1 [xiù cai - sju tsai] ( 31 ) Einblicke in die Welt der Chinesen für die Freunde des Ostasieninstituts der FH Ludwigshafen Europa-Tournee des chinesischen Premier Auch hier -wie immer- verkehrte Welt: Der Deutsche spreizt die Finger bei der herzlichen (aber der Öffentlichkeit weitgehend verborgenen) Umarmung, der Chinese hält sie eng beieinander. Welche Botschaft wollen uns die beiden Staatsmänner damit senden? -Presseschau South China Morning Post, ASSOCIATED PRESS in Rome 2004/05/08 Charges removed Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday said Beijing would remove extra charges for Italian buyers of coke - a crucial raw material for steel makers - as part of a broader effort to improve trade ties with Italy. The world's largest supplier of coke, the mainland imposed an export licence that raised the cost of buying the material threefold since last year. Mr Wen's pledge to sell coke to Italian steel makers at market prices, made at a Rome conference of business leaders attended by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, is part of a wider effort to boost trade relations between the two nations. Die Welt 2004/05/08 China könnte bald wieder Waffen aus der EU importieren Brüssel - Die EU und China haben in Brüssel mehrere bilaterale Abkommen unterzeichnet. Dabei geht es um eine bessere Zusammenarbeit der Zollbehörden, um Erleichterungen im Handel und um den Kampf gegen Produktpiraterie. Außerdem
2 wollen Brüssel und Peking den Kampf gegen den Terrorismus besser koordinieren, sagte Kommissionspräsident Romano Prodi. Er will außerdem den chinesischen Wunsch überprüfen, das seit 1989 geltende Waffenembargo gegen Peking aufzuheben. Daran sind vor allem Deutschland und Frankreich interessiert. Prodi sagte, die EU wolle China möglicherweise den Status einer Marktwirtschaft gewähren. Dadurch würden die Handels- und Wirtschaftsbeziehungen erleichtert. Ministerpräsident Wen Jiabao betonte, sein Land sei sehr an einem Dialog mit der EU über Menschenrechte interessiert. Erst im vergangenen Jahr sei die Achtung dieser Rechte in der Verfassung verankert worden. China ist nach den USA der wichtigste Handelspartner der EU. usa South China Morning Post, STAFF REPORTER and AFP in Rome 2004/05/08 Italy presses Wen to open markets Premier Wen Jiabao reviews an honour guard upon his arrival in Rome. After three days in Italy, Mr Wen will travel to Britain. Associated Press photo Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in Italy yesterday to be greeted by calls for China to pursue democracy and open its markets to Italian businesses. Speaking to an investment forum, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said: "I would like China to be able to become a great democracy and a great, law-abiding state, in which human rights are recognised, as is the case in western He called for the mainland to open up to Italian companies and urged Italian business leaders to take an interest in the fast-growing Chinese economy. Speaking at the forum, Mr Wen, who is on the third leg of a European tour, said he welcomed Italian investment on the mainland. He added that there were willing business partners to be found in the western and northwestern parts of the country, not just in the better-known coastal areas. Mr Wen sought to impress upon his audience the close ties between the two countries, and stressed the potential for sportswear firms arising from Chinese youngsters' admiration for Italian soccer stars. "The Chinese public are familiar with Italian products. In the streets, very often you see kids wearing AC Milan or Juventus shirts. And not only small consumer products like these are popular in China; many heavy industrial products are (also popular)," 2 von 87 he said. Showing a touch of humour, he added: "There are many pizza restaurants in Beijing. My grandson goes to these restaurants every Mr Berlusconi, who also owns a corporate empire, said that if he was a young company head, he would favour China. "For that reason, I say to young businesspeople: invest in that country," he said. "The world today needs China, a country which wants to become modern. And it needs you even more in these difficult moments because of the threat of terrorism," he added, turning to Mr Wen, and apparently referring to the fact China occupies one of the five permanent seats on the UN Security Council. The Italian leader also stressed the attractiveness of Italy's market for mainland businesses. "Western people borrow money to spend; Chinese people save up all their earnings and are not willing to spend. This is not a good habit. We encourage people to spend, but of course it must be moderate," Mr Berlusconi said. The premier will spend three days in Italy, after which he will travel to Britain. During his time in Italy, Mr Wen will make a speech to the country's employers' federation and visit the Tuscan capital, Florence. Brussels,, (UPI) 2004/05/07 EU refuses to lift China arms embargo Despite intensive lobbying by China, the European Union has refused to lift a 15-year-old arms embargo against the country, The Guardian said Friday. Meeting in Brussels, Chinese prime minister, Wen Jiabao, and the president of the European commission, Romano Prodi, did sign new agreements to boost trade ties and pledged to deepen relations. Wen brought a delegation of 100 who tried, but failed to secure an end to the arms embargo imposed after the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square. France and Germany are both keen to sell sophisticated weapons to China, and argue that the issue is now of purely symbolic significance. But Britain, concerned about limits on democracy in Hong Kong, is against ending the embargo. Wen insisted China was making progress on human rights and reiterated a promise to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it signed in 1998.
3 Deutsche Welle 2004/05/07 Prodi: China and EU To Have World's Biggest Trade Ties European Commission President Romano Prodi has predicted that China and the EU will have the biggest trade relationship in the world. Prodi's comments could signal a shift in geopolitical focus - a move to diversify away from the transatlantic partnership that has traditionally been seen as Europe's most important trade relationship. During a visit to Brussels by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Prodi said he "would bet that the EU-China trade relationship will be the single biggest in the world." EU-US ties currently top the world's bilateral trade league and have a turnover of about i240 billion each year. To reach this level EU-China trade would have to almost double. After Thursday's meeting, both Prodi and the Chinese premier were keen to drive home how much the relationship is growing, pointing to the five trade and technology agreements signed today by the two sides as examples. Both men described the relationship as "a strategic partnership" and Wen called for "a strategic dialogue to further bilateral relations." To that end Prodi announced Thursday that officials will be drawing up ideas for a "completely new agreement" between the EU and China to reflect what he called "the new level of relations." (Euobserver.com) The New York Times, By KEITH BRADSHER 2004/05/07 China Anxiously Seeks a Soft Economic Landing HONG KONG, May 6 - After a decade with the economic throttle wide open, China is overheating, and the country's leaders are now grappling with ways to slow the breakneck growth without choking it off. Being able to apply the economic brakes just right to achieve what is known as a soft landing after a spectacular boom is a difficult challenge for any country. It may be doubly so for Beijing's leadership, who are fairly new to the market economy game and who lack many of the finely honed policy tools available to central bankers in the West and Japan. Indeed, economists are deeply split over whether a soft landing or a hard landing is more likely for China. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has sought to assure foreign investors that China is taking significant steps to achieve a soft landing. During a visit to Brussels on Thursday, he said that his government would 3 von 87 pursue "forceful" measures to "reduce the speed" of the economy "but not a sudden braking." He promised to slow the swift increases in the money supply and in bank lending that have fueled the recent acceleration in growth, but said that a loosening of the peg of China's currency to the dollar would have to wait for banking reforms. Much is riding on Beijing's efforts. The global recovery now depends on China as one of its twin engines, along with the United States. A hard landing - a steep decline in economic growth leading to higher urban unemployment and a sharp drop in imports - would rattle economies across Asia and around the world. But it would probably bear little resemblance to the last economic crisis in the region, the cascade of financial and currency collapses that swept through many East Asian economies (but not China) in 1997 and 1998, a memory still fresh and painful for many investors. If China runs into serious trouble, experts say this would most likely take months to unfold rather than be a financial collapse that becomes apparent in a few weeks, as happened in Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea nearly seven years ago. "The problem is more of a long-term affair," said Desmond Supple, managing director of Asian research at Barclays Capital. "If we get a hard landing, it wouldn't be anything like" the last Asian crisis. A soft landing is more probable, say agencies like the International Monetary Fund and some investment banks, with growth gradually slowing to a bit more than 7 percent annually from the 9.7 percent annual pace recorded in the first quarter of this year. Seven percent a year would still be a scorching growth rate in most economies of some size. But Chinese experts say that is the minimum the country needs just to keep urban unemployment from worsening, as millions of migrants from rural areas pour into cities, straining the social fabric and possibly sowing the seeds of political unrest. Growth of only 3 percent or 4 percent would feel like a serious economic slump, and zero growth or a contraction would be devastating, the experts say. "We don't think a really hard landing is a likely scenario" for the economy as a whole, said Huang Yiping, a Citigroup economist in Hong Kong. But there may be crashes, he said, in a small number of industries where overinvestment has been greatest, adding, "You probably will see a very, very hard landing in steel To avert such a slump, the Politburo as well as the State Council, China's
4 cabinet, have in the last two weeks each issued strong warnings about excesses in large sectors of the economy like steel, aluminum and real estate. The central bank, meanwhile, has raised bank reserve requirements twice in two months to discourage lending and is strongly hinting at its first interest rate increase since China's most important step lately, but also the hardest to fine-tune to avoid overdoing, lies in sending the police and prosecutors after local officials who have gone on pursuing grandiose projects despite warnings since June from senior economic officials in Beijing. Because China lacks functioning bankruptcy laws and foreclosure proceedings, the government must rely on criminal fraud investigations to deal with wayward companies, said Andy Xie, a Morgan Stanley economist. "Yesterday's entrepreneur is today's 'you stole money, you didn't pay taxes,' " Mr. Xie said, while adding that this approach can chill investment quickly in ways that might be hard to control. The Chinese economy faces several, more significant structural problems, some experts say. The country enjoys an immense trade surplus with the United States, with its exports exceeding imports by a ratio of eight to one. But with the world as a whole China has, fairly suddenly, slipped into deficit, in large part because it has rapidly outgrown its domestic resources - raw materials like iron ore and oil - and must now import them at prices driven up by its growing appetite. Chinese trade statistics, moreover, probably err on the rosy side. Many mainland companies exaggerate their export volume to claim tax credits. Many imports go uncounted because of widespread smuggling to avoid customs duties, which remain steep despite China's pledge to the World Trade Organization to bring them down in stages by Although official figures suggest a much milder problem, Mr. Xie estimates that China's true overall trade