing semiconductor market and the industry’s supply chains run deeply through the country.The importance of supporting free trade was stressed by Neuffer as the call for estranging China and the United States either economically or technologically, will sever the supply chains and maim the semiconductor industry.Speakers at the session reached a consensus that although there are disputes and disagreements between China and the United States because of different cultures and systems, cooperation and mutual trust should not be precluded.”Having had the opportunity to participate in the Sino-American relationship for forty years, I believe strongly that both countries have a duty to the peace of the world and the progress of the world to find means of cooperation to solve the important problems they have before them,” Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, said in a speech video prepared for the session.Both countries have a responsibility to help create a new global order that can deal with challenges they are facing, but the only way to achieve this goal is to embrace the principles of mutual respect, sincerity, honesty and diversity, Elizabeth Knup, Ford Foundation’s China Representative, said. China continued to be an important market and a revenue growth driver for U.S. companies, she further said.According to an annual survey conducted by the U.S.-China Business Council (USCBC), a group with 220 U.S. companies as its members, some 97 % of the U.S. companies reported increased profitability in China in 2019, unchanged from last year, and the highest level in a decade.”It’s very important for these companies’ worldwide competitiveness to be in China and to be successful there,” USCBC President Craig Allen said, adding that profits generated in China support and create jobs in the United States.

Chinese Commerce Ministry says Trade talks with the US in Oct. in Washington.

Beijing: Trade teams from the two countries will hold consultations in mid-September to take actions to create favourable conditions, after which China and the United States have agreed to hold trade talks in early October in Washington, said China’s Commerce Ministry in a statement.

At China-Arab States expo Agreements signed to boost agri-technology transfer

YINCHUAN — During the ongoing fourth China-Arab States Expo, Northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region has entered into agreements with Pakistan, Kenya, Morocco and Uzbekistan on building four overseas centres for agricultural technology transfer.This comes after similar overseas agricultural technology transfer centres have already been established by Ningxia in Mauritania, Kyrgyzstan and Jordan over the years following the inauguration of the China-Arab States Agricultural Technology Transfer Center in 2015 in the northwestern region.Of the four new centres, the Kenya centre will focus on promoting technologies on standardized poultry breeding and integrated poultry disease prevention and control.Integration, demonstration and promotion of new facilities, equipment and technologies for modern agriculture, as well as two-way training and exchange activities for agricultural scientists and technicians will be carried out at the Uzbekistan centre.The Morocco-based centre will run pilot and demonstration programs on fishmeal processing and production as well as the processing and trade of other aquatic products.The centre in Pakistan will focus on grain planting and processing and promote advanced agricultural technology as well as agricultural management and production modes from Ningxia.The fourth China-Arab States Expo will run from Thursday to Sunday in Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia, and will feature trade fairs and forums on infrastructure, Internet plus healthcare, high technology, modern agriculture, logistics, tourism, the digital economy and industrial cooperation, attracting about 12,600 participants from 2,900 regional organizations, commerce chambers, associations and enterprises in 89 countries.

U.S. hegemonism over trading issue opposed firmly by China: FM spokesperson.

BEIJING, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) — Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Friday that the U.S. side’s irresponsible comment on normal business cooperation between Chinese companies and other countries is typical hegemonism, and China firmly opposes to this.During his visit to Iceland, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence reportedly told the press that the United States and Iceland will discuss his country’s concern over the construction of 5G networks, and will call on all U.S. allies to reject Huawei’s technologies.5G technology is a joint innovation by the international community and opportunities arising from it shall be shared globally Geng said.Taking a discriminatory approach to the technology and politicising 5G are not in line with the common interests of the international community, he said.Chinese enterprises have always been encouraged by the Chinese government to conduct overseas investment cooperation in accordance with business principles, international rules and local laws, Geng said.Geng said China resolutely opposed the U.S. abuse of its “national security narrative” and state power to oppress Chinese companies, and urges the United States to stop its wrong actions and provide with a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies’ normal investment and operation.

China Focus: To boost bilateral ties Premier Li’s to visit Russia.

