Sunday, November 22, 2015

China, Turkey renew 12 bln yuan bilateral currency swap deal


Hurriyet Daily -  Saturday,November 21 2015

China and Turkey will renew a currency swap deal and expand its scale, according to a statement released by the Chinese central bank on Nov. 16, as reported by Reuters.
The scale of the three-year agreement will expand to 12 billion yuan ($1.88 billion), based on the mutual consent, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said in a statement.
The move is aimed at enhancing financial cooperation and promoting bilateral trade and investment, as well as enhancing financial stability, said the statement.
The two countries signed a 10-billion-yuan currency swap agreement in 2012.
In a bid to promote the yuan, also known as the renminbi, as an international currency, China has signed currency swap agreements with 32 countries and regions, according to China’s news agency Xinhua.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sharp increase in demand for Egyptian citrus in China

FRESH PLAZA - 11/13/2015

The Egyptian company Fruttella, devoted to the cultivation and export of fresh agricultural products, will soon start the citrus campaign, and according to its CEO, Ahmed Sarhan, even though the fruit’s coloration has been delayed because of the very hot weather in Egypt, Fruttella is expecting a larger Navel harvest than last year and a similar one for the Valencia. The yield will be lower for the Valencia, but new lands coming into production will bring balance. In addition to Navel and Valencia oranges, Fruttella also produces lemon and grapefruit, for which Egypt is the world’s largest citrus suppliers, with 15% of the total. “Egypt’s citrus production will reach around 3.5 million tonnes, which is a little bit higher than last year,” says Sarhan. One of the big opportunities for growth lies in China, although this applies only to a handful of Egyptian companies, given the strict import protocols. “Temperature in the container, for example, cannot exceed 1.1 degrees Celsius for 12 consecutive days, and if it does, the Chinese authorities will refuse the container,” explains Mr Sarhan. Shipping to China can consequently be done only by companies with very strong quality controls.


China: Largest exporter of non-petroleum products to Egypt - report

 China has led the list of the largest exporters of non-petroleum products to the Egyptian market within the first half of 2015.  According to the report issued by the General Organization for Export and Import Control (GOEIC) Thursday, China has seized 15 percent of Egypt's imports within January-June 2015 with exports estimated at 35 billion Egyptian pounds (US$ 4.3 billion).  The report showed that Chinese exports to Egypt have been boosted 82 percent during the first six months of 2015 compared to 19.3 billion pounds during the same period of 2014.  According to the report, the volume of Egypt's non-petroleum imports from January-June 2015 hit 231.1 billion pounds versus 217.5 billion pounds a year earlier, marking 6 percent increase.  Following China, Germany was the second larger exporter of non-petroleum products to Egypt with exports estimated at around 20.4 billion during the first half of 2015 compared to 18 billion pounds a year earlier, registering 12.8 percent hike. 

China eyes greater cooperation with Iran's air force

REUTERS - Mon Nov 2, 2015

China wants to step up cooperation with Iran's air force, the head of the Chinese air force told his Iranian counterpart on Monday, the latest in a series of high-level military contacts.  Ma Xiaotian told Hassan Shah Safi that relations between the two air forces had developed smoothly.  "(We) hope that cooperation can go up another level," Ma said, according to a statement issued by China's Defence Ministry, which did not elaborate.  A senior Chinese admiral visited Tehran last month and last year, for the first time ever, two Chinese warships docked at Iran's Bandar Abbas port to take part in a joint naval exercise in the Gulf and an Iranian admiral was given tours of a Chinese submarine and warships.  China and Iran have close diplomatic, economic, trade and energy ties, and China has been active in pushing both the United States and Iran to reach agreement on Iran's controversial nuclear program.  Under a multilateral deal, agreed in July, sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations will be lifted in return for Iran agreeing to long-term curbs on a nuclear program that the West has suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.