deficit this year will be around $90 billion - just as big, relative to the size of its economy, as the American trade deficit. China does not loom large as an export market for the United States. But many Asian nations now depend heavily on selling to China, especially after its overall imports jumped 40 percent last year. The Chinese accounted for a third of all the growth in Japan's exports, and a similar share of South Korea's, according to Stephen S. Roach, Morgan Stanley's chief economist, and they took two-thirds of the growth in Taiwan's exports. A sharp slowing of 4 von 87 growth in China would hit those economies hard. To finance its trade deficit, China must continue to attract substantial foreign investment. Unlike some Southeast Asian nations before 1997, China relies heavily on long-term investments instead of "hot money" flowing into stocks. Nor does it bear another Southeast Asian nemesis: large-scale short-term borrowing by banks in dollars to finance domestic loans. Unlike Thailand and Indonesia in 1997, China fully guarantees bank deposits, making it far less likely that the country will see crippling runs on banks by depositors demanding their money. And China still links its currency to the dollar, limits its convertibility into other currencies and imposes restrictions on large capital flows - all steps that insulate it from the global economy. But bankers here say that the way multinationals are financing their investments has changed sharply in the last two years and can increase China's vulnerability to sudden outflows of capital. Multinationals used to borrow as much as possible of their investment costs in China from Chinese banks in the local currency, known as the yuan or the renminbi. But more recently, they have borrowed in dollars or euros, betting that the yuan will appreciate in value and make it cheaper to repay their debts. Because of this change in financing, China has been hit with very large inflows of foreign currency that are being swapped for yuan. The same companies would have the legal right, under Chinese laws, to convert large amounts back into dollars to repay these debts, and might do so if China's economy becomes less attractive. Even without this risk, the last time China's economy slowed, in 1994, its foreign exchange reserves plunged. Companies resorted to a wide range of tactics, like overcharging their foreign subsidiaries for export shipments, to get money out of the country. China has immense reserves now; at more than $400 billion they are the second largest in the world after Japan's, and are believed to be invested mainly in United States Treasury securities. But some economists worry about a run on them nonetheless. "All the elements of a meltdown are evident, including balance-ofpayments risk," wrote Carl Weinberg, chief economist of High Frequency Economics, in a report on Monday. "The only question for us is when something might Others, like Liang Hong at Goldman Sachs, are more sanguine. They suggest that the government can slow some industry sectors, including real estate, without
5 harming consumer confidence too greatly, and without cutting back on investment in infrastructure to address the economy's bottlenecks. The most crucial bottleneck is electric power. Shortages have become so severe that the Chinese have begun importing power from Russia for the first time, according to a report from the official New China News Agency on Wednesday. Multinational companies, which do not depend on the country's banks to finance their projects, are still building factories in China at a brisk pace: Volkswagen and DaimlerChrysler each announced plans for additional assembly plants this week. "We're still seeing a lot of activity," said Michael G. W. Adams, head of Chinese business development for Gammon Skanska, one of Asia's largest construction companies. "In fact, our prospects have increased in recent Over all, investment in fixed assets in China rose 43 percent in the first quarter, a pace that makes the American telecommunications and Internet investment booms of the late 1990's look modest by comparison. It took the United States economy several years to work through its excesses when the bubble burst. The biggest risks are that China will find itself with another very large round of nonperforming loans, in an already limping banking system, and that economic troubles could stir political unrest. The last true hard landing in China occurred in 1989, around the time of mass demonstrations in Beijing that ended with the killings in Tiananmen Square. With that memory, Mr. Supple said, "The government's very afraid of the unemployment consequences of a hard landing." finanzen.net 2004/05/07 BP in China auf dem Vormarsch Wie am Freitag seitens des britischen Ölkonzerns BP Plc (London: BP.L - Nachrichten). mitgeteilt wurde, wird sich der CEO des Unternehmens, John Browne am Sonntag mit dem chinesischen Premierminister Wen Jiabao treffen. Über den genauen Hintergrund des Zusammentreffens wurde nichts bekannt, aber nach britischen Regierungsquellen wird die chinesische Regierung am Montag die Freigabe für Investments britischer Unternehmen in Höhe von rund 1 Mrd. Euro erteilen. BP ist derzeit bereits der am stärksten in China engagierte Ölkonzern. Rund 3 Mrd. Dollar sind seitens des Ölmultis bereits in das Reich der 5 von 87 Mitte geflossen. Ein neues Projekt des Konzerns ist die Errichtung eines Terminals für den Import von flüssigem Erdgas sowie der Bau einer dazugehörigen Pipeline. Das Investitionsvolumen wird auf 600 Mio. Dollar geschätzt. Die BP-Aktien schlossen in Frankfurt mit einem Plus von 2,57 Prozent bei 7,59 Euro. DOW JONES NEWSWIRES 2004/05/07 UPDATE:Italian PM:China Should Become A 'Great Democracy' (Adds later meeting between Berlusconi and Wen, more quotes about trade). ROME (AP)-Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi told Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday that he hoped China would become a "great democracy" with the same views on human rights as western countries. Berlusconi was speaking at a Rome conference organized by Italy's business lobby Confindustria and attended by Wen. Berlusconi said he hoped Rome could help China become "a great democracy and a great state of rights, where human rights are recognized exactly as they are recognized in Western Berlusconi and Wen spoke of their desire to improve trade relations and foster business opportunities between China and Italy. Berlusconi encouraged Italian entrepreneurs to invest in China, while Wen said Beijing would remove extra charges for Italian buyers of coke, a crucial raw material for steel makers. China is the world's largest supplier of coke, but it imposed an export license that has raised the costs of buying the material by more than three times since last year, causing headaches for European steel makers. Trade relations between Italy and China have been cool in recent years following repeated criticism of Chinese companies by Italian Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti for counterfeiting and copying Italian goods. While Berlusconi encouraged Italian businessmen to invest in China, he made reference to Tremonti's concerns. "If I'm allowed to give a piece of advice, I'd say (the Chinese government) should give incentives to companies that produce and export genuine goods, with an original trademark," he said. Wen noted that the Chinese economy grew by 9.1% in 2003 despite the SARS epidemic, but said that other countries shouldn't feel threatened. "Despite strong growth recently, China is still a developing country," Wen said. "It will take at least 50 years before China will become a semi- industrialized Berlusconi
6 later met with Wen to discuss bilateral relations. The Italian premier said after that Wen's visit had helped business between the countries, producing 700 meetings of Chinese and Italian entrepreneurs. Wen is in Italy as part of a 10-day European tour. He has already visited Germany and Belgium, and will head to the U.K. and Ireland before leaving for home on May 12. Asia Times, By Sam Ng 2004/05/07 At golf, China swings - and misses HONG KONG - The golf bug has bitten China in a big way, but despite its popularity, exorbitant green fees exclude lower-income players from taking to the fairways. That hasn't stopped rampant construction of new courses, however, and with more than it needs, and many more than it can financially support, the dollars China hoped to rake in from its courses have, instead, been buried in an increasing number of financial sand traps. Golf in China just isn't up to par. Critics call golf "green opium" as it ruins green fields that should be used for agriculture. Almost half of China's more than 200 courses are running a deficit, as hasty golf course development, coupled with the country's immature market, have led to blind land requisition and unbalanced consumption. Still, two decades after the birth of the country's first golf course in 1984, China now ranks fifth in the world and second in Asia in terms of the number of courses. In addition to the country's more than 200 operational golf links, 500 to 1,000 more are already under construction. Many investors jumped into the market in search of cheap land, which they then developed into expensive villas and golf clubs in the hope of pulling in huge returns. But as unnecessary upper-class flats and housing developments continue to pop up, critics say that such rapid development could lead to the destruction of the country's cultivated land. And the public worries that the mania might further stimulate golf- related corruption among communist party officers and other political magnates, who have wallowed in golf with public funds in the past. Thus, China may have known a money maker - golf - when it saw one, but its grand plans have not lived up to expectations. Now course owners are finding it hard to overcome their financial straits, and players complain that charges for a round of golf are just too high. Since undergoing economic reform and financial opening 6 von 87 up more than two decades ago, golf courses have mushroomed in all of China's major cities, fanning a golf fever that has grown over the years. "China has reported over 200 courses right now, with an annual increase of percent," an industry insider told Asia Times Online. "But actually, players are limited to entrepreneurs, public servants, foreigners and aficionados. Extortionate charges are the major cause of the unpopularity (and) a bottleneck to the industry's Therein lies the problem. Rising demand has led to rising prices, resulting in fewer, not greater numbers of players, and causing many courses to lose revenue. Moreover, China's inexperience in the market has limited golf to a wealthy few, including celebrities, thereby glazing the sport with an aristocratic gloss. One golf course staff member said his course "is deserted, with only a few visitors around every day. The earnings can hardly cover the maintenance costs, not to mention making profit," he said. "It is the same everywhere in But despite dismal attendance, these loss makers are still puffing themselves up, according to Global Sources Chief Executive China, a bestselling managerial magazine. As a result, China turns out looking like a novice among others in the golf market when compared with South Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand. In Malaysia, a long history of golf and the pleasant climate have led to the construction of 256 courses, outnumbering South Korea, the joint second-largest market in the region along with China and Thailand. While golf has become very popular in Malaysia, it remains relatively inexpensive - a game of golf there costs nearly three times less than it does in China: only 198 yuan (US$24) for a round during the week, and 296 yuan ($35) per round on holidays. And aside from the cost to individual players, scant attendance plus towering land rental rates also have increased the expense of golf course operations in China. The investment price for an 18-hole course now averages 153 million yuan ($18.4 million). While in its first year of operation, a golf course requires a budget of up to 300 million yuan, including staff remuneration and the costs of construction, facilities and maintenance, according to an industry player in Beijing. Tomson Golf Club, one of the leading golf clubs in Shanghai, is a case in point. Its annual revenue from membership fees, golf fees and relevant catering income only reaches around 20 million yuan, indicating a tight margin for profits, or even loss.
