Regulator issues guidelines to make loan renewal easier

he China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission Beijing Office announced on Thursday it has issued guidelines for banking institutions on re

newing micro and small business loans to shorten the financing chain and reduce financing costs.

The guidelines aim to cut unnecessary so-called “passageway business” a

nd bridging finance that “bridges” the gap between the time when a company’s m

oney is set to run out and when it can expect to receive an infusion of funds later on, under the premise that banking in

stitutions will meet the requirements on internal control and risk management.

“The loan renewal policy is actually a credit policy to incentivize lending to high-quality enterpri

ses,” said Jiang Ping, a senior official at the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission Beijing Office.

“For companies that have run into temporary operational difficulties but still have enormous potential for development, banks should help them get th

rough the tough times by renewing their loans. However, banks are forbidden from covering or delaying risk ex

posure associated with lending to ‘zombie firms’, which cannot repay loans, in the name of loan renewal,” she said.

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nside the workshop of Jilin province’s ‘last blacks

Tian Hongming, 67, has been dubbed the “last blacksmith by the fire” by the people of Changchun, capital of northeast China’s Jilin province.

Having picked up the skill of forging iron at the age of seven from his grandfather, Tian has made a living from the skill for more than half a century.

In the 1990s his business reached its peak, selling more than 80,000 iron products a year, Tian said.

With increaed industsrialization and the cheaper and more intricate iron products it brought however, Tian and his workshop went into decline.

Although fewer customers now choose handmade iron products, Tian sticks to the traditional craft and takes every order seriously.

In 2015 his skill was listed among the city’s intangible cultural heritages.

“Sometimes, the flow-line productions can’t meet the special needs of custo

mers, so the craft will never be replaced,” he said. “And I will continue my business as long as the market and customers need me.”

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He said the buyers assumed the housing price in January wo

ie Yifeng, president of the Realty Association of Asia-Pacific Cities, said the sliding sales

in January were due to seasonal factors and should not be regarded as a market trend.

“The Spring Festival was the main reason,” he said. “Property developers were not passionate about selling new proj

ects during the holiday, and it was not very realistic for banks to release housing loans before or during the holiday.”

“A significant index was the registered sold property on the government’s website, but government employees were on

a break too and the statistics of sold property registered on the government’s website were not getting a timely upd

ate,” he said. “The real statistics from last December to January will gradually start to be updated in March.”

In fact, Xie predicted the market in 2019 would be better than last year, as he said the real market indicators were the rising land prices and the amount of land sold.

“The decisive factor is the government’s decision on the shantytown redevelopment policy,” he added, pointing

out that this was expected during this year’s session of the National People’s Congress in March.

Zhang Bo, chief analyst at the 58 Anjuke Institute, said apart from buyers being skeptical tow

ard the price, the weakening intention for speculation was another factor contributing to the slow sales in lower-tier cities.

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hina sees progress in revitalizing traditional crafts

ina has seen progress in its effort to revitalize traditional crafts and turn them int

o targeted measures for poverty alleviation, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

The ministry said it has organized extensive training for inheritors of traditional c

rafts and supported setting up relevant workstations in collaboration with different departments.

The ministry has set up 57 workshops for intangible cultural heritage and provided training for 2,500 people in poverty-stricken areas

, including a county in southwest China’s Guizhou Province that is home to the ethnic Miao people.

The campaign has also raised the awareness of provincial-level authorities. A total of 26 provinces, autonomous re

gions and municipalities have issued plans for revitalizing traditional crafts in their regions.

The ministry said it will continue to focus on policy implementation and the inclusion of social forces in the future.

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This year, I am issuing a challenge to men everywhere to enth

husiastically rise to the occasion to correct the misconception that they are not romantic. Take the t

ime to figure out what kind of gift would touch the heart of your woman, and buy it for her if you can af

ford it. Fight the temptation to purchase gifts that are perhaps useful but not so romantic.

Most women love it when men give them more personal gifts. A man should a

llocate enough time to create a gift that a woman may truly appreciate, such as w

riting a poem expressing his love for her, cooking a delicious meal for two, or arranging a spa treatment for her.

For some people, Valentine’s Day is the loneliest day of the year. For tho

se who have no significant other, go out to spend the evening with your peers in a bar or a ni

ghtclub, as many such entertainment establishments in cities host special events for the evening. You may be lucky eno

ugh to meet the person of your dreams. But even if you don’t, chances are you could still have a wonderful time.

Finally, I wish women and men everywhere a very happy Valentine’s Day.Sava Hassan is a Canadian-Egyptian educator.

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Spain’s govt loses budget vote, paving way for snap election

Spain’s parliament rejected the government’s 2019 draft budget on Wednesday, pushing the country to the brink of a national election.

Sources in the government and the Socialist party of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told Reuters on Tu

esday that he would call a snap election if the draft was rejected, with April 14 or April 28 the most likely dates.

The Socialists hold less than a quarter of the seats in parliament and needed support fr

om smaller regional parties, including the Catalans, to get the budget proposal voted through.

But the Catalan parties, unhappy with the government’s refusal to consider or dis

cuss – amongst other issues – an independence referendum for their nor

theastern region, voted against it, as did the centre-right and the conservatives.

“This shows that the right wing in this country is intent on blocking social progress,” Bu

dget Minister Maria Jesus Montero told reporters, in the government’s first reaction to the vote.

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Innovation in science and technology bolsters Guangdong’s e

Despite China’s ongoing trade war with the United States, Guangdong province, an economic powerhouse, has found new ways to attain sustainable economic development.

In addition to the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which helped the province maintain its strong growth momentum, inn

ovation in science and technology was the key to sustainable economic growth last year, Wang Ruijun, director-general of

the provincial Department of Science and Technology, told local media recently.

Wang said the provincial government spared no effort to promote innovation after President X

i Jinping urged Guangdong to further develop its innovative industries during last year’s tw

o sessions – the annual meetings of China’s top legislature and advisory body.

Wang said Guangdong has invested more than 4 billion yuan ($593 million) to help build seven provi

ncial-level laboratories and 72 other major scientific research projects to support economic development.

It has also actively integrated its scientific and technological development into the country’s de

velopment plan for major scientific and technological projects, while building the Guangdong-H

ong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Innovation Center of Science and Technology, he said.

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In the next stage, the two sides will still be subject to

various global pressures. However, I believe that the two sides will be able to propose m

ore weighty measures to solve differences in their further consultations,” Wei said.

Zhou Mi, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Coo

peration, said companies in the two countries definitely do not want to end their cooperation. Calling for a

stable environment, Zhou said more and more achievements may be made through cooperation at different levels.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-US diplomatic ties. In 2018, trade volume between China

and the US exceeded $630 billion, and two-way investment surpassed $240 billion, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Nicholas Burns, former US undersecretary of state, said the Sino-