Iran likely to pump gas to China

Tehran Times November 15, 2015

 TEHRAN – Iran is likely to pump gas to China via Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline once the pipeline is accomplished, according to National Iranian Gas Company’s Managing Director Hamidreza Araqi.  Iran is also ready to start gas exports to Pakistan, but the portion of the gas pipeline located within Pakistan is yet to be constructed, the IRNA news agency reported on Saturday quoting Araqi as saying.    The official said that also India is keen to import gas from Iran, but there is still some reluctance on the Indian part given that they do not want the pipeline to pass through Pakistan.    Inquired about Iran’s gas export schedules, Araqi replied that with Iran’s gas production capacity swelling to one billion cubic meters per day, there is hope for optimal gas exports.    Iran, which sits on the world’s largest gas reserves, intends to enhance gas production by increasing foreign and domestic investment, especially in its South Pars gas field.    


China's new Silk Road: boom or dust for Pakistan?

THE PENINSULA QATAR - November 15, 2015 

Sost, Pakistan: A glossy highway and hundreds of lorries transporting Chinese workers by the thousands: the new Silk Road is under construction in northern Pakistan, but locals living on the border are yet to be convinced they will receive more from it than dust.  The town of Sost is gateway to millions in customs duties, with its rickety stalls of corrugated iron engraved in Mandarin and Urdu, its cross-border secret agents and its dusty petrol station's abrupt service.  It is the first stop along a new $46 billion "economic corridor" designed by China in Pakistan.  Drivers from China arrive through the Khunjerab Pass, the world's highest paved border crossing at 4,600 metres (15,000 feet) above sea level, and unload their goods encircled by the magnificent Karakoram mountains, swirled with snow.  From there, Pakistani colleagues pick up the goods and transport them the length of the country -- currently to Karachi, some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) away on the Arabian Sea, but in the future to Gwadar, where Beijing has been given management of the port in a grand project allowing China greater access to the Middle East, Africa and Europe.


Former Investment Banker Says He'll Run China-Israel University

Li Jiange, ex-head of China International Capital, says he's been picked as chancellor of new higher education institute in Guangdong

By staff reporters Sheng Menglu and Ren Bo

CAIXIN ONLINE -  10.27.2015

(Beijing) – Li Jiange, the former chairman of China International Capital Corp. Ltd., an investment bank, says he will become the chancellor of a university co-founded by institutes in China and Israel.  The Guangdong-Technion Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT) is a joint venture between the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, a science and technology research university in Israel, and Shantou University in the southern province of Guangdong.  "I hope that through this collaboration, we can introduce Israel's advanced teaching models and creative thinking into China," Li said. "We hope to build a Chinese Silicon Valley backed by the university to promote economic transformation in Guangdong and across the country."  The school reached out to Li when the new university was initially being planned, he said.  Li has held top posts in the government's economic policymaking departments, including deputy director of the former Economics Restructuring Office and deputy director of the Development Research Center of the State Council.


Pakistan, China and Turkey ink 150 business deals


Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that it is a great opportunity to build economic ties with Turkey and China which will lead to a tremendous economic cooperation between Pakistan, China and Turkey.

Addressing on the last day of the “International Seminar on Business Opportunities in Punjab” at a local hotel on Saturday, the chief minister said that during this two-day seminar over 150 agreements had been signed between investment companies of China and Turkey and Punjab government. The agreements were signed in the fields of transport, infrastructure, industrial estate development, energy, housing and mines and minerals.

He said that China and Turkey had been extending wholehearted cooperation to various development sectors in Pakistan during the last many decades while this economic cooperation was increasing with the passage of time. He said that with the implementation of these agreements, close economic ties between Pakistani businessmen and Chinese and Turkish investors would be further strengthen.