7 In addition to an enormous land tax, a 20 percent business tax and equipment costs, the club has to spend another big sum of money on maintenance. Amid the maintenance costs, the most expensive item is grass preservation, which involves fertilizing, spraying chemicals, such as pesticides, and, most importantly, watering. Water is expensive and chemical sprays many times have hurt the local environment. Both of these factors impose a huge cost on any golf course, a cost that is usually paid by taxpayers. At the same time, existing golf clubs depend heavily on imports when it comes to technology, equipment and even professional golfing talent. This contributes to massive operational costs, which include the planning and design of courses, equipment purchases and routine management. Gradually, an oversupplied market takes shape. China's southernmost province of Guangdong, for instance, boasts more than 60 golf courses with an average attendance rate of less than 60 percent. The same is true elsewhere in the country, and the trend is giving rise to a vicious cycle. Short of members, golf clubs are unable to cut prices to a level that is affordable for the majority of the public. At the moment, most golf clubs run on a membership system. Annual membership fees cost up to 300,000 yuan, five to six times greater than a white-collar worker's annual income. When compared to the annual salaries of the people in rural areas, which is only about 2,000 yuan, or the annual income of resident in Beijing, about 14,000 yuan, membership fees ranging from tens of thousands of yuan to hundreds of thousands of yuan impose an enormously high threshold for membership, thwarting the development of the courses and restricting the golfing patrons. If the threshold could be lowered, however, golf courses might prove an economic asset. In Southeast Asia, where golf is priced moderately, the sport has become an ideal form of recreation. As a result, it has successfully become both a game and a means of doing business among corporate executives. In countries such as Malaysia and Thailand, golf courses have become a prime arena for business circles to conduct public relations, and many multinational offices organize regular golf outings to strengthen ties with their clients. Some companies in Taiwan, South Korea and Japan even arrange business tournaments at golf resorts for their clients and employees. Generally, it costs between 65,384 yuan and 108,974 yuan to sponsor 7 von 87 a commercial match, with all expenditures included. China's booming tourism industry also could benefit from golf's rising popularity, provided that owners and developers work toward creating a healthy environment for the market with a focus on services. Critics, however, have denounced golf as a reckless venture, holding that China's economy is still not comparable to that of developed countries, where the objective of a golf club is to popularize the game, while the promotion of membership crowns it with an aristocratic halo. In China, critics argue, the number of people who can afford to play golf regularly are an extreme minority, making this objective moot. And since 50 percent of the country's golf clubs are experiencing losses, what's the point of building new ones? "Actually, golf links are not what developers want; the land is," an industry figure said. "With ample land, they (developers) can build villas and develop realty in that The latter in particular holds the biggest attraction to investors, who pump large amounts of investment into villas and golf clubs, establishing a new trend among property developers. Increasingly, golf courses in China boast unnecessary villas or high-class flats covering areas around 50,000 square kilometers. Housing developments centered around these courses also are popping up. In general, real estate surrounding a golf course is priced much higher than elsewhere, and most course developers by-produce villas, hoping the two will complement each other: while the former boosts sales of the latter, the latter returns huge costs for the former. At least, that's the theory. According to Spencer Robinson, publisher of Singapore-based Asian Golf Monthly, which has a large circulation throughout Asia, "(Chinese) developers thought that building golf courses was a license to print money; they have been very badly Still, two decades after the birth of the country's first golf course in 1984, China now ranks fifth in the world and second in Asia in terms of the number of golf courses. In addition to the country's more than 200 operational golf links, 500 to 1,000 more already are under construction, Fan Bin, vice chairman of the Beijing Golf Association said during an interview with the International Herald Leader last December. Apart from profit- seeking investors, governments also have an inescapable responsibility for the nationwide golf fever. When it comes to project authorizations, golf course construction easily gets the green light. In city
8 planning, it takes top priority, too. The official Xinhua news agency recently reported that a 142 kilometer stretch of highway was flanked with at least four golf courses, estimated to occupy at least acres - an obvious sign that course-building mania is raging outside China's cities as well. Golf courses can now be found in many small cities in Yunnan, Hebei, Hunan, Shandong and other provinces. Golf links: another step on the political ladder Some authorities at the local level believe that large-scale golf courses of good quality elevate a city's image, create a friendly atmosphere for businesses, and most important, help local politicians climb up the political ladder. This worries the public, many of whom say the mania might further stimulate golf-related corruption among communist party officers. Over the past few years, news has emerged that venal officials have wallowed in golf with public funds despite moves by former premier Zhu Rongji, who once sent out a specific order banning such fairway misconduct. Li Zheng, secretary of a communist party county committee in Hunan province, died on a golf course last November while, according to the authorities, he was engaged in an investment negotiation with some potential investors. Because it was a Saturday, a supposed public holiday for Chinese civil servants, the explanation left the public wondering why Li would have held a business negotiation at a golf club. Was he on public duty, many wondered, or just enjoying his vacation with taxpayers' money? The answer, it seems, points to another instance of golf-related misconduct among China's civil servants. Moreover, many critics have denounced the fever behind China's rampant golf course development as "green opium", luring bureaucrats to ruin tillage and scarce land that should be used for growing food. Beijing, however, has been quick to respond. When addressing a national meeting on agriculture and food supply last October, Premier Wen Jiabao vowed to implement a strict tillage protection system; one of his measures was designated to protect cultivated land from the invasion of golf. Then, on November 16, the Ministry of Land and Resources announced that five high-profile cases of illegal land requisition were under investigation. One of them involves a 46.6-acre tract of land that was illegally expropriated for golf clubs and villas in Eastern China's Shandong Province. The day after the cases were announced, the ministry issued a circular outlining measures to preserve farmland, 8 von 87 which read: "Villas and golf course projects that are against national guidelines and not in accordance with the country's current situation shall be denied land Thus, it seems that Beijing has had a taste of the possible catastrophic outcome of the overheated and unregulated golfing craze and has teed-off in the right direction, with the hope of cooling the market, improving the environment and restoring some rules to the game. ROME (AFP) 2004/05/07 Wen says China's growth no threat to rest of world Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao waved an olive branch to western industrialists as he began a three-day visit to Italy, saying China's rapid growth posed no threat to their production. The attractiveness of China's vast market for investors dominated the first day of Wen's visit as he addressed Italian industrialists with Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. But Berlusconi lost no time in criticising the flood of cheap Chinese counterfeits of Italian luxury goods flooding Italy's street markets, for long a source of Italian ire. "If I could give some advice to my colleague, I would say he should give incentives to those Chinese companies who want to export authentic products, with original design," Berlusconi said in a thinly veiled attack on Chinese fakes. Berlusconi said the Italian market was very interested in those Chinese products "which would show the originality and creativity of the country". Small businesses in Italy have long complained that their products have been counterfeited by Chinese companies. Italy's Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti has on several occasions openly criticized China in connection with counterfeiting operations and has urged Europe to take defensive action against the practice. The two prime ministers met again late on Friday for talks followed by a formal dinner at a renaissance-era villa in a park on the edge of Rome. Italy's problem with cheap Chinese fakes was likely to feature during the talks, as would Wen's offer of Chinese coke to Italian steelworks "at market prices". The offer, made during the Confindustria meeting, was welcomed by Italy's deputy industry ministry Adolfo Urso as a "commitment of great significance". Earlier, the Chinese leader demonstrated however that he would not be deterred from the key message of his European visit. "Despite the speed (of growth)