BEIJING, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) — A Chinese Foreign Ministry official said Monday Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s upcoming visit to Russia will open up broader space for pragmatic cooperation between the two countries in the new era and boost bilateral ties.From Sept. 16 to 18 At the invitation of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Li will pay an official visit to Russia and co-chair the 24th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government with Medvedev, Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said at a press briefing.The visit comes as the two countries are embracing the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties and ushering in a new era in their relations.Le said it is now a major-country relationship featuring the highest degree of mutual trust, coordination and strategic value, noting that the China-Russia relationship has become more mature, stable and tenacious over the past 70 years.”China and Russia enjoy solid political mutual trust and firmly support each other on issues concerning core interests and major concerns, while their all-round mutually beneficial cooperation has continued to expand and their interests have been more closely interconnected,” Le said, adding that the bilateral trade volume exceeded 100 bn U.S. dollars for the first time last year.According to Le, the two countries also have close and effective communication and coordination in international affairs.The focus of the upcoming meeting between the two countries’ heads of government will be two major objectives, Le said. Promotion of the implementation of the major consensus reached by the two countries’ heads of state, deepen the integration of interests and consolidate the material basis of bilateral relations is the first.The second, Le said is to contribute the two countries’ wisdom to and voice their support for safeguarding multilateralism, open economy, and the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment.Li will hold talks with Medvedev in St. Petersburg during the visit and sign a joint communique of the 24th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government. Li will also meet with Putin in Moscow.

Laws to be further amended in China to empower local legislatures.

BEIJING, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) — To give local legislatures more powers in due course, the Commission of Legislative Affairs of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee will consider proposing suggestions of law amendments.Some local legislatures suggested at an earlier meeting of provincial-level people’s congresses, that they be given greater space for lawmaking as the scope for local legislative powers at present is so narrow and limited.Research into this issue is underway said the Commission of Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee. Congresses at the provincial-level people’s may enact local decrees provided that they shall not contravene any provision of the onstitution, national laws or administrative regulations.the power to formulate implementation guidelines of laws such as the election law is also given to local lawmaking authorities.Uptil now, the country has more than 12,000 effective local decrees.Delegating legislative powers to local authorities is a milestone in the development of China’s legislative system. The NPC was the only body that had legislative powers before the reform and opening up. Since 1979, provincial-level people’s congresses and their standing committees have been granted legislative powers. The country’s social and economic demands in the past 40 years have generally been met by the current legislative system, but it is now necessary to create more conditions for local legislative bodies to play their roles, according to the NPC Standing Committee, which promised that it would actively support the legislation work of the provincial-level people’s congresses.

Taxes cuts in Shanghai FTZ by China to lure investment, undo trade war damage.

BEIJING:In a move that will likely attract more foreign investment and help counteract some of the effects of the trade war, China said it would cut taxes and ease restrictions on cross-border money flows in the new free trade area in Shanghai.The tax some companies have to pay on revenue will be lowered to 15% from 25% for 5 years in the Lingang Special Area, part of the existing Shanghai free trade zone, and offer some income tax subsidies to workers that are in high demand, the Shanghai Government said in a statement recently.Easing restrictions on property purchases, cross-border capital flows and currency exchange were also included in the 50 measures announced.The new preferential policies were introduced as some foreign firms were prompted to move their production facilities overseas due to rising labour and land costs, along with higher US tariffs on Chinese goods. As part of the Government’s efforts to deepen market-oriented reforms the Shanghai FTZ was launched in 2013and China has said its goal is to eventually replicate the successful policies of the free trade zones across the Country.

AI cooperation with ASEAN to promoted in China’s border region

NANNING, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) — On Monday Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of South China pledged to enhance cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on artificial intelligence (AI).At the First China-ASEAN AI Summit Mr. Chen Wu, chairman of the regional government, said that Guangxi will actively promote technical cooperation, trade, investment and industrial exchange in the AI sector with the ASEAN countries.The region will speed up the construction of platforms for infrastructure, information sharing and technical cooperation, among others toward this end, Chen said.Boasting of both sea and overland links with ASEAN, Guangxi is building the China-ASEAN Information Harbour to boost digital cooperation with Southeast Asia.”The summit has sounded the clarion call for the development of AI and big data industry in Guangxi,” said Wang Jingjing, Guangxi regional director of the Chinese AI firm iFlytek.iFlytek hopes to set up an institute on ASEAN languages in Guangxi to facilitate communication between China and ASEAN countries Wang said, hailing the region’s policy and geographical advantages on ASEAN cooperation.

