Mired in Brexit deadlock and forced to delay Britain’s M

 March 29 exit from the EU, May’s Conservatives suffered major losses in local election

s this month and are trailing in opinion polls before May 23 European Parliament elections.

With Labour and Brexit-supporting rebels in the Conservatives p

lanning to vote against her deal, it is unlikely to be approved as things stand.

Pro-Brexit Conservative lawmakers were unimpressed with May’s failure to set a firm date to quit. One, who declined to be na

med, described it as “yet further procrastination which is causing appalling damage to the Conservative Party.”

Another, Andrew Bridgen, said May was “an increasingly beleaguered and isolated prim

e minister who is desperate to salvage something from her premiership and is prepared to drive thro

ugh an agreement that would fatally hamstring any future prime minister in negotiations with the EU.”

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The reform and opening-up policies are exactly the ki

inds of market-driven reforms needed to make this happen. The Chinese government is investing heavily in resear

ch and development, but it should be noted that the R&D spending as a percentage of GDP is still lower than that of the US.

Nobody likes competition against themselves. So, it must be admitted that China’s transition to a high-tech, high-

value-added economy will come as a shock to many companies around the world. The US economy, which has about 7

percent of GDP in high-tech manufacturing, will be lightly affected by this change.

On the other hand, advanced manufacturing contributes around 20 percent of GDP in Sout

h Korea, Japan, Germany and a few smaller European countries. They will be much more directly affected.

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Chinese exporters have from 20 to 50 percent of the

 US market in other low-value-added markets, plus electrical machinery and equipment, mechanical

appliances, and iron and steel. In most other categories, China has less than 20 percent of the US market.

China also assembles and then exports a lot of phones, computers and other gadgets to the US. But, most of the profits and

wages go to Japanese or South Korean component producers or US-based designers. For example, China ma

kes less than $9 from each iPhone. The total price of a phone is ridiculously counted as a Chinese export to the US.

It’s a good thing that China is no longer a low-wage country. Most Chinese

are much better off than they were even 10 years ago. But it does mean that these lo

w-skilled, labor-intensive industries will be moving to less-developed nations. US tariffs on such products will only se

rve to hasten the transition to higher value-added industries that China has to make anyway.

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The danger here lies in the fact that excessively low

growth targets, based on excessively low estimates of potential growth, lead to lower actual growth. Fo

r an economy the size of China’s, a difference of even 1 percentage point has a huge impact on welfare.

Many economists would counter that a conservative growth target is useful-or even necessary-to create space for struct

ural adjustment. But this claim is unconvincing. Reducing China’s excessive reliance on investment in real es

tate-one of the economy’s most serious structural problems-does not necessarily require a reduction in FAI gro

wth, let alone GDP growth. Nor is slower GDP growth a prerequisite for improving financial stability.

China must pursue as high a growth rate as possible

In my view, because no one is sure what exactly China’s potential growth rate is, the best strategy is to try to achieve as high a g

rowth rate as possible, so long as it doesn’t worsen inflation and hinder structural adjustment.

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As President Xi has said, the initiative originated from

China, but it belongs to the world. China has put forward the idea of boosting global development vi

a infrastructure connectivity, and is working zealously to translate it into reality. This is based on wha

t the country learned from its own rags-to-riches story, its own experience of the benefits of free trade and inte

rnational cooperation, and on its understanding of the role a responsible major country must play.

The forum’s growing list of distinguished guests is credible testimo

ny that more and more countries appreciate the initiative‘s win-win nature and long-term pote

ntial. With 126 countries and 29 international organizations signing cooperation agreements with China und

er the Belt and Road framework, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank now boasting 97 members, it is m

ore appropriate to call the initiative a global development mechanism than a Chinese one.

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Much work remains in Sino-US trade negotiations

China and the United States have made new progress in negotiating the text of an econom

ic and trade deal, but much work remains to be done, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.

Negotiating teams from the two countries are hashing out the text of the deal, including

an enforcement mechanism, on the basis of mutual respect and benefit, said Gao Feng, ministry spokesman.

