Posts tagged ‘International trade’


‘The greatest palace that ever was’: Chinese archaeologists find evidence of the fabled imperial home of Kublai Khan’s Yuan dynasty | South China Morning Post

For centuries the imperial palace of Kublai Khan’s Yuan dynasty was shrouded in mystery.

After the dynasty collapsed, there were no clues as to where it was and it lived on only in legend through writings such as those of 13th century Venetian merchant Marco Polo.

If Polo is to be believed, the walls of “the greatest palace that ever was” were covered with gold and silver and the main hall was so large that it could easily seat 6,000 people for dinner.

“The palace was made of cane supported by 200 silk cords, which could be taken to pieces and transported easily when the emperor moved,” he wrote in his travel journal.

It was a vision of grandeur but the palace disappeared, seemingly without trace.

The Yuan dynasty lasted for a less than a century, spanning the years from 1279 to 1368, and it is widely believed that the capital of the empire was Beijing.

But in the centuries since, one question has dogged historians and archaeologists in China: just where was the dynasty’s palace?

Now experts at the Palace Museum in Beijing believe that they have some answers, clues they stumbled upon during upgrades to the heritage site’s underground power and fire-extinguishing systems.

According to historical records, the Yuan palace in Beijing was abandoned by its last emperor, Toghon Temür, who was overthrown by rebel troops that established the Ming dynasty in the 14th century.

Some experts believe the palace was razed by Ming soldiers who took over the city, while others insist the buildings were removed by Ming workers on the site of what was to become the Forbidden City.

The foundations for the sprawling Forbidden City were laid in 1406 and construction continued for another 14 years. It was the imperial palace for the Ming rulers and then the Qing dynasty until 1912.

The complex has been built up, layer by layer, but researchers sifting through the sands of archaeological time said last month that they had found evidence that at least part of the Yuan palace was beneath the site.

The researchers from the museum’s Institute of Archaeology said the proof was a 3 metre thick rammed earth and rubble foundation buried beneath the layers of Ming and Qing dynasty construction.

Institute deputy director Wang Guangyao said the foundation unearthed in the central-west part of the palace was in the same style as one uncovered in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, in the ruins of Zhongdu, one of the four capitals of the Yuan dynasty.

Some of the rubble in the newly discovered Yuan foundation dated back even further to dynasties such as the Liao (907–1125) and the Jin (1115–1234), Wang said.

Wang said a foundation of such size was rare in Yuan buildings and could have been used to support a palatial hall.

At the very least, the find proved that the Yuan palace was built on the same site as the Ming palace, though it was still too early to say these two completely overlapped.

“At least we now know that the palace was not built somewhere else but here,” Wang said.

“From a historical perspective, it gives us evidence that the architectural history runs uninterrupted from the Yuan, to the Ming and Qing dynasties.

”The discovery has also revived debate about the Central Axis of Beijing – a 7.8km strip that runs from Yongding Gate to the Drum and Bell towers and included the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and Zhongnanhai, the Communist Party leadership compound.

Many Chinese believe the axis has been the city’s “sacred backbone” since the Ming dynasty but others argue that it goes back further to the mid-13th century.

Wang said it was still too early to conclude whether the Yuan, Ming and Qing were built along the same axis.

“As archaeologists, we can only define what we have found,” Wang said. “But it gives us a direction for future exploration.”

Wang said it wasn’t easy to excavate in one of the country’s most important cultural sites and more work was still to be done.

Even if we think a certain site is important for an archaeological finding, we can’t just dig the ground up because it is not allowed,” Wang said.“All we can do is to wait and collect as much evidence as we can until sometime later, probably in a generation or two, work is done in those places and we can put all the finds together to see if they are all connected.

”The new discovery would be open to the public soon, Wang said.

Source: ‘The greatest palace that ever was’: Chinese archaeologists find evidence of the fabled imperial home of Kublai Khan’s Yuan dynasty | South China Morning Post


China expects to lay off 1.8 million workers in coal, steel sectors | Reuters

China said on Monday it expects to lay off 1.8 million workers in the coal and steel industries, or about 15 percent of the workforce, as part of efforts to reduce industrial overcapacity, but no timeframe was given.

It was the first time China has given figures that underline the magnitude of its task in dealing with slowing growth and bloated state enterprises.

Yin Weimin, the minister for human resources and social security, told a news conference that 1.3 million workers in the coal sector could lose jobs, plus 500,000 from the steel sector. China’s coal and steel sectors employ about 12 million workers, according to data published by the National Bureau of Statistics.

“This involves the resettlement of a total of 1.8 million workers. This task will be very difficult, but we are still very confident,” Yin said.

For China’s stability-obsessed government, keeping a lid on unemployment and any possible unrest that may follow has been a top priority.

The central government will allocate 100 billion yuan ($15.27 billion) over two years to relocate workers laid off as a result of China’s efforts to curb overcapacity, officials said last week.

Source: China expects to lay off 1.8 million workers in coal, steel sectors | Reuters


US, India end impasse that threatened WTO pact – Businessweek

The United States and India said Thursday they reached agreement on stockpiling of food by governments, clearing a major stumbling block to a deal to boost world trade.

India had insisted on its right to subsidize grains under a national policy to feed its many poor, while the U.S. and others in the World Trade Organization were more focused on liberalizing agricultural trade.