9 currently, China is still a country being developed and we need another 50 years to become a moderately developed country," Wen told the investment forum organised by Italy's manufacturers' association Confindustria. For that reason, argued Wen, China's growth "is not creating a negative impact. We are not following a policy of domination". Wen said earlier this week he would not take drastic measures to slow down China's overheating economy. The Chinese leader assured his listeners that Beijing was committed to keeping its promise to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over lowering trade barriers. "In the three-year period we have lowered customs tariffs from 15.6 percent to the 10.4 percent they are today," said Wen. Berlusconi called for both democracy and openings for Italian businesses in China, while paying tribute to Wen as saying China was fortunate to have a leader of his calibre. "I would like China to be able to become a great democracy and a great law-abiding state, in which human rights are recognized as is the case in western countries," Berlusconi told Wen, who arrived in Italy late on Thursday. He called both on China to open up to Italian industries, and on Italian business leaders to take an interest in the vast, fast-growing Chinese economy, which Wen said had grown by 9.1 percent in 2003 and 9.7 percent in the first quarter of Berlusconi, who himself is the head of a business empire, said: "If I was a young company head... I would favour China. For that reason, I say to young business people: Invest in that country. "The world today needs China, a country which wants to become Wen, who is travelling with a 80-strong commercial delegation, including several ministers, later Friday visited Finmeccanica-owned aerospace company Alenia Spazio in Rome. Wen's 11-day tour of Europe, designed to boost trade ties, began in Germany and the European Union (news - web sites) institutions in Brussels, and will take in Britain and Ireland after Italy. Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Ht. Brüssel 2004/05/07 China und die EU erörtern Wirtschaftsfragen Keine Zusagen zu Wen Jiabaos Hauptanliegen. China und die EU haben anlässlich der Visite von Ministerpräsident Wen Jiabao bei der EU-Kommission mehrere Wirtschaftsabkommen unterzeichnet. Der Besucher warb erneut für die Aufhebung des Waffenembargos. Eine von 9 von 87 Ministerpräsident Wen Jiabao angeführte hochrangige chinesische Delegation hat im Rahmen ihrer ausgedehnten Europareise am Mittwoch und Donnerstag die EU-Institutionen in Brüssel besucht. Neben einem Wirtschaftsforum standen Gespräche mit Kommissionspräsident Prodi und mehreren Kommissaren auf dem Programm. Bei den beiden erneut vorgebrachten chinesischen Hauptanliegen, der Aufhebung des von der EU 1989, nach der Niederschlagung der Demokratiebewegung, verhängten Embargos für Waffenlieferungen nach China und der Gewährung des Status einer Marktwirtschaft, blieb Wen indessen ohne konkrete Zusagen. Dissens über Waffenembargo. Über die vor allem von Frankreich befürwortete Aufhebung des Waffenembargos muss der Ministerrat (Gremium aller 25 Mitgliedstaaten) entscheiden, der in dieser Frage gespalten ist und laut Diplomaten für seinen Beschluss noch Monate benötigen dürfte. Nach Ansicht mehrerer Mitgliedstaaten muss China zuvor weitere Defizite im Bereich der Menschenrechte ausräumen. Wen sagte hingegen vor den Medien, China sei nie dafür gewesen, dass man diese Fragen miteinander verknüpfe. Zur Menschenrechtsfrage verwies er auf den hierfür von der EU und China eingerichteten (institutionalisierten) Dialog. Prodi attestierte ihm, dass hierbei von Jahr zu Jahr Fortschritte gemacht würden. Zuvor hatte er vor dem Wirtschaftsforum aber angemerkt, die europäische öffentliche Meinung glaube tendenziell, dass noch vieles zu tun bleibe. Zur Forderung nach dem Marktwirtschaftsstatus - er würde chinesischen Firmen Vorteile bei allfälligen Antidumpingverfahren der EU gewähren - bestätigte Prodi, dass die Kommission China bis Ende Juni eine vorläufige Einschätzung ohne Verbindlichkeit für das Endresultat übermitteln werde. China hat 2003 mit einem Handelsvolumen von 135 Milliarden Euro (Exporte und Importe) die Schweiz als Handelspartner der EU überholt und steht nun an zweiter Stelle hinter den USA. Zugleich verzeichnete die EU im Austausch mit China ein Handelsbilanzdefizit in der Rekordhöhe von 55 Milliarden Euro. Wirtschaftsverträge unterzeichnet. Mit dem rasanten Wachstum des Handels sind auch die Friktionen gestiegen, die von der EU zunehmend offener angesprochen werden. Prodi deutete vor dem Wirtschaftsforum unter anderem Bedenken wegen der chinesischen Wechselkurspolitik und der ungenügenden
10 Umsetzung der WTO-Verpflichtungen an; hinter verschlossener Türe brachte die Kommission vor allem die chinesischen Importrestriktionen für Koks und Hürden für den Marktzugang ausländischer Bauunternehmen zur Sprache. Auch hat Brüssel wiederholt auf den starken Anstieg der chinesischen Textil- und Bekleidungsexporte hingewiesen, der die EU- Textilindustrie und bisherige Importeure aus den Entwicklungsländern bedrängt. Mit der endgültigen Abschaffung der Quoten für den Textilhandel per 1. Januar 2005 dürfte sich das Problem akzentuieren. Vor diesem Hintergrund lancierten die beiden Seiten am Donnerstag ein Dialogforum, das sich dem Textilhandel widmen und potenziellen Handelskonflikten vorbeugen soll. Mit der Unterzeichnung weiterer Schriftstücke wurde ein *hochrangiger Handelspolitik-Dialog+ ins Leben gerufen und die Teilnahme Chinas am Galileo-Satelliten-Navigationsprogramm bekräftigt. Paraphiert wurde ein Abkommen über Zusammenarbeit und gegenseitige Amtshilfe im Zollbereich, das nicht nur die Zollverfahren vereinfachen, sondern auch den Kampf gegen Zollbetrug und Produktfälschung und -piraterie stärken soll. China gilt als eines der wichtigen Herkunftsländer von Fälschungen. EU- Wettbewerbskommissar Monti und der chinesische Handelsminister Bo Xilai signierten ferner eine Rahmenvereinbarung als Grundlage für einen formalen Dialog über das Kartellrecht und dessen Durchsetzung, die Fusionskontrolle in einer globalisierten Wirtschaft und ähnliche Themen. DOW JONES NEWSWIRES 2004/05/07 Chinese Premier To Meet UK's Blair For Talks Monday LONDON (AP)-Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrives in the U.K. Sunday for talks with the U.K. government, officials said Friday. Prime Minister Tony Blair's office said he would meet Wen Monday, and that the two leaders planned a news conference later in the day. Asked if issues such as Tibet and human rights would be on the agenda, a spokeswoman for Blair said: "We've got difference but it is a mature relationship that we have with the Chinese government, and we can have a dialogue about those and China is making some progress in this area. A Hong Kong, a former U.K. colony, was also likely to be on the agenda, said the spokeswoman, who briefed reporters on condition 10 von 87 of anonymity. The U.K. last week expressed concern about China 's decision to block direct elections in Hong Kong. Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell said Beijing's decision was inconsistent with the Joint Declaration, which set out Hong Kong's return to China in The U.K., which handed Hong Kong back to mainland China in 1997 after 156 years of colonial rule, says it has a political and moral responsibility to the territory and wants to see democratic elections there. In the Joint Declaration, London and Beijing agreed on a mini-constitution, the Basic Law, which preserved freedoms of speech, press and assembly, the rule of law and other rights that make Hong Kong in many ways like a Western society. Wen, who is on a 10-day trip through Europe, also plans to visit Ireland before returning home Wednesday. Bloomberg 2004/05/06 Greenspan Says China Slowdown to Push Prices Lower (Update1) A slowdown in China's economy will push global commodities prices lower, restraining inflation, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said. The U.S. central banker's forecast came as Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said he's taking steps to slow growth. Greenspan told a bankers' conference in Chicago that increasing exports from countries such as China and India have helped curb global price increases. ADomestic economies are increasingly exposed to the rigors of international competition and comparative Greenspan told the Conference on Bank Structure and Competition at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago via satellite from his Washington office. ALower prices for some goods and services produced by our trading partners have competitively suppressed domestic price The remarks reflect the view of Fed policy makers, who have said that they see little immediate threat of inflation. On Tuesday, they held their benchmark interest rate at 1 percent, a 46-year low, and said Along- term inflation expectations appear to have remained well China Concerns Investors including Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett, 73, and Bill Gross, 60, chief investment officer at Pacific Investment Management, said before Tuesday's meeting that the U.S. central bank should raise rates to head off inflation. Fueled by
11 demand from China, the price of commodities has surged the past year. Copper has climbed 70 percent, zinc 38 percent, and nickel 38 percent. The Fed chairman said commodity prices are most likely to fall as China's economic growth slows, which is an Aeasy to make, he said. AChinese authorities are working assiduously to slow the rate China's Wen, visiting Brussels today, said he needs to Areduce the of growth without causing a slump in the world's seventh-largest economy. China has told banks to curb lending for makers of cars, cement and steel to stem the momentum. The economy rose by 9.7 percent in the first quarter, compared to the same period a year ago. That followed 9.9 percent growth in the final three months of last year. Increases the past year in commodities such as copper, scrap steel, lead, zinc, and tin Aseem to be attributable to the increased marginal demand coming out of he said. Some of these gains might represent inventory accumulation, he said. A slowing of China's growth Ais of necessity going to feed back into some other markets and I would say that commodity markets will be at the forefront of this Copper for July delivery declined 1.10 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $1.231 a pound at 12:22 p.m. on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices earlier had reached $1.254, the highest for a most-active contract since April 21. AWe all knew China wanted to slow down the economy, but having Greenspan say it makes it official in the eyes of said Donald Selkin, head of research at Joseph Stevens & Co., a New York brokerage. AIt's like the pope's In a far-ranging speech that also addressed budget deficits and household debt, the Fed chairman said that while economists' understanding of globalization is the speed at which it has developed is unlikely to continue indefinitely. AI indicated in testimony to the Congress that the outlook for the next year or two has materially Greenspan said. ABut the outlook for the latter part of this decade remains opaque because it is uncertain whether this transitional paradigm, if that is what it is, is already far advanced and about to slow, or whether it remains in an early, still vibrant stage of The Fed's preferred inflation measure, the personal consumption expenditures price index minus food and energy, rose 1.4 percent for the 12 months ending March, up from 1.2 