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China policy round-up: phase-one trade deal moves along, China shuffles leaders at state financial institutions, new foreign investment law well received

Beijing_230
By Rebecca Feng
25 Oct 2019

In this round-up, China and the US are hammering out a draft of a mini trade deal, the regulators have switched around leaders at state-owned bad debt managers and the new foreign investment law has received praise from foreign investors.

US president Donald Trump told CNBC reporters on Monday that the deal with China is “coming along very well”.

Chinese vice premier Liu He will speak with Robert Lighthizer, US trade representative, and Steven Mnuchin, US treasury secretary, on Friday, to review progress, the report added.

In separate news, soybean processors in China were allowed to purchase 10m metric tonnes of US supplies without having to pay retaliatory tariffs, Bloomberg reported, citing sources.

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Chen Xiaozhou, the president of China Cinda Asset Management, one of the country’s big four bad debt managers, stepped down on Tuesday, local media reported.

Chen will become the vice-president of China Construction Bank University, a move largely seen as a demotion. Zhang Weidong, the president of China Trust Protection Fund, a state-backed bailout fund for trust companies, will take over Chen’s position.

Bai Weiqun, chief supervisor of China Central Depository and Clearing, China’s national financial market infrastructure provider, will take over Zhang’s job.

These changes have caused a chain reaction among Chinese bad debt managers.

Ma Zhongfu, chairman of the board of supervisors at Huarong Asset Management, China’s largest bad debt manager, will succeed Bai.

Hu Jianzhong, the current chairman of China Orient Asset Management, another big four bad debt manager, will take over from Ma.

It has not been announced who will take over Hu’s job.

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China released the draft rules for implementing the foreign investment law on Wednesday, which was first approved in March. The law will come into effect on January 1, 2020.

“It is surprisingly accommodating to all concerns ... we have,” Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, told reporters on Friday.

In the same document, the State Council also vowed to improve the business environment onshore. The government promised that businesses will have equal government policies and the government will also step up intellectual property protection and introduce harsher punishments for intellectual property violations.

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The Chinese government is planning to replace Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people briefed on the plan.

Lam’s successor would be installed by next March. The candidates reportedly include Norman Chan, former head of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, and Henry Tang, a Hong Kong politician. 

Hua Chunying, a spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the report was “a political rumour” in a Wednesday press conference.

By Rebecca Feng
25 Oct 2019