The remarks came as the world’s two biggest economies have been i

ntensifying their consultations and aiming to break the deadlock in a timely manner.

In the most recent round of trade consultations, the negotiators discussed technolo

gy transfers, protection of intellectual property rights, nontariff measures, the service sector, agriculture, tra

de imbalances and enforcement mechanisms, according to earlier reports.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China said in a recent white paper that the US business commu

nity in China, long an advocate of good bilateral relations, can no longer be relied on to be a positive anchor.

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The museum has some 50 firefighters on duty around

he clock, a fire engine, over 160 hydrants, thousand of extinguishers, and fire walls, officials said last year.

But not all relics have such rigid supervision. A joint comprehensive survey was started in Septemb

er by the administration and the Ministry of Emergency Management. It found that 33 major institutions still don‘t meet stan

dards, and the State Council issued a notice on Wednesday that they were to receive the highest-level supervision.

On Tuesday, the administration urged local governments to immediately launch evaluations of potential hazards.

The new lawsuit against Liu Qiangdong, the billionaire founder and CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant JD, and his compan

y filed by a University of Minnesota student might further shake investors’ confidence, and tarnish the image

and reputation of the company, amid tougher competition from rivals such as Alibaba and Pinduoduo.

The Chinese student from University of Minnesota, who claimed she was raped last August by Liu, filed a c

ivil lawsuit against him in Minneapolis on Tuesday, four months after prosecutors decided not to pursue a criminal case.

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Bernard Dewit, chairman of the Belgian-Chinese Cham

ber of Commerce, said that industrial and trade relations between the EU and China will i

ncrease following the meeting, and that China has made great efforts to open its market to European companies.

“China’s new Foreign Investment Law, which has just been (approved), will greatly reassure European investors of the com

mitment of the Chinese government to further protect foreign investments in China,” he said.

Wang Yiwei, a professor of international relations at Renmin University of China, said in an article

published in the People’s Daily Overseas Edition on Wednesday that the Chinese and EU lead

ers’ strategic communication on important issues will help foster new areas for bilateral cooperation.

The concerted efforts made by the two sides to cope with the common challenges

and develop win-win cooperation will add stability to an increasingly uncertain world, he added.

Hu Yongqi contributed to this story.

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trade hitting $682 billion last year, said Zhang Min

 head of the Chinese Mission to the EU. So far, 22 European countries have signed memorandums of understanding with Chi

na to promote the Belt and Road Initiative, with Italy and Luxembourg the most recent examples, he said.

Chen Fengying, a senior researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International

Relations, said that Li’s European trip is to further enhance high-level exchanges and political trust between

China and the EU, following President Xi Jinping’s visit to Italy, Monaco and France last month.

Both sides support the multilateral trading system and face challenges posed by risin

g protectionism and unilateralism to economic globalization and multilateralism, Chen said. On the global geopoliti

cal stage, China is developing at a very fast pace with an enormous economic scale, Chen said.

“As a huge market, China has reiterated its opening-up (policy) to the ou

tside world, including to European countries. Therefore, both sides should strengthen cooper

ation and exchanges in areas such as trade, investment and the Belt and Road Initiative,” she said.

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Four-day May Day holiday offers best of both the worlds

Editor’s Note: The May Day holiday this year would be extended to four days. When Premier Li Keqiang was asked at a news con

ference during the recent second session of the 13th National People’s Congress whether China would res

ume the May Day golden week holiday, he said relevant departments were studying the issue and would serio

usly consider the public’s opinions before making a decision. What effects will a four-day holiday have on the people and

the economy? Two experts share their views on the issue with China Daily’s Liu Jianna. Excerpts follow:

Holiday answers people‘s appeals

The four-day holiday will, to a large extent, meet Chinese people’s require

ments for a better life, including the growing desire to enjoy quality longer vacations both at home and abroad.

There have been calls for longer holidays ever since the May Day golden

week holiday was reduced to three days. And the extension of the May Day holiday to four

days this year suggests the government has been taking public opinions into serious consideration.

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