Italy’s ties with China expected to remain priority under new Conte gov’t: analyst

ROME, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) — An Italian analyst has said Italy’s relations with China are expected to remain a priority of the second government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.Conte, is a 55-year-old former University of Florence law professor, if Conte and his ministers win back-to-back parliamentary confidence votes scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, as expected, he will officially take the reins of his second consecutive government.Making Italy the first major industrialized country to sign a memorandum of understanding with China on the Belt and Road Initiative was one of the first Conte government’s signature achievements.Political relations between the two countries would remain strong Paolo Guerrieri, a former member of the Italian Senate who now teaches political economics at Rome’s La Sapienza University, the College of Europe in Belgium, and the Paris School of International Affairs, told Xinhua.Italy’s ambassador to Beijing since 2015, Ettore Francesco Sequi, will return to Rome as chief of staff of Luigi Di Maio, the new minister of foreign affairs, which is an indication of the importance the new government and Di Maio himself is giving to its ties with China.A seasoned Italian statesman who visited China several times as the deputy prime minister and the minister of economic development in Conte’s first government, Luigi Di Maio said earlier that enhancing relations with China is consistent with the policy of “Italy First.”Italy’s recent relations with China could have a knock-on effect in Europe, Guerrieri said.”The European Union is still developing its comprehensive strategy for dealing with China and its growing influence,” Guerrieri said. “The fact that the new Italian government is expected to be much more pro-European Union than the predecessor government means Italy will have a strong voice as that strategy evolves.”With bilateral trade reaching 42 bn euros (about 46 bn U.S. dollars) in 2017, China is now Italy’s largest trading partner in Asia, according to statistics from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.Meanwhile, Italy, is an equal if not more important key trade and economic partner of China, and also serves as a bridge in the cooperation between China and Europe.

Agreement to advance bilateral ties, strengthen cooperation between China, Brazil

BRASILIA On Saturday China and Brazil agreed to advance bilateral ties and strengthen cooperation in various fields.The 197th anniversary celebrations of Brazil’s independence on Saturday were attended by Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defence Wei Fenghe who is on a four-day visit of Brazil that started Thursday.Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro held talks with Wei, on the sidelines of the celebration ceremony, asking him to convey his sincere greetings and good wishes to Chinese President Xi Jinping.”I am looking forward to visiting China in October and meeting with Chinese President Xi,” said Bolsonaro.Mr. Wei conveyed Xi’s kind greetings and good wishes to Bolsonaro, for his part, as well as his congratulations on Brazil’s independence anniversary.The comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Brazil has strengthened, under the guidance of Xi and Bolsonaro and their military ties have maintained a good momentum, said Mr. Wei.He further added that China is willing to work with Brazil, consolidate pragmatic cooperation in various fields, and promote the bilateral relations and military ties to a new level.Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao met with Mr. Wei on Friday. Mr. Mourao said China is Brazil’s trustworthy and reliable partner for comprehensive strategic cooperation, and Brazil is willing to work with China to strengthen all-round cooperation in various fields.Inorder to advance the ties and the two countries and militaries in a healthy way China stands ready to work with Brazil Mr. Wei said during the talks with Mourao, adding that China and Brazil are good friends and good partners.