Turkey Abandons Planned $3.4 Billion Defense Contract With China

Onur Ant Ankara Wonk

BLOOMBERG - NOV. 15, 2015

Turkey canceled a long-delayed plan to buy a missile defense system and will develop its own instead.   The country, which has the largest army in NATO after the U.S., picked China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp.’s $3.4 billion bid as the best offer in 2013. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu signed the decree to cancel the project, a government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information isn’t public.   Plans to purchase and co-produce the system were conceived about a decade ago and deadlines for companies to offer revised bids have been repeatedly extended. Turkey remained in talks with U.S. firms Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Co. and French-Italian partnership Eurosam GIE for the project, Ismail Demir, head of defense industry under-secretariat said in October.  In response to criticism that the Chinese system wouldn’t be compatible with NATO, Turkey said it wouldn’t integrate the missile defense mechanism.


Turkey abandons decision to purchase Chinese missile defense system

HURRIYET DAILY - Sunday,November 15 2015

Turkey has entirely dropped a tentative agreement to purchase a $3.4 billion long-range missile defense system from a Chinese company, ending a two-year saga over the deal, which had worried NATO allies.  The decision was taken in the run-up to the G-20 Summit in Antalya when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosted world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama, CNN Türk reported Nov. 15.  The decision has yet to be finalized by the top Turkish government body for procurement, the Defense Industry Executive Committee (SSİK), but the move is expected to be announced this week with formal approval from the members of the committee chaired by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. The committee’s other members are the defense minister, the chief of the General Staff and the head of the defense procurement office, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM).  The talks with China’s CPMIEC on the missile deal hit a stalemate over technology transfer, CNN Türk said, citing anonymous sources.  After the cancellation, questions remain as to how Turkey will meet its long-range air defense needs. Local defense companies such as military electronics specialist Aselsan and missile manufacturer Roketsan may be commissioned to fulfill such a mission, CNN Türk said, underlining that Turkey aimed to produce the system domestically with “national resources” in combination with technological support from a globally tested system.


China seeks trade, investment facilitation with Turkey: Xi | 2015-11-15 

ANTALYA, Turkey, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping said here Saturday that China is ready to explore ways with Turkey to facilitate bilateral trade and investment.  During a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Xi called for strengthened strategic communication with Turkey to dock each other's development strategy.  Both sides should make full use of the platforms such as the Silk Road Fund and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank to innovate cooperation channel and mode so as to achieve common development and prosperity, Xi said.  The Chinese president suggested expanding the use of each other's own currency for bilateral trade and investment facilitation.  Security cooperation between the two countries should be deepened, Xi said.  On the upcoming summit of G20, or the Group of Twenty, Xi said China is ready to maintain close coordination with Turkey to increase G20's role in global economic governance.  For his part, Erdogan said his country is ready to join hands with China to lift bilateral trade to a higher level.  Turkey is willing to actively participate in the cooperation within the framework of Belt and Road initiative and is glad to see Chinese enterprises to invest more in Turkey in fields such as infrastructure, Erdogan said.  The Belt and Road initiative was proposed by China in 2013 as a trade and infrastructure network. It will connect Asia to Europe and Africa through the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.


Science academies of Israel and China move even closer together



The Israel Academy of Science promoted scientific ties with China even before diplomatic relations were established in 1990. An Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities delegation to Beijing has signed an agreement to continue and expand scientific cooperation in China. The original accord was signed in 1991, soon after diplomatic relations between the two countries were established.  Prof. Ruth Arnon, the outgoing president of the academy in Jerusalem and a distinguished Weizmann Institute of Science researcher, headed the group and reported that they received an exceptionally warm reception. Their Chinese counterparts praised Israel and its scientists for their achievements.  The academy acted early - already in 1990 - to promote scientific ties with China involving water and agriculture, even before diplomatic relations were established.  Arnon said at the ceremony that the academy was thrilled to be a “pioneer” in advancing the countries’ scientific ties.


Israeli culture starts college... in China

Some 100 Chinese students participate in first of its kind Israeli film festival in Beijing, exposing them to the country and people they didnt know. 