The two countries did not announce details of their new deal, which will be reviewed by the WTO’s general council.

Both countries said, however, their agreement should clear the way for immediate implementation of a global deal that’s designed to increase trade by reducing customs red tape.

“We are extremely happy that India and the U.S. have successfully resolved their differences related to the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes,” the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.

The WTO has said the Trade Facilitation Agreement could boost global trade by $1 trillion, but the possibility of failure in the negotiations had threatened to render the WTO irrelevant as a forum for negotiations after a decade of inertia in trade talks.

via US, India end impasse that threatened WTO pact – Businessweek.


Will ‘Mega-Trader’ China Turn Into a Free Trader? – China Real Time Report – WSJ

For more than a decade, China has been accused of one protectionist move after another: subsidizing state-owned firms, blocking imports, manipulating currency. Just yesterday, the U.S. Trade Representative put China, once again, on its “Priority Watch List” for ripping off intellectual property.

But if Standard Chartered is right, all that may soon be changing. China depends so much on global trade, the bank argues in a new report, that Beijing will likely become a “champion of free trade.”

Here’s the logic: China has become the world’s first “true mega-trader” since Britain in the 1800s, the report says, borrowing mega-trader terminology coined in a report last year by two Peterson Institute for International trade researchers.

As the Peterson Institute researchers describe it, a country qualifies as a mega-trader if it is has a big share of global trade and also if its economy depends greatly on trade. By that definition, the U.S. hasn’t really made the cut even though the U.S. and China both had about 12% of global merchandise exports at their height. That’s because the U.S. economy is far less dependent on exports than China’s is.

Once a country reaches such an exalted status, Standard Chartered reasons, it recognizes that its interest lies in opening markets overseas and at home.

“Our view is that because China is a highly competitive exporter and also needs substantial imports, it will increasingly recognize that it is in its self-interest to encourage global free trade,” said John Calverley, the bank’s head of economic research in an email. He adds that China’s reform agenda “would be well-served by increasing opening, including closer to a free-trader position on issues like services, intellectual property, competition policy” and other areas.

Well, maybe.

via Will ‘Mega-Trader’ China Turn Into a Free Trader? – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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* China’s trade climbs in Sept amid bottoming-out

“One swallow does not a summer make”  But it sure is reassuring after all the bad news in recent months.  There are also signs in the US that the 2008 recession is finally bottoming out. Let’s hope it’s for real. And even more importantly, let’s hope both nations and individuals don’t get carried away with getting into deep depth, again.

China Daily: “China’s exports significantly expanded in September while imports resumed growth after a decline in August, suggesting a recovery in overseas markets and a moderate improvement of domestic demand amid a bottoming-out in the world’s second largest economy.

Economists and analysts are still cautious about China’s foreign trade outlook owing to the medium and long-term pressure from the festering EU debt crisis and worrisome fiscal outlook in the US despite improvement in overseas demand.

China’s exports increased by 9.9 percent in September from a year earlier, a record monthly high and much higher than the 2.7-percent growth in August. Imports, meanwhile, stepped out of the 2.6-percent fall in August, registering a gain of 2.4 percent in September, according to data from the General Administration of Customs on Saturday.

Total foreign trade in September grew by 6.3 percent year-on-year while the trade surplus widened to $27.67 billion from $26.7 billion in August.

Foreign trade from January to September went up by 6.2 percent from a year earlier with exports rising 7.4 percent and imports gaining 4.8 percent, yielding a trade surplus of $148.31 billion.

“The full year is likely to see a trade surplus of over $200 billion,” said Wang Jun, a senior economist with China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

“Trade figures of September are relatively satisfactory. China’s exports in the coming two or three months will keep up the momentum as the manufacturing index [also known as the purchasing managers index, or PMI] improves in the US and EU, in addition to Christmas demand and the central government’s measures to boost China’s foreign trade,” Wang said.

The State Council introduced a raft of measures in September to stabilize trade growth, including speeding up export tax rebates, reducing administrative costs for companies, lowering financing costs for small and micro-sized enterprises and increasing credit to exporters.”

via China’s trade climbs in Sept amid bottoming-out |Economy |


* China’s Q1 foreign trade with other BRICS nations surges

BRICS summit participants: Prime Minister of I...

Image via Wikipedia

Xinhua: “China’s top customs authority announced Friday that the country’s foreign trade with the other four BRICS nations surged by 45.8 percent to reach 59.9 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter of this year.

The first-quarter foreign trade growth between China and the other four nations of BRICS (an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), was 16.3 percentage points higher than China’s average foreign trade growth during the period, China’s General Administration of Customs said in a statement on its website.

During the first three months, China’s imports from the other BRICS countries reached 33.05 billion U.S. dollars, up 57.2 percent year on year. Exports to those countries hit 26.85 billion yuan, up 33.8 percent. …

Q1 bilateral trade between China and India rose 25.2 percent to 17.63 billion U.S. dollars. Trade with Brazil surged 58.9 percent to 16.11 billion U.S dollars, while that with Russia rose 33.5 percent to 15.99 billion U.S. dollars. Bilateral trade between China and South Africa increased more than one fold to 10.16 billion U.S. dollars.”

via China’s Q1 foreign trade with other BRICS nations surges.

It used to be BRIC, since 2010 it has become BRICS to include South Africa.

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