Africa News

African startups connected to London ecosystem by Google for startups cohort

Launching its first ever African-immersion cohort Google for Startups UK has designed a 12-week Programme to bring the best expertise of Google and the London startup ecosystem to technology companies from Africa and help drive socio-economic impact in their operating countries
Now is the time to support untapped market potential in Africa to find solutions to issues faced as its population is set to double to 2.5bn by 2050. About USD 725.6 mn in funding was raised by African tech startups in 2018, a 127 % year-on-year growth for the continent.The Africa Immersion Programme that starts on 3rd September aims to connect high potential early-stage startups from Africa to the London venture capital ecosystem, with the dedicated support of the Google for Startups team. Across the 12 weeks, founders will get access to Google tools, expertise and mentoring to provide support where it’s most needed, right from boosting sales, advising on marketing strategies, troubleshooting a product issue and even support with fundraising. After a week of full-time support in London, the founders will return to their home countries and continue the Programme while growing their businesses and creating local success stories and employment opportunities. At the end of the 12 weeks will be a founder graduation event in November in Lagos, Nigeria.The Head of Google for Startups UK and serial entrepreneur Marta Krupinska, together with Programme lead Mariama Boumanjal and her team will lead the Programme.Marta Krupinska said, “We created this Programme because we believe that London became the Silicon Valley of Europe because of its access to funding, talent and startup experience. At the same time, we recognize that there is an incredible wealth of passion, talent and opportunity in less developed startup ecosystems. We want to help exceptional African founders and their teams connect to the ecosystem in London and tap into the opportunities here while they continue growing their businesses in their home countries and create local success stories and employment.”

African energy projects get USD 1.4bn investment from Chinese companies

In a week long visit to Beijing by the African Energy Chamber it met with senior officials from the Chinese government, heads of state-owned energy companies and executives and entrepreneurs from the private sectorThe African Energy Chamber lured Chinese investors, energy companies and financial institutions by discussing attractive and award winning opportunities and win-win agreements and contracts that will work for Africa.“China’s economic transformation in the last few decades in nothing short of remarkable,” declared NJ Ayuk. “What this country has accomplished is an inspiration for Africa, where nations still need to lift hundreds of mns out of poverty and provide us with sustained economic development for decades. China and Africa share very similar challenges, and the message China is sending us is that if they can do it, so can we.”Africa can play a role in the growing demand for LNG in China. China’s consumption of LNG in 2018 was 276.6bn cu/m, 16.6 % more than that of 2017. The Chamber discussed with Chinese companies the need to invest in gas exploration and on African initiatives like LNG2Africa that will stand to benefit both.The Chamber secured more than USD1.4bn intentions to invest in Africa’s bankable projects in mining, oil and gas, power and renewables. “The biggest encouragement for us is that beyond their investment appetite for Africa, Chinese companies are clear about their intention to invest in the promotion of local content and the building of local manufacturing capacities,” added Nj Ayuk. Besides upstream oil and gas and mining projects, key infrastructure financing opportunities in refinery and storage facilities were also discussed.With China’s strong interest in Africa and a demands from China, the Chamber will host the first China-Africa Energy Investment Forum in 2020 in Beijing.

FIATA to discuss penalties with carriers

Calling for an urgent discussion with major carriers the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) wants to thrash issues pertaining to the recent moves by shipping lines to penalize shippers that mis-declare cargoes. In the meanwhile they have sought clarity on whether the fines apply solely to the misdeclaration of dangerous goods or any instance in which goods are misdeclared.FIATA noted that in the August 6th news release according to shipping lines, the fines are being levied “in an attempt to improve safety and reduce delays whereby up to a quarter of all serious incidents on board container ships are attributable to misdeclared cargo as referenced by the Cargo Incident Notification System initiative.” Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, HMM and OOCL have announced their plans to impose penalties on shippers. Effective 15th September Hapag-Lloyd and South Korean carrier HMM have announced a USD 15,000 penalty per container for the misdeclaration of cargo prior to shipment for cargoes emanating from China. Hong Kong-based OOCL and Maersk will impose fines of amounts as yet undisclosed to combat mislabeling.“Failure to properly offer and declare hazardous cargoes prior to shipment is a violation of hazardous material regulations. Such violations may be subject to monetary fines and/or criminal prosecution under applicable law,” said Hapag-Lloyd’s notice to customers. Hapag-Lloyd spokesperson Mr. Nils Haupt told Freight Waves that fines were being levied only against Chinese shippers as they were flagrant violators in misidentifying cargoes, although West African cargoes also are under constant scrutiny by the carrier. Haupt was not aware of any formal challenge issued as of yet by FIATA against the levies.

