Carbon credit program launched in Shanghai

Date Aug 02 2012 10:47:26

Shanghai municipal government issued guidelines for a pilot carbon trade market that will allow companies to buy and sell carbon credits. 

The guidelines, which were posted on the government website on Tuesday, said the program will have a trial period from 2013 to 2015. About 200 firms from industries such as steel, petrochemicals, non-ferrous metals and power, plus non-industrial fields, such as airlines, ports, airports and hotels, will join the program.

The authority said companies with large carbon emissions, like Baosteel and Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical will be included in the scheme. 

The carbon dioxide emission of these 200 companies reached 110 million tons last year, accounting for almost half of the city's total emissions.

The carbon trade platform will be based at the Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange. 

Shanghai's move comes on the heels of a decision by the National Reform and Development Commission earlier this year to call on seven cities and provinces, including Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, to set up carbon trade markets. 

The policy aims to encourage the development of a low carbon economy nationwide. Companies who keep their emissions below their targets can sell their carbon credits to those exceeding their limits and profit from the trade.

Report by SHMET

Wider market opening planned for Guangdong

Date Jul 26 2012 14:48:09

Further details have been released on the planned trial of new policies to foster cross-border trade settlement in renminbi in two pilots zones in South China's Guangdong province. 

Senior officials have revealed the plans will include the creation of a new real estate investment fund, and see the securitization of individual housing mortgage loans in the province. 

They also added that local private lenders will be actively encouraged to join the banking sector to better serve the economy. 

The pilot project aims to boost the internationalization of the yuan and facilitate closer financial ties between the region and Hong Kong, while reducing risk of currency exchange rate fluctuation for local companies. 

Zhou Gaoxiong, director of the finance affairs office of the provincial government, said the two newly revealed initiatives are included in an overall plan to "build a comprehensive experimental zone of financial reform and innovation in the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong", currently being examined. 

He added the government will issue further details on implementing the plan, although no specific dates were given. 

The plan was issued last month by eight central government departments including the People's Bank of China, the central bank. 

The pilot zones refer to the Hengqin New Area in Zhuhai and the Qianhai New Area in Shenzhen. 

The central government aims to build Qianhai into a "pioneering zone" for its financial industry opening-up, with an array of steps taken by the government to increase the international use of the yuan. 

The policies, approved by the State Council will cover six sectors - finance, taxation, legal system, talents, education and medical treatment, and telecommunications 

A trial on the reform of the insurance sector, for example, will be expanded from the city of Shenzhen to the eight other cities in the PRD. 

Financial institutions will also be encouraged to develop inter-market and inter-sector business. 

Zhou added that private capital will be encouraged to enter the financial service field. 

Guangdong's private capital market is currently estimated to be worth more than 1 trillion yuan ($156 billion), more than 80 percent of which is used in the real economy, he said, adding it is underregulated but still under control. 

Micro lending firms launched in Guangzhou late last month will be used to widen the loan access for small enterprises and lower their borrowing costs, he said. 

He Xiaojun, deputy director of the Guangdong branch of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, said it will be encouraging private capital to join the banking sector to better serve the real economy. 

He added that private capital now accounts for 29.3 percent stake of the commercial banks in Guangdong. 

Zhou said also that qualified financial institutions and enterprises in Guangdong will be encouraged to go public and issue renminbi-denominated bonds and trust investment funds in Hong Kong. 

Pilot moves will also be made in Dongguan for further financial cooperation with Taiwan, and with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. 

The financial services industry in Guangdong generated business worth 312.3 billion yuan last year, with total assets hitting 13.08 trillion yuan, Zhou said. 

Report by SHMET

China defends rare earth export policy adjustment

Date Jul 13 2012 11:05:53
Jul.13,2012(SHMET)-- A Foreign Ministry spokesman defended China's policy adjustment on rare earth exports on Thursday, stating that setting quotas is aimed at protecting the environment.

    "China adjusted its export policy entirely for the sake of environmental protection instead of trade distortion or the protection of domestic industries," spokesman Hong Lei said during a regular press briefing.

    His comments came in response to a question regarding criticism by the United States of China's rare earth export policy.

    The US government announced Wednesday that it has asked the World Trade Organization to make more efforts to settle a trade dispute with China over its export quotas on rare earth metals and other materials.

    China has previously discussed the issue with relevant parties, Hong said, adding that the country will set its future quotas in accordance with global market demand and available supplies.

    "We hope countries rich in rare earth resources will actively boost the exploitation and production of rare earth," Hong said.

    According to a government white paper issued last week, China will implement stricter environmental standards and protective exploitation policies for its rare earth industry.

    The country will continue to intensify regulations for the sector while supplying the global market in line with WTO rules, said the white paper.

    As a rule, the WTO allows members to take necessary measures to protect their resources and environments. The organization allows export restraints if they are accompanied by simultaneous restrictions over domestic production or consumption.

Report by SHMET

China streamlines railway procuratorate system

Date Jul 03 2012 11:35:39

BEIJING -- China's Supreme People's Procuratorate announced Monday that all 76 railway transport procuratorates nationwide have been put under a unified administration of the justice system. 

After the completion of a personnel and financial management power transfer, the railway procuratorates are now directly administered by provincial or municipal procuratorate authorities, the SPP statement said. 

Railway transport procuratorates, designed to deal with procuratorial work regarding to crimes on trains and violations of the country's railway-related special laws, were previously under the dual administration of both the procuratorate system and the railway authorities. 

While higher-level procuratorates lead the procuratorial work of such agencies, the personnel and financial affairs of these procuratorates were managed by the railway authorities. 

China in July 2009 ordered a complete separation of the procuratorates from the industry by transferring the power of personnel and financial management of such agencies to the country's justice authorities. 

After the transfer, the jurisdiction, working system and procuratorial procedures of these procuratorates may remain unchanged for the time being, the SPP statement said. 

In addition to railway procuratorates, China now has another special type of procuratorates - military procuratorates.

Report by SHMET

China to invest 38b yuan in water-efficient farming

Date Jun 28 2012 13:33:45

BEIJING - Chinese authorities will create a fund worth 38 billion yuan ($1.27 billion) by 2015 to develop water-efficient farms in Northeast China's grain-producing areas.

The fund will be used to develop 38 million mu (2.53 million hectares) of water-efficient farmland in four northeastern regions, according to a work conference jointly held by the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Water Resources and the Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday.

The four regions include Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces, as well as the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. The four areas together produce one-fifth of the country's grain.

The central budget will allocate 22.8 billion yuan, or 60 percent of the fund, while the rest of the money will be raised by local governments and farmers.

The funds will be used to promote efficient irrigation technology in the four regions over the next four years in an effort to ease water shortages and increase grain production.

Report by SHMET