Anav Silverman, Tazpit   

YNET - 10.21.15

The first student-organized Israeli film festival was recently held in a Beijing university and drew over 100 Chinese students. For three evenings (September 22nd-25th), students participated in the Chinese University Israel and Jewish Film Festival held at the China Agricultural University. Students learned about Israel’s culture and history, as well as Jewish traditions and foods, and even had the chance to eat bagels. The film festival organizer, Qi Li, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that there had never been an official Israeli-Jewish film festival to her knowledge in China. "I’m proud to say that this is the first Chinese University Israeli Film Festival," Qi Li said to TPS.


Silicon Dragon to hold Israel-China business conference

 12/11/2015 - Globes correspondent

Silicon Dragon Group and Tadmor & Co. Yuval Levy & Co. law firm are holding the conference in Tel Aviv on December 2.  Israel has long been a desirable target for Chinese investors. Cooperation between the countries in startups and technology companies has often led to technological breakthroughs and the development of the next generation of leading entrepreneurs. In light of this, Tadmor & Co. Yuval Levy & Co. law firm, in cooperation with the Silicon Dragon Group, will be holding a conference dealing with the implications of the developing ties between the countries. The program will examine cooperation between Israel and important centers in China - Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.  The Silicon Dragon group is involved with investment trends in technology centers throughout the world, and is well-known for the conferences it organizes on the subjects of technology and investments in Asia, the US and Europe. The group was established in 2010 by Rebecca A. Fannin, a media entrepreneur and an expert on innovation. She has published two critically-acclaimed books on the subject of start-up companies, which have been translated into Chinese, Vietnamese and Hebrew, and which received favorable reviews in leading newspapers.


Chinese vice premier urges closer agriculture cooperation with Israel | 2015-11-13  

JERUSALEM, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- China and Israel should further strengthen bilateral cooperation in agriculture, including innovation, water management and seed research and development, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang said here Thursday.
Wang, who is currently on an official visit to Israel, voiced the hope while meeting with Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and experts of the country's agriculture research institute.
Israel is strong in agricultural technology innovation and boasts one of the highest levels of agricultural productivity in the world, while China is a large agriculture country, he said, adding that Israel and China are thus mutually complementary in the field of agriculture.
Wang said that innovation is listed as one of the five main development concepts in China's 13th five-year development plan and China is willing to work with Israel to make agriculture innovation a priority for bilateral cooperation.
Both countries should improve the mechanism for their agriculture cooperation and promote cooperation in agriculture science and technology, particularly water management and seed research and development, he said.
China welcomes increased Israeli investment in China's agriculture sector and also encourages China's enterprises to invest in Israel, Wang said.
The two countries should also forge cooperation in personnel training in order to prepare for major coopertion project of mutual interest in terms of necessary human resources and technology, he said.
The Israeli side agreed with Wang and looks forward to cooperating with China in specific projects and programs.
The two sides also signed an action plan for enhancing bilateral agriculture cooperation in the presence of Wang.


Chinese President Xi meets with Turkish counterpart  11-15-2015

During a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Xi expressed he wishes for a successful G20 summit. He said China is ready to maintain close coordination with Turkey, to increase the G20's role in global economic governance.
On bilateral ties, President Xi said China is ready to explore ways with Turkey to facilitate bilateral trade and investment. Xi called for strengthened strategic communication with Turkey, and for each country to align with the other's development strategy. Both sides should make full use of platforms such as the Silk Road Fund and the AIIB, he said.
Xi added that security cooperation between the two sides should be deepened. The Turkish president agreed with Xi's suggestions. Erdogan also said Turkey will never allow any group to conduct activities on its soil that undermine the Sino-Turkish relationship.
Both leaders voiced severe condemnation of the terror attacks in Paris. After the meeting, the two leaders witnessed the signing of several bilateral agreements.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

China and the Challenges in Greater Middle East - Nov. 10, 2015 Danish Institute for International Studies

China and the Challenges in Greater Middle East 

Tuesday November 10, 2015 

Danish Institute for International Studies   

Tuesday, 10 November 2015, 09.00-16.00

DIIS, Danish Institute for International Studies


Gl. Kalkbrænderi Vej 51A

2100 Copenhagen


Is the balance of power between the USA and China changing in the Persian Gulf? Will China’s increasing economic interest in the Gulf lead to a more activist Chinese foreign and security policy there? What are the expectations from the Arab Gulf States to China and will China cope with them?