Remove cash deposit on containers suggest freight forwarders

Two vital agreements were penned with foreign associations of regional freight forwarders on Friday with foreign associations, one of which was the removal of longstanding burden of the cash deposit payment of USD 2000 per container before leaving the port. This came after the Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Associations (FEAFFA) and the Dubai based National Association of Freight and Logistics (NAFL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding.Fed Seka, Chairperson of FEAFFA who signed the deal with Alexis Perinet-Marquet, Director of Product and Business Development at Switzerland-based Viaservice SA, at the end of the third Global Logistics Convention held in Kigali admitted to Sunday Times what a big relief it was to Rwandan and regional businesses.Seka said that this issue was impeding business for a long time as the deposit amount charged was steep and doing way with it will reduce the cost of doing business. Seka said, “There will no longer be cash deposits on containers; there is an issue which has been there, called a container deposit guarantee of USD2,000 paid to the shipping line before one lifts every single container from the port. That money would be refunded once one returned the shipping boxes but it was a lot of money hindering our business. Imagine if you had 20 containers how much you would leave at the port as a container guarantee. That would be way too much.” After signing the MoU Viaservice has done away with the cash deposit. Seka said, “This is of great benefit to the Rwandan business community and others in the region.” The FEAFFA and NAFL agreement aims to promote collaboration and interaction between the two parties; promote business collaboration and interaction between the members of the two organizations; and promote freight logistics business between the regions represented by the two parties. It will also help train and professionalize the freight logistics industry, adopt international best practices, and promote the common good of the freight logistics industry.FEAFFA and the Ethiopian Freight Forwarders and Shipping Agents (EFFSAA) signed the second MoU on Friday for providing a framework of cooperation for various reasons one of which is to lobby for a favorable business environment within the two regions. This also aims to promote business collaboration and interaction between members of the two organizations, promote transit transport and logistics business between the regions, train and professionalize the freight logistics industry, and promote the common good of the freight logistics industry.Seka said, “If anyone from here wants any logistics services from Ethiopia, Egypt or Djibouti, we will be able to make things happen as we shall be connected by partners there. Logistics is a network. And we have now extended our networking as a business community.”At the conference, Trademark East Africa (TMEA) signed a four-year USD3.5 mn deal with FEAFFA aimed to enable the latter provide competitive and high quality services. Under the EAC logistics sector skills enhancement program TMEA has agreed with FEAFFA to help enhance the skills of regional customs agents, warehouse operators as well as freight forwarders.

Revival of national airline: Uganda, latest African country to do so

Ms. Jenifer Bamuturaki, Commercial Director of Uganda Airlines believes that an airline is a way of showcasing a people. The airline made its first commercial flight on August 28th and will soon fly to seven destinations like Nairobi and Mogadishu, on four 76-seater planes. It has also placed orders for two wide-body Airbus A330-800s, which could one day reach London and Guangzhou. Travellers on board can get a flavor of katogo, a popular banana dish, served with a warm Ugandan welcome. Its earlier national carrier started out shipping whisky for President Idi Amin in the 1970s and collapsed in 2001. It is now taking back to the air and this time it is not alone. Its neighbour Tanzania too is reviving its national carrier has purchased eight new planes and is considering flights to London. Regional leader Ethiopian Airlines is entering into joint ventures across the continent. It helped save Chad’s national airline last year and now will focus on Ghana and Zambia. New airlines have emerged in the last decade in Senegal and Ivory Coast.