percent in February. The consumer price index rose von 87 percent for the 12- month period ending in March. The Fed chairman also said that globalization has helped defuse financial imbalances, such as the U.S. current account deficit. He praised credit derivatives as an effective source of risk diversification for banks, and said wasn't opposed to loans by non-banks. AI would prefer that risk be taken by those who have capital to Greenspan said. AI see nothing wrong with nonbank institutions Greenspan, 78, said concerns over the impact of rising interest rates on indebted consumers Acannot readily be AThe combination of exceptionally low saving rates and historically high ratios of household debt to income can be a concern if incomes unexpectedly the Fed chairman said. Because most household debt is at fixed rates, consumers may be cushioned against rising interest rates, the Fed chairman said. AShort of a period of overall economic weakness, households, with the exception of some highly leveraged subprime borrowers, do not appear to be faced with significant financial Greenspan said. The Fed chairman said there is Aat least the of a housing bubble in some markets. AA softening of housing markets would likely be one of the many adjustments that would occur in the wake of an increase in interest he said. Brüssel (dpa) 2004/05/06 China bekräftigt in Brüssel Wunsch nach Ende des Waffenembargos Chinas Premier Wen Jiabao ist erstmals zu Besuch bei der EU in Brüssel. Dabei bekräftigte er den Wunsch nach einem Ende des Waffenembargos. Sein Land strebe außerdem an, von der EU den Marktwirtschaft-Status zu erhalten, sagte Wen nach einem Gespräch mit Kommissionspräsident Romano Prodi. Diese Lösung werde beiden Seiten weiterhelfen, so der Premier. Sollte China den Status erhalten, könnten Wirtschafts- und Handelsbeziehungen erleichtert werden. Der Fonds 2004/05/06 Fondsmanager: China bleibt Rohstoffmotor Der April war nicht der Monat der Edelmetalle: Goldpreis minus 9,1 Prozent, Platin minus 12, 7 Prozent, Palladium minus 13,5 Prozent und am schlimmsten erwischte es Silber mit einem
12 Preisverfall von 25,6 Prozent. Aber auch die Aktien von Minengesellschaften verloren im Schnitt 20 Prozent. Trotzdem ist Craton-Fondsmanager Joachim Berlenbach für die Zukunft optimistisch. `Diese panischen Verkäufe resultieren aus den Befürchtungen, dass Chinas Rohstoffhunger gedeckt sein könnte. Dem ist sicher nicht so", sagt der Fondsmanager des Craton Capital Precious Metal Fund (WKN ) in einem aktuellen Marktausblick. Der Preisverfall habe auch etwas Gutes, die Spekulanten hätten sich vorerst zurückgezogen. Auslöser des Verkaufsdrucks waren Äußerungen des chinesischen Staatschefs Wen Jiabao, wonach die Regierung die Wirtschaft des Landes langsam drosseln werde. Für Berlenbach eine vernünftige Aussage: `Selbst mit einem reduzierten Wachstum von immer noch 5 bis 6 Prozent über die nächsten Jahre wird Chinas Rohstoffnachfrage die Preise weiter positiv beeinflussen. Das Land bleibt ein Motor für den Rohstoffbereich", so Berlenbach. An seinem erst im November vergangenen Jahres aufgelegten Craton-Fonds ist der Verfall der Edelmetallpreise nicht spurlos vorüber gegangen. Mit einem Minus von 19,83 Prozent seit Auflegung liegt er jedoch noch rund vier Prozentpunkte über seiner Benchmark, dem FT Gold Mines Index. INFO: Craton-Geschäftsführer Joachim Berlenbach ist Geologe und Goldanalyst wurde er zum Goldanalyst des Jahres gewählt. Der Craton Capital Precious Metal Fund wurde im November 2003 nach liechtensteinischem Recht aufgelegt und im Januar 2004 zum Vertrieb in Deutschland zugelassen. (Quelle: DER FONDS) Brüssel (AP) 2004/05/06 Chinesischer Regierungschef bei EU-Kommissionspräsident Prodi Der chinesische Ministerpräsident Wen Jiabao ist am Donnerstag in Brüssel zu Gesprächen mit EU-Kommissionspräsident Romano Prodi und Handelskommissar Pascal Lamy zusammengetroffen. Wen und Prodi wollten ein Abkommen über eine Zusammenarbeit der chinesischen und europäischen Zollbehörden unterzeichnen, das den Export gefälschter Markenartikel aus China unterbinden soll. Die Fälschungen kosten westliche Unternehmen nach Einschätzung von Handelsverbänden rund 16 Milliarden Dollar (13 Milliarden Euro) pro Jahr. 12 von 87 Prodi wollte nach Angaben aus Kommissionskreisen ausserdem darauf dringen, dass China die UN-Bürgerrechtskonvention ratifiziert. Peking hatte die Konvention bereits vor sechs Jahren unterzeichnet, ohne Ratifikation kann sie aber nicht in Kraft treten. Auf der Tagesordnung standen ausserdem die Olympischen Spiele in Peking im Jahr Handelskommissar Lamy möchte, dass China die Ausschreibung von Bauprojekten für das Grossereignis auch auf europäische Unternehmen ausdehnt. By CONSTANT BRAND, Associated Press Writer 2004/05/06 China Tells EU Not to Link Trade, Rights BRUSSELS, Belgium - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told European Union (news - web sites) officials Thursday they are making an economic mistake to link China's progress on human rights to lifting a 15-year arms embargo and the official recognition of China as a market economy. The EU imposed the arms embargo after China's 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square. Wen told European Commission (news - web sites) President Romano Prodi that the 25-nation EU should drop its human rights stance, noting that other countries have already done so and stood ready to benefit from more trade. "From the very beginning we have not been in favor of the view that these two issues should be linked with human rights or other political issues," Wen told a joint press conference at the end of a two-day visit to EU headquarters. Wen said EU approval of China's market economy status within the World Trade Organization (news - web sites) and the dropping of the ban on the arms trade "will do good not only to China but also to the European He said his government had made good on commitments to implement international human rights standards. "The Chinese side has all along attached great importance to respecting and safeguarding human rights," he said. "As a matter of fact, China and the European Union have successfully conducted 17 rounds of human rights dialogues which proved to be quite Prodi agreed that those two-way talks had made "progress" but could not commit the EU to lift the embargo. Despite recent pressure from France and Germany, which are keen to sell sophisticated weapons to China, EU officials have said that no agreement was likely any time soon.
13 Prodi said the EU would speed up examining China's request to be given market economy status, and said a preliminary judgment could come next month. If the EU rules China has met its criteria, it would make it harder for the Europeans to hit back at China for dumping cheap products onto their market. At their meeting, China and the EU signed four trade and custom cooperation agreements, with the aim of creating, as Prodi put it, "the single biggest" trading relationship "in the world." South China Morning Post, REUTERS in London 2004/05/06 Demand for iron ore rises despite fears for economy Beijing may have pledged to take forceful action to cool the economy, but the world's second-largest iron ore producer, Rio Tinto, has seen no let-up in demand from the mainland. It is also continuing to upgrade the estimated demand from the country. "We have seen no slowdown in demand whatsoever there," said Ian Bauert, head of iron ore marketing for Australian giant Tinto. "If we had another 10 million tonnes of iron ore we would sell it tomorrow. We are not seeing any fall-off Fears that mainland demand could soon falter were stoked last week when Premier Wen Jiabao said inflationary pressure was mounting, especially in the prices of raw materials, which were climbing too rapidly. "We're focused on and are aware of this issue. We need to take effective and very forceful measures to resolve these problems as soon as possible," Mr Wen said. Iron ore is used to make steel, a key building block for a rapidly growing economy such as the mainland's, where growth shot up by almost 10 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier. The nation is the world's largest importer of iron ore. Asked about Mr Wen's remarks, and reports that steel mills on the mainland had begun hoarding iron ore, Mr Bauert said customers had become cautious about paying higher prices and that some domestic iron ore was being stockpiled. He attributed the stockpiling, in part, to internal transport problems that had interrupted domestic iron ore supplies. But he added: "In terms of imports, there's no slowdown being seen at Rio Tinto upgraded its estimate of mainland steel consumption by almost a third to about 390 million tonnes by 2010, based on the country's economic growth continuing at about 8 per cent and steel use growing in line 13 von 87 with the economy. South China Morning Post, JOSEPHINE MA in Brussels 2004/05/06 Wen hints at pricking bubbles in economy The EU's foreign affairs chief Javier Solana greets Mr Wen in Brussels yesterday. Agence France-Presse photo The mainland would prefer to prick any bubbles in the economy earlier rather than later, Premier Wen Jiabao said yesterday. Mr Wen, arriving in Brussels on the second leg of his European tour, acknowledged that certain sectors would be affected as the government took steps to cool the sizzling economy. "If they (investment projects) are just bubbles, it will be better for the economy as a whole that they burst early rather than late," he said. He conceded that Hong Kong could also be affected as the mainland economy slowed down, noting, however, that the city would benefit in the long run. Earlier, in an address to European leaders at a business forum in Berlin, Mr Wen said the central government would not take drastic action to curb investment. He compared managing the economy to handling a luxury car. "It is like driving a Benz at high speed. (It) is so fast that we cannot (fully) apply the brakes," he said. "We can only touch the pedal lightly to slow The nation's economic boom - and how the central government plans to prevent overheating - has caused international concern. On Monday, Joseph Yam Chi-kwong, chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, warned that the city could be particularly hard hit if the mainland's economy lost too much momentum. Mr Wen will take part in an Sino-EU business conference today, which will also be attended by the president of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, and EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, before heading to Italy. The Standard, Olivia Chung 2004/05/06 Beijing >not likely' to raise rates right away Beijing is unlikely to raise interest rates immediately after the Labour Day Agolden holiday although rate rises are inevitable in helping to cool down the economy, an economist said yesterday. Richard Leung, head of the China division of DBS Bank, said he very much doubted recent market speculation that China's central bank will raise interest rates right after the holiday this