Even though the US has provided the security umbrella in the region, its handling of ethnic conflicts and civil wars has irritated members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Political developments, including 9/11 and the Arab Spring, have forced the member states of the GCC to take action to avoid the spread of democratic movements and  reforms, while seeking to handle their own affairs without interference from the US, EU and UN. Problems in GCC–US relations also make GCC states look eastwards for new partners, providing a power vacuum and opportunity for China to edge in.

China has expanding economic involvement in the Gulf, not least in oil: the majority of its oil comes from the Gulf. Although China is trying to diversify its energy supplies from the Middle East, it will remain dependent on the Gulf for years to come. With expanding trade, investment and contract work in the Gulf, China seeks to protect its assets and citizens there. It can no longer follow the old diplomatic strategy of keeping a low profile and keeping business and politics separate. China has learned from crises in Libya and Sudan and changed its policy from non-intervention to active mediation, supporting UN sanctions, contributing to UN peacekeeping missions and securing peacekeeping to protect its oil interests.

Doubts remain both within the GCC and in Chinese policymaking circles as to what extent China should be strategically involved in the Gulf, and China does not seek to challenge or replace the US as the security provider of the Middle East. However, there is no doubt that active pragmatism has become China’s guiding diplomatic strategy and that we will see more political and strategic activities from China in the region. China will take a more active role in fighting extremism at home as well as in the Greater Middle East including Afghanistan and Iraq. How will that play out?


N. Janardhan, UAE

Jiadong Zhang, Fudan University

Imad Mansour, Qatar University

Camilla Sørensen, Copenhagen University, Denmark

Miwa Hirono, Ritsumeikan University, Japan

Jonas Parello-Plesner, author of book 'China's Strong Arm'

Marc Lanteigne, Senior Research Fellow,  Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

Ding Long, University of International Business and Economics, China

Luke Patey, Senior Researcher, DIIS, Denmark

Lars Erslev Andersen, Research coordinator, DIIS, Denmark



Welcome and introduction

Lars Erslev Andersen, Research coordinator, DIIS, Denmark


Keynote speeches

Jiadong Zhang, Fudan University. China-the Middle East Relations: New Challenges and New Approach

Imad Mansour, Qatar University. Can China Be a Pillar of GCC Security?

Q & A


Coffee break


China’s activism abroad

Camilla Sørensen, Copenhagen University. China in search of ‘legitimate’ great power intervention

Miwa Hirono, Ritsumeikan University, Japan. China’s proactive diplomacy in Afghanistan: contradiction between the principle of non-interference and the diplomatic practice

Jonas Parello-Plesner, Author of the book 'China's Strong Arm'. China caught in Libyas internal conflict in 2011 - the dilemmas of protecting Chinese nationals and assets




China’s security and business interests in the greater Middle East and international ramifications

Marc Lanteigne, NUPI. China's Diplomacy in the Gulf Region: Energy and (In)Security

Luke Patey, DIIS. Many Chinas, few solutions: Crisis diplomacy in the Sudans

14.30 -14.45

Coffee break


How does China counter extremism at home and in the greater Middle East

Ding Long, University of International Business and Economics, China. China’s encounter with Islamic extremism at home and abroad

N. Janardhan, UAE. Chinas conundrum – piggyback or pay and ride?

Practical information

The seminar will be in English.

Participation is free of charge, but registration is required. Please use our online registration form no later than Monday, 9 November 2015 at 12.00 noon.