Piracy and armed robbery in West Africa: a Club update

In West Africa, particularly in the Gulf of Guinea the club has noticed a worrying trend of increased acts of piracy and armed robbery.The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported in that from January to June 2019 globally, 78 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported compared to 107 for the same period in 2018. Even though the number is lower, the Gulf of Guinea region accounted for 43% of the reported incidents, 73% of the reported global kidnappings and 92% of the reported global hostages taken. The IMB anyway sees the Gulf of Guinea as the highest risk area for seafarers and urge shipowners and operators to ‘remain vigilant and report all suspicious activity to regional response centres and the IMB.’The guidelines issued published by the club to members when trading in risky areas of West Africa have been published. They are as follows:Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy and Enhance Maritime Security in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea (BMP5) which gives guidance for region-specific threats and aims to help mariners risk-assess voyages, and detect, deter and avoid external threats to their safety. The BMP5 does not only focus on piracy and armed robbery in West Africa, the risk assessment section contained within part 3, although not exhaustive, goes into detail as to what a risk assessment must consider.Global Counter Piracy Guidance for Companies, Masters and Seafarers (GCPG) which is to be read in conjunction with BMP5 and contains guidance on piracy and armed robbery to be used by seafarers around the world. The purpose is to protect seafarers, the ship and cargo, and to facilitate threat and risk assessment and planning for voyages transiting areas where the threat of attack by pirates and armed robbers exists. If the crew suspects that the ship is under attack or being boarded then detailed guidance on actions that may be taken is provided.Guidelines for Owners, Operators and Masters for protection against piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea region (v3) ((GoG v3) to be read together with the earlier two, provides specific information only about piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea such as piracy tactics in the region, as well as guidance in case an attack takes place, or if attackers take control of the ship.GoG v3 also provides a detailed explanation of Marine Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG), which is discussed further below. Founded in 2016 by the French and UK navies, MDAT-GoG is a service that provides 24-hour manned service of military experts and aims to develop, maintain and share knowledge of security issues in the waters off Africa’s western seaboard. It administers a Voluntary Reporting Area (VRA) scheme under which merchant ships are encouraged to report position information while operating in the VRA. The VRA, as shown on Admiralty Chart Q6114, has been issued to clearly define an internationally recognised area, to encourage shipowners and operators trading off West Africa to join a trusted reporting scheme. The provision of Admiralty Chart Q6114 to all ships operating in this region is strongly recommended. The VRA, and reporting requirements and procedures can be found in Admiralty Chart Q6114 in the attachment on the right. For more guidance on MDAT-GoG please see page 3 of GoG v3.Member are encouraged to exercise extreme caution as the risk of piracy remains high off West Africa and to comply with the latest version of BMP and other related specific guidance developed for that region, as described above.

China, a show of strength in aviation in Africa

Africa and China had few other aviation links barring Ethiopian Airlines which started flying to China in November 1973 and therefore China is new to African aviation. Former colonial powers such as the British, Dutch and French remain associated since the 1920s. Countries that belonged to the former Soviet bloc got interested when the cold war was at its peak. It’s only in the last score that Persian Gulf petro-states and their airlines – Emirates, Qatar and Etihad – have become major offshore hubs for a huge range of commercial flights serving Africa. In my recently published paper I track how China has been differently involved. Any official information about the scale and pace of China’s airport projects in Africa is not available. So one has to rely on journalistic reporting on current affairs and public projects for it, which can vary from each other and so keeping up with developments is difficult. With all these shortfalls the picture that emerged during my research shows considerable Chinese activity directed at modernizing, expanding and building new airports in Africa. I believe that resource-rich countries have the grandest projects.
China’s approach
None of China’s biggest three airlines (Air China, China Southern, China Eastern) are prominent in African skies. On the basis on this China has been flexing its aviation muscles in Africa in consistency with its 50 odd years of infrastructure funding and construction on the continent. Chinese investment in Africa is mainly in energy, water, road and rail infrastructure projects. Civil airports is a new addition, where their experience of planning, funding, constructing and managing at home comes in handy.Two reports in 2017 made mention of between USD27 bn and USD38 bn being spent on 77 construction and associated hardware airport projects in Africa each with the average price of USD440 mn. China was associated with Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Zambia. A calculated guess holds China responsible for a third of that spending. Excluding some expenditure in Ghana, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo of which nothing is known China spent some USD5.7 bn on these airport projects: USD3.8 bn on a new airport outside Luanda (Angola), USD615 mn in Maputo, USD360 mn in Zambia, USD345 mn at Addis Ababa, USD260 mn in Mauritius, USD190 mn in Sierra Leone, and USD136 mn in Mauritania. Funds from China’s Exim Bank or other agencies are expected to help build a new USD3 bn airport outside Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, and a new USD1.4 bn airport outside Khartoum in Sudan.The Chinese investment model has loans and grants, but also, some barter deals of oil and minerals, making them more of a resources-for-infrastructure barter. At the same time Turkish, French, Italian and British contractors have been bidding for airport improvement projects in Africa, and for terminal or runway new-build schemes. These are of a smaller scale, and have greater transparency.
What’s next?China may change its approach in the future if it can neutralise the pivot of Persian Gulf airports at Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha out-manoeuvre their airlines in global long-haul markets. To penetrate African aviation markets China will have to have partnerships with African airlines or take equity shares. This is already happening with the Hainan Corporation in China for example which has reportedly made forays into airlines in Ghana and South Africa, and into a Kenyan all-freight carrier.China-made aircraft are now finding their way into Africa. Attendant spare parts stocks are being pre-positioned. Plans are being made for Chinese-led aviation technical and managerial training schools in Africa. These will reduce risk of wasted physical infrastructure and of any associated reputational damage.AirPort capacities are being built to 2035 levels of passenger numbers at an annual redicted growth rate of 5% by when Africa will be home to eight of the world’s 10 fastest-growing aviation markets. Most African countries do not have the capacity to prepare for this and will need overseas funds and engineering expertise.But concerns remain such as cost overruns in mega-infrastructure projects, the long-term burden of loan repayments (or default loss of control to foreign owners), the unaffordability of unanticipated maintenance charges, and the inappropriateness of prestige and political vanity projects. Concerns about corruption, due diligence, accountability, and social and environmental disruption plague transport projects wherever they occur.Another argument against airport mania in Africa – including one that may be levelled against the seductively shiny steel-and-glass ‘aerotropolises’ touted in Nigeria and South Africa – is that these opportunist projects are firmly nation- or city-led (indeed, even regime-led). As such, they don’t necessarily fit into any long-term regional or pan-African programme of integrated infrastructure development. At a time of chronic resource shortages and stress this is irresponsible. What can be accomplished technically is not always what should be done. There have always been white elephants and rogue elephants in Africa. The economic and political geography of China’s airport consulting, financing, construction, and management programme in Africa is only now beginning to surface. In future, better statistical information, and richer local information will make for better analysis.