14 week. AThis is because raising interest rates will affect all economic sectors across the board and this is exactly what the Chinese government would like to he said. AThe central government has sent inspection teams across the country to check industries crowded with excessive investment and projects launched without approval of the authorities. This signals that the Chinese government is trying to cool selected sectors instead of all sectors. AHowever, raising interest rates is an across- the-board measure which would affect all industries and in all he said. Leung's comments were echoed by mainland officials. Cheng Siwei, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, said that the mainland is applying macro-level economic adjustment and control measures because it did not want to apply the brakes Aacross the He said the aim of the control measures was to achieve a soft landing. AWith the nation's heavy reliance on imported crude oil and steel as well as energy shortages, macro-level economic adjustments are a must. But given past experience and lessons, the measure cannot be applied across the he said. Cheng said the macro-level economic controls would have an impact on Hong Kong's economy and the world economy in the short term. AFor example, the stocks of steel and cement drop. But I do not believe the measure would have a big impact on the he said. Premier Wen Jiabao said in Berlin that China's current economic adjustment would help Hong Kong's development. Leung explained that Beijing sought to target some industries and some places while staying away from others. AIn fact some other industries and areas still need investment, so the Chinese government would like to watch the situation for a couple of more months before doing anything drastic. AFor example, the central bank just increases reserve requirement ratios. Beijing needs some time to see whether the measures are Leung said. He said a rise in interest rates was inevitable but it might be a couple of months before that happens. The Standard, Staff reporter 2004/05/06 Wen gives lesson in love A Chinese person unable to love the motherland is simply incapable of love itself, according to Premier Wen Jiabao. Speaking to the Chinese 14 von 87 community in Berlin yesterday, he said Chinese whether born on the mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macau are one and the same and should take pride in their country. Wen said Chinese who did not love their country did not know how to love. AThe colour of our skin is the Wen said. AWe should not forget our mother country. AThose who do not love their mother country simply cannot love Wen also said China had hopes of being a world superpower. AOur motherland needs development, peace and unification. AWe need to become stronger so as to become the top nation in the In an earlier meeting with Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit, Wen said it was inevitable the mainland and Taiwan would be reunited, pointing to the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990 as an example. He moved to the Belgian capital of Brussels last night where he was scheduled to meet European Commission president Romano Prodi in an attempt to strengthen Sino- European ties. Over the past couple of months, a row over patriotism has erupted in Hong Kong between democrats and pro-beijing political figures. State-run Xinhua News Agency and some pro-beijing figures have accused democrats of being unpatriotic and not qualified to lead Hong Kong. The patriotism debate escalated with some Beijing officials condemning former Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee as a traitor for testifying at a United States Senate hearing on the future of Hong Kong's political development. Berliner Zeitung 2004/05/06 Jubel-Chinesen verdecken die Regimekritiker Der chinesische Ministerpräsident Wen Jiabao besucht Berlin / Austauschstudenten aus Leipzig begrüßen ihn, Eva Dorothée Schmid. Eine halbe Stunde bevor der chinesische Ministerpräsident Wen Jiabao am Dienstag von seinem Besuch bei Bundespräsident Johannes Rau im Schloss Bellevue zurück ins Hotel Adlon kommt, werden dort zwei Busladungen junger Chinesen angekarrt. Manche tragen die rote chinesische Flagge am Revers, andere haben sie sich auf die Backe geklebt und alle schwenken chinesische Fähnchen. "Das sind die Jubel- Chinesen, die dürfen hinter die Sicherheitsabsperrung", sagt Renate Lilge- Stodieck, Berliner Falun-Gong-Praktizierende. Sie steht mit rund 20 anderen Falun- Gong-Anhängern seit halb neun gegenüber dem Hotel, in dem Wen
15 Jiabao mit seiner Delegation übernachtet. Bis 22 Uhr halten sie vor dem Hotel Mahnwache, außerdem stehen sie vor dem Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und gegenüber der chinesischen Botschaft an der Jannowitzbrücke. Ein Plakat trägt die Aufschrift "Willkommen Wen Jiabao", andere "Stoppt die Verfolgung von Falun Gong in China" und "Stellt Jiang Zemin vor Gericht". Die Bewegung ist in China verboten und wird verfolgt. Einige Teilnehmer der Mahnwache meditieren barfuß zu sphärischen Klängen aus kleinen Lautsprechern. Auf dem Bürgersteig liegen Schalen mit Plastikblumen und Fotos von chinesischen Falun-Gong-Mitgliedern, die in Gefängnissen durch Folter gestorben sind. "Wir sind nicht gegen die Regierung, wir wollen keinen Druck ausüben, sondern nur auf die Verfolgung unserer Mitglieder in China aufmerksam machen und den Ministerpräsidenten bitten, die Verfolgung zu beenden", sagt Wolfgang Blau, Organisator der Mahnwache. Ob Wen Jiabao die friedlich demonstrierenden Falun Gong-Anhänger wahrnimmt, ist allerdings fraglich. "Wir werden unsichtbar gemacht", sagt Lilge-Stodieck. Als der Ministerpräsident vorfährt, stehen unzählige Polizeimannschaftswagen vor den Demonstranten. Limousinenchauffeur Oliver Böhm erzählt: "Gestern haben sie die Chinesen mit den Fahnen in zwei Gruppen aufgeteilt. Die einen standen vor den Falun-Gong-Leuten, die anderen vor den Tibet-Aktivisten." Letztere demonstrieren mit tibetischen Flaggen ein paar Meter neben den Leuten von Falun Gong. Die Fahnen schwenkenden Chinesen, die erst für das chinesische Fernsehen posieren und dann den Ministerpräsidenten mit Fahnen begrüßen, sind Austauschstudenten, die in Leipzig studieren. Einer sagt, dass sie vom Ministerpräsi- denten eingeladen wurden und sich mit ihm im Hotel treffen. Im Gegensatz zum Besuch von Jiang Zemin vor zwei Jahren, läuft im Hotel Adlon dieses Mal alles weitgehend normal. Damals wurde die Lobby jedes Mal geräumt, wenn der chinesische Staatsgast durchging. Jetzt dürfen die Gäste sitzen bleiben. Außerdem ist das Hotel für Hotelgäste und Restaurantbesucher zugänglich. Chinesen ohne speziellen Ausweis dürfen das Hotel allerdings nicht betreten und zu der Etage, in der die Chinesen wohnen, haben nur ausgewählte Angestellte Zutritt. Nur wenn der chinesische Ministerpräsident ein- und ausgeht, werden kurzfristig der Bürgersteig und die Straße 15 von 87 abgeriegelt. Wegen des Staatsbesuchs herrscht in Berlin am Dienstag Sicherheitsstufe zwei. Am Nachmittag trifft Wen Jiabao dann Bürgermeister Klaus Wowereit im Roten Rathaus. Anschließend trägt sich der chinesische Gast in das Goldene Buch der Stadt ein und weiter geht's zum Abgeordnetenhaus, wo er von Parlamentspräsident Walter Momper begrüßt wird. Heute um 8.30 Uhr verlässt er nach seinem dreitägigen Besuch Berlin und fliegt weiter nach Brüssel. Brüssel (AP) 2004/05/06 China will Menschenrechtsfrage von Handelsbeziehungen trennen Der chinesische Ministerpräsident Wen Jiabao hat die Europäische Union aufgefordert, Wirtschaftsbeziehungen und Rüstungslieferungen nicht von der Menschenrechtslage in seinem Land abhängig zu machen. *Von Anfang an waren wir nicht der Ansicht, dass diese beiden Fragen mit den Menschenrechten und anderen politischen Fragen verknüpft werden sollten+, sagte Wen am Donnerstag auf einer gemeinsamen Pressekonferenz mit EU-Kommissionspräsident Romano Prodi in Brüssel. Prodi bestätigte, dass es in den bisher 17 Runden eines offiziellen Menschenrechtsdialogs Fortschritte gegeben habe. Er erklärte aber, dass er nichts zur Aufhebung des 1989 nach der Niederschlagung der Demokratiebewegung auf dem Pekinger Platz des Himmlischen Friedens verhängten Waffenembargos sagen könne. Dies sei Sache der Staats- und Regierungschefs. Vor allem Deutschland und Frankreich setzen sich für eine Aufhebung ein. Wen sagte, wenn die EU ihre Haltung ändere, würde sie das in eine Lage bringen, in der sie nur gewinnen könne. *Viele Länder haben Interesse gezeigt, diese beiden Fragen zu lösen. Was den konkreten Nutzen angeht, den sie bekommen - das erklärt sich von selbst+, sagte er. Prodi hatte sich zuvor bei der Unterzeichnung mehrerer Zoll- und Handelsabkommen zuversichtlich gezeigt, dass die EU und China ihren Wirtschaftsaustausch zum *weltweit grössten Einzelvolumen+ zwischen zwei Partnern ausbauen könnten. Darauf wette er sogar. Wen sagte, seine Regierung werde die Zusammenarbeit weiter fördern. Ein Abkommen über Zoll-Kooperation soll beispielsweise die Produktpiraterie chinesischer Hersteller