World News

Pact to be signed by India, Russia on Open Maritime Route between Chennai and Vladivostok.

VLADIVOSTOK:A maritime route between the ports of Chennai and Vladivostok to ensure connectivity between the two countries was agreed to be opened by India and Russia.After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Indian Ministry of Shipping and Russia’s Ministry of Transport signed a Memorandum of Intent for the development of maritime communications between the ports of Chennai and Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East Region.Prime Minister Modi is the first Indian who arrived in Russia on a two-day visit, to the Russian Far East Region. He will also attend the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF). “Opening of this route between Chennai and Vladivostok assumes significance because it ensures there will be connectivity between the two major ports which will give impetus to the cooperation between India and the Russian Far East,” Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said. India is looking not just at the energy sector in Russia but also the resources, forestry and agriculture sectors Mr. Gokhale said. Modi proposed and Putin was also optimistic about manpower exports as Russia has a shortage of labour and “in this context the MoU on opening a route between Chennai and Vladivostok assumes significance.” He further said Earlier, Modi after talks with Putin said they discussed ways to bolster cooperation in trade and investment, oil and gas, nuclear energy, defence, space and maritime connectivity.

Due to Trade War, US firms keen to relocate to India from China.

NEW YORK:According to Mr. Mukesh Aghi, the President of US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), about 200 US companies have expressed interest in coming from China to India.During an interactive session at Tamil Nadu, Aghi said the organisation, which promotes bilateral business and trade relations between the two countries, has received enquiries from those companies about how to invest in India and they have a potential for bringing USD21 bn in investments to India at Chief Minister K. Palaniswami’s meeting with investors here. There was a lot of interest from US companies to relocate from China to India India’s Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty also said, and he hoped that Tamil Nadu is rolling out the red carpet for them. US President Donald Trump’s trade war with China. Many US companies have been prompted to look for other places to move or expand operations due to the problems with protecting intellectual property and restrictions on doing business. These companies may be able to avoid the high tariffs imposed by Trump, some of which went into effect in September, by investing in other countries.USISPF board member and former US Ambassador to India, Frank Wisner, was asked what India and Tamil Nadu should do to get those companies to come there by Aghi.

100% rise in export of non-oil goods from Chabahar Port .