16 eindämmen, durch die westlichen Firmen jährlich 16 Milliarden Dollar Schaden entsteht. Auf der Tagesordnung standen ausserdem die Olympischen Spiele in Peking im Jahr Handelskommissar Pascal Lamy möchte, dass China die Ausschreibung von Bauprojekten für das Grossereignis auch auf europäische Unternehmen ausdehnt. Insgesamt zog Prodi eine positive Bilanz der Gespräche mit Wen, der seine Europareise am Sonntag in Deutschland begonnen hatte. Bis zum kommenden Mittwoch besucht Wen noch Italien, Grossbritannien und Irland. Brüssel (AP) 2004/05/06 China und EU wollen Wirtschaftsbeziehungen ausbauen Der Handel zwischen der EU und China soll nach den Worten von EU- Kommissionspräsident Romano Prodi zum *weltweit grössten Einzelvolumen+ zwischen zwei Partnern ausgebaut werden. Bei einem Treffen mit dem chinesischen Ministerpräsidenten Wen Jiabao sagte er am Donnerstag in Brüssel, er wette darauf, dass China und die EU dies erreichten. Wen sagte zur Unterzeichnung mehrerer Zoll- und Handelsabkommen, seine Regierung werde die Zusammenarbeit weiter fördern. Ein Abkommen über Zoll-Kooperation soll beispielsweise die Produktpiraterie chinesischer Hersteller eindämmen, durch die westlichen Firmen jährlich 16 Milliarden Dollar Schaden entsteht. Auf der chinesischen Wunschliste steht dagegen die Aufhebung eines Waffenembargos, das die EU 1989 nach der Niederschlagung der Demokratiebewegung auf dem Pekinger Platz des Himmlischen Friedens verhängte. Prodi sagte, es sei Sache der 25 Mitgliedstaaten, darüber zu entscheiden. Auf der Tagesordnung standen ausserdem die Olympischen Spiele in Peking im Jahr Handelskommissar Pascal Lamy möchte, dass China die Ausschreibung von Bauprojekten für das Grossereignis auch auf europäische Unternehmen ausdehnt. Insgesamt zog Prodi eine positive Bilanz der Gespräche mit Wen, der seine Europareise am Sonntag in Deutschland begonnen hatte. Bis zum kommenden Mittwoch besucht Wen noch Italien, Grossbritannien und Irland. 16 von 87 DOW JONES NEWSWIRES 2004/05/06 China PM Arrives In Italy; Follows EU Mtg On Human Rights ROME (AP)-Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in Italy on Thursday for a three-day official visit focusing on trade and political talks. Wen arrived from Brussels, where he told top E.U. officials on Thursday they were making a mistake to link progress in China 's human rights record to lifting a 15-year arms embargo and the official recognition of China as a market economy. The Chinese leader has meetings planned with Premier Silvio Berlusconi and other top Italian officials. He is also due to visit Tuscany over the weekend before leaving Sunday. Wen is on a 10- day trip through Europe to boost economic and political ties and clean up Beijing's human rights image, which has been tarnished in the wake of the 1989 crackdown pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square. The E.U. embargo was imposed after the crackdown. After Italy, Wen heads to Britain and Ireland before leaving for home May 12. DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Edited Press Release 2004/05/06 Arcelor Signs Pdt,Tech Supply Contracts With China BRUSSELS - World steel giant Arcelor (5786.FR) Thursday signed agreements to supply Chinese firms with steel technology and stainless products. Arcelor Stainless International agreed a framework contract with Minmetals Steel, China 's largest trader and importer of steel products, that should lead to the supply of stainless hot and cold rolled coils to China for a value of $65 million per year. The deal will strengthen the existing trade relationships that the two companies have maintained for two decades. Separately, Arcelor's engineering unit, Paul Wurth S.A., will supply EUR8.6 million worth of equipment, technology and assistance to Wuhan Iron and Steel Corporation for a new blast furnace. The deals were signed at the EU-China Business Forum which took place in Brussels. Wen Jiabao, prime minister of China, Romano Prodi, President of the E.U. Commission attended the forum. Paul Wurth CEO Marc Solvi said: "This contract confirms again the capability of Paul Wurth to provide leading edge steel technology and support to its
17 customers on a global scale. It covers the supply of a parallel hopper bell-less top, a slag granulation system, a gas cleaning plant, tap hole drills and a pulverized coal injection system. DOW JONES NEWSWIRES 2004/05/06 China Asks EU For Mkt Econ Status To Stop Dumping Duties BRUSSELS - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao asked the European Union Thursday for "market economy status", a quality stamp that would make it harder for the E.U. to slap dumping duties on Chinese imports. With that label, Chinese companies would be able to price their goods in Europe more aggressively, trade officials said. E.U. business groups argue that granting the status would disadvantage E.U.-made goods. The "market economy" dispute was a key issue during Wen's meeting with E.U. Commission President Romano Prodi. Wen said a market economy designation would symbolize China 's emergence as an accepted global trading power. Prodi promised a reply from the E.U. by the end of June. The Commission's trade office is currently investigating the issue. The U.S. doesn't consider China a market economy. But when Vice President Dick Cheney visited Beijing last month, he agreed that Washington would reconsider. To be considered a market economy, a country must demonstrate that its businesses respect standards of accounting and independence from state control. When China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, it agreed that it wouldn't receive the label until But the Chinese government has been lobbying hard - it believes the label is an important guarantee against other countries' protectionism. China currently faces 232 separate dumping tariffs, more than any other country. Chinese exporters want protection from E.U. dumping duties. Currently, the E.U. imposes such duties on only 0.4% of goods. The problem is that the danger hangs over all E.U.-China trade - China is the E.U.'s second largest trading partner, exporting EUR94.9 billion of goods in 2003, up 15.9% on "The threat of a dumping duty affects all Chinese goods coming to Europe," said Richard Weiner, a Brussels- based managing partner at Sidley, Austin, Brown and Wood, and an expert in international trade. "They have to take the risk into Removing the degree of that threat "would increase their trade and allow them to price 17 von 87 more aggressively," Weiner said. The E.U. can slap tariffs on any good it considers sold at a price less than fair value in its home market. But whether a good is considered "dumped" or not can hinge on the official status of its economy. When an import comes from a market economy, the price is simply compared with its price in its home country. If it's lower, it's considered But when an import comes from a non-market economy, its price is compared with that of a similar item in a third country. This third-country price is usually much higher, Weiner said. "So it's much easier to find E.U. business groups oppose giving China the status. They argue that Chinese companies with dirt-cheap prices only survive because they receive state help, not a sign of a market economy. The E.U. can grant market economy status to individual companies but so far, the only China- based firms to get it are foreign-owned. "They're not fulfilling the criteria," said Judith Pereztasso, legal counselor for dumping issues at Cefic, a lobby group that represents the European chemicals industry. "This will put our industry in a very difficult situation," said Francesco Marchi, director of economic affairs at Euratex, a European textile lobby group. "It's clear that the Chinese do not follow international accounting standards." If the E.U. complies with the Chinese, he said, "it would be only for political reasons." DOW JONES NEWSWIRES 2004/05/06 China : EU Wrong To Link Human Rights To Econ, Arms Talks BRUSSELS (AP)-Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told European Union officials Thursday that they are making an economic mistake to link progress in human rights to lifting a 15-year arms embargo and the official recognition of China as a market economy. Wen told European Union Commission President Romano Prodi that the 25-nation E.U. should drop its human rights stance, noting that other countries have already done so and stood ready to benefit from more trade. "From the very beginning we have not been in favor of the view that these two issues should be linked with human rights or other political issues," Wen told a joint press conference at the end of a two-day visit to E.U. headquarters. He said that if the E.U. changed its position it would "secure a win-win situation. "Many countries have shown a keen interest in
18 resolving these two issues. As to the specific benefits you will get, they are self-evident," he said. Wen said E.U. approval of China 's market economy status within the World Trade Organization and the dropping of the ban on the arms trade "will do good not only to China but also to the European He said his government had made good on commitments to implement international human rights standards. Prodi said the two-way talks had made "progress" but couldn't commit the E.U. to lift the embargo, imposed after the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square. Despite recent pressure from France and Germany, which are keen to sell sophisticated weapons to China, E.U. officials have said agreement wasn't likely any time soon. Prodi said the E.U. would "improve the speed" it examined China 's request to be given market economy status. He said preliminary judgment could come next month. If the E.U. rules China has met its criteria, it would make it harder for the Europeans to hit back at China for dumping cheap products onto their market. At their meeting, China and the E.U. signed four trade and custom cooperation agreements, with the aim of creating, as Prodi put it, "the single biggest" trading relationship "in the Everything from pirated designer wear to movies and music CDs continue to flood European markets from China. The deal will offer administrative assistance to help customs officers work better together. Beijing, which joined the WTO in 2001, says it has started blocking the illegal use of trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property by Chinese companies. During talks Thursday, E.U. Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy pushed the Chinese delegation to open up bidding to European companies eager to get a piece of lucrative construction contracts for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. DOW JONES NEWSWIRES 2004/05/06 Chinese PM Eyes "Early Solution" To Currency Tensions BRUSSELS - Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said Thursday that he was "eager to see an early solution" to tensions over his country's exchange rate. But he cautioned that two conditions must be met before the yuan could be floated or revalued. "We must have a proper macro-economic situation and a prudent banking system," the Chinese leader 18 von 87 said. "We are now taking measures to create those two The Chinese currency is fixed at about 8.28 to the dollar, a peg criticized by the U.S. and, to a lesser extent Europe, as artificially low. The Chinese leader said he was ready to consider a "market oriented" reform, while maintaining what he called "basically a stable" exchange rate. He said it was a "misperception" that the yuan was pegged to the dollar. Between 1994 and 1997, China 's currency appreciated 38% against the dollar, he said. Only the Asian financial crisis at the end of the 1990s forced the yuan's trading band to be narrowed. "On this issue, we have the following two points to make: number one, we are going basically to maintain a stable renminbi, Chinese currency, at a reasonable and balanced level and, secondly, we are ready to study the possible of a renminbi exchange rate mechanism that will be market Wen spoke after meeting with European Union Commission President Romano Prodi. Currency issues were discussed by the two leaders, E.U. officials said. But the E.U. didn't press China to revalue the yuan. The E.U.'s trade deficit with China is growing but remains modest, having widened to only EUR54.9 billion last year from EUR44.8 billion four years ago, and officials believe a revaluation won't make much of a difference in balancing it out. E.U. Commission President Prodi said it was up to the Chinese to manage their exchange policy. After listening to the Chinese leader's comments, he turned to Wen and joked, "you can always enter the euro." DOW JONES NEWSWIRES 2004/05/06 Chinese PM Calls For Gradual Cooling Of Economy BRUSSELS (Dow Jones)-Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao called Thursday for a gradual cooling off of the Chinese economy. "There is a concern that the Chinese economy is overheated," Wen said to the European Union-China Investment and Trade Forum. The Chinese leader is in Brussels as part of an 11- day European tour. He said his country's economy grew 9.7% in the first quarter, pointing to a construction boom and inflationary pressure from high energy costs. He used the analogy of a driver on the autobahn in his Mercedes who must gently lift his foot from the accelerator. "We should reduce speed but we mustn't have a very sudden slowing, this is what