Tehran :The first five months of the current Iranian calendar year (ending on August 22, 2019), showed export of non-oil goods from Chabahar Port increased by 100 % in comparison to the same period last year, according to Mr Behrouz Aghaei, Managing Director of Ports and Maritime Organization of Sistan and Baluchistan, as per a report.“Loading and unloading goods increased considerably after the inauguration of the first phase of Shahid Rajaei Port of Chabahar. The loading and unloading operations of various types of oil- and non-oil products in Chabahar Port registered a 37 % growth since the beginning of this year as compared to the same period last year,” he was quoted as saying.Located in Southeastern Iran, on the Gulf of Oman, Chabahar Port, serves as Iran’s only oceanic port, and consists of two separate ports named Shahid Kalantari and Shahid Beheshti, each of which has five berths. The report saidIndia has been awarded the development project of this strategic facility, for which it has committed USD500 mn to build two new berths.

Before the 2020 Presidential election US President prods China into concluding a trade deal .

Washington : Face even more difficult negotiations during his potential second term, warned US President, Mr Donald Trump, if China doesnot do a trade deal before the US Presidential election in November 2020. Trump wrote in a tweet, “Think what happens to China when I win. The deal would get MUCH TOUGHER!… China’s supply chain will crumble and businesses, jobs and money will be gone!” Trump also said in his tweets that the US is “doing very well in our negotiations with China”, as per a report.Beijing’s request to delay tariffs that took effect over the weekend, was rejected by Washington, the report added.
Massive project to develop ports begins in Sri Lanka Colombo: In order to transform Sri Lanka into a maritime hub in the region, the Sri Lankan government on Friday said it has begun a massive development project to further modernize its ports across the country.In a statement the government Information Department said that under this mega development project, the Port of Colombo will continue to develop its facilities for container handling by continuous addition of capacity, advanced handling and processing technology.

More than 12% increase in Port of Amsterdam Transhipment in the first half-year.

AMSTERDAM: In the first half of 2019, transhipment in the North Sea Canal Area of the seaports of Amsterdam, IJmuiden, Beverwijk and Zaanstad rose to 54.1 mn tonnes, an increase of 7%. This was the result of an increase in transhipment in the first six months of this year in the port of Amsterdam by 12.3% to 45.4 mn tonnes – another record. In IJmuiden, transhipment fell by 12.3% to 8.5 mn tonnes, Beverwijk recorded a 23% increase to 349,000 tonnes and in Zaanstad transhipment fell by 13.2% to 72,000 tonnes.
Records Both liquid and dry bulk and containers caused the increase in Amsterdam in the first half of the year. Liquid bulk transhipment rose by 10.6% to 25.9 mn tonnes. The 13.8% increase in dry bulk was caused by an increase in the transhipment of coal (23%) and grains (21%) to 17.8 mn tonnes. The increase in coal transhipment can be attributed to exports to non-traditional markets but this is not expected to be structural. The increase should also be seen in the context of the sharp fall in recent years. Partly due to Samskip’s short sea liner service that the port of Amsterdam focuses on transhipment in the number of containers also increased by 35%.
Decreases Also offsetting these records were decreases, including in break-bulk (down 20%). There was also a fall in the number of seagoing cruise ships visiting Amsterdam in the first half of the year. In 2019 this was 51, compared to last year’s 74. A number of vessel owners moving to IJmuiden or Rotterdam due to the introduction of the tourist tax for transit calls on 1 January 2019. In the first half of the year the number of river cruise ships that put into Amsterdam was 1,189, compared to 1,272 a year earlier. This decrease was also caused by the tourist tax. The difference of 83 relates to transit calls. Like sea cruises, these cruise ships are also subject to tourist tax.
Remainder of 2019Koen Overtook, CEO of Port of Amsterdam: ‘After record transhipments in 2018, 2019 has also got off to a very good start. We expect the situation to stabilize in the second half of the year. The increase in coal transhipment has to do with favorable coal pricing conditions. The seasonal build-up of coal stocks later in the year is usually reflected in the transhipment figures. Last year also saw a significant decline in coal transhipment for the German hinterland due to the low water level. Growth in liquid bulk is expected to continue under the current favorable market conditions. We also expect to see further growth in general cargo.’