19 people refer to as a soft landing of the Chinese economic transformation," he said. The Chinese prime minister provided no details of how he planned to achieve such a soft landing for the economy. Human rights and trade disputes, including the growing problem of counterfeit goods from China, were top of the agenda during his talks with European Commission President Romano Prodi and E.U. Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy. The Chinese leader and Prodi signed an agreement on customs cooperation to combat piracy of goods that international trade groups estimate costs Western companies $16 billion in sales each year. Prodi also raised human rights issues and E.U. officials said he continued to press Beijing to ratify the U.N. convention on political and civil rights, which it signed six years ago. On trade, Lamy pushed the Chinese delegation to open up bidding to European companies eager to get lucrative construction contracts for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Other disputes involve Chinese limits on coke exports that are causing headaches for European steel producers. But the E.U. eased pressure on China to revalue its currency. In the past, E.U. officials and businesses have argued that China 's currency, the yuan, is pegged too low against the dollar, forcing the euro to absorb most of the dollar's fall over the past couple of years. The E.U.'s trade deficit with China is growing but remains modest, having widened to only EUR54.9 billion last year from EUR44.8 billion four years ago and officials say a revaluation of the yuan won't make much of a difference in balancing it out. E.U. Commission President Prodi said it was up to the Chinese to manage their exchange policy. "We think its up to China to define its own course when it comes to making policy adjustments, Prodi said. Frankfurt, (Reuters) 2004/05/06 mg-tochter Lurgi baut Methanolanlage in China Der zum Technologiekonzern mg technologies gehörende Anlagenbauer Lurgi wird für 90 Millionen Dollar eine Methanolanlage in der chinesischen Provinz Hainan bauen. Die Anlage solle ab 2007 täglich rund 2000 Tonnen Methanol aus Erdgas herstellen, teilte mg am Donnerstag in Frankfurt mit. Auftraggeber für diese bislang größte Anlage ihrer Art in China sei das chinesische Joint Venture CNOOC, in dem dortige Öl- und Chemiefirmen zusammengeschlossen 19 von 87 seien. Die Vertragsunterzeichnung fand den Angaben zufolge in Brüssel statt, wohin der chinesische Ministerpräsident Wen Jiabao nach seinem mehrtägigen Besuch in Deutschland gereist war. Schon während seiner Anwesenheit in Deutschland waren im Beisein Wens zahlreiche Investitionsprojekte in China vereinbart worden. mg- Vorstand Klaus Moll bewertete den jüngsten Auftrag als wichtigen Schritt zum Ausbau der Markt- und Technologieführerschaft im Bereich Methanol. Schon heute basierten rund 60 Prozent der weltweiten Methanolproduktion auf Lurgi- Technologie. bro/pag South China Morning Post, JOSEPHINE MA and AGENCIES in 2004/05/06 Trade rifts dominate Wen's agenda Trade disputes dominated the agenda as Premier Wen Jiabao began the second leg of his European tour yesterday. They ranged from product piracy to rules blocking European companies from winning construction contracts for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. After four days promoting political and business ties in Germany, Mr Wen arrived in Brussels yesterday to meet Belgian and European Union (EU) officials. The officials are worried about a ballooning trade deficit with the mainland and endemic counterfeiting that international trade groups estimate costs western companies US$16 billion in sales each year. Today, Mr Wen is due to sign a co-operation agreement which EU officials describe as a crucial step forward in stopping the piracy of goods ranging from designer wear to films and music. The deal, in the works since 1997, will offer administrative assistance to help customs officers work together. Piracy and counterfeiting was also raised on Tuesday when Mr Wen addressed a forum in Berlin. He pledged greater protection of intellectual property and said Vice-Premier Wu Yi would co-ordinate the antipiracy drive. In a written statement issued on his arrival in Brussels yesterday, Mr Wen said he was hopeful his visit would help deepen the relationship between the mainland and the EU. Describing China and the EU as "the important forces in maintaining world peace and promoting development", Mr Wen said it was in the interests of both to deepen co-operation in all areas. "This is also conducive to world peace, as well as global stability and development," he said. Earlier, Mr Wen rejected claims that China was playing the EU
20 off against the US on issues such as trade. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, who is travelling with Mr Wen, said in Berlin that the premier's visit was meant to add substance to Sino-EU relations. Mr Wen spent yesterday in Brussels meeting EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana and Belgian business and parliamentary leaders before holding talks with King Albert II and Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt. Today, he will meet European Commission president Romano Prodi and sign a customs co-operation agreement. Mr Prodi and Mr Wen were also due to discuss human rights, North Korea, Myanmar and Iraq, the European Commission said. However, the issue of the EU lifting a 15-year- old arms embargo on the mainland was not discussed yesterday when Mr Wen met Mr Solana, an EU spokesman said. The ban on weapons sales was imposed after the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square. EU officials said they would continue to press Beijing to ratify the United Nations convention on political and civil rights, which it signed six years ago. Reuters, Associated Press and Agence France-Presse By PHILLIP DAY THE WALL STREET JOURNAL 2004/05/06 Effects of China Slowdown Would Be Felt World-Wide If China sneezes, should global financial markets reach for the tissues? It wasn't long ago that China remained far removed from the daily workings of Wall Street, with a pegged currency and tight restrictions on capital flows. Now, what goes on in China has the potential to shake markets virtually anywhere. Most of Beijing's restrictions remain in place, but last week China rattled global markets after it moved to restrain bank lending on the same day that Premier Wen Jiabao said his government needs to take "very forceful measures" to ease inflationary pressures. The news itself was expected; authorities have been trying to release some steam from a fast-running Chinese economy since late last year. Nevertheless, as stock markets fell across Asia and in major centers like New York and London, and as global commodity prices dropped, analysts and traders blamed fears of a slowing Chinese economy. "The thought that a major engine of global growth may be tapping the brakes causes problems for the more cyclical parts of the stock market," said Jack Caffrey, equity 20 von 87 strategist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank in New York, at the time. It's no surprise that commodity markets or Asian markets would shudder at the thought of a Chinese slowdown. China is importing massive amounts of key commodities to feed the growth of its manufacturing and to improve its infrastructure. In 2003, China accounted for 7% of global oil consumption, and was a big consumer of other important goods: 27% of the steel used in the world last year, 31% of the coal and 40% of the cement. Indeed, Asia's hopes for growth are increasingly pinned on the idea of China 's 1.3 billion people becoming full- fledged consumers. Companies across the region have set up assembly plants in China and an increasing share of Asia's trade now either passes through China or ends up there. But should investors in New York or London react so strongly to policy moves in a country that accounts for less than 4% of global gross domestic product? "Certainly they should," says Ajay Kapur, chief Asia strategist for Citigroup's Smith Barney in Hong Kong. Mr. Kapur says that China may be a small factor in overall global economic production, but it's a major factor in global growth. He estimates that during the last five years, China has accounted for 25% of the expansion of global capital expenditure. "China is punching well above its weight in" capital expenditure, says Mr. Kapur. That means that for any large company involved in construction, raw materials, infrastructure development or industrial machinery, "if 25% of growth is coming from China, they've got to be paying A Chinese slowdown also would have global repercussions because it would hit so hard in Asia and on global commodity prices, effects that would ripple out to markets world-wide. "The coming slowdown in the Chinese economy should be viewed as a global event," Morgan Stanley chief economist Stephen Roach wrote in a report to clients Monday. "There is good reason to believe that the impacts of a sharp slowdown in the Chinese investment cycle could spread well beyond Asia," he said. If global investors are worried that a China slowdown could hurt them, it's also worth considering that China 's strengthened links to the rest of the world may actually make it tougher for Chinese officials to achieve that slowdown. So far, measures have mainly consisted of directives on lending policy for banks and repeated warnings in the official media that investments in some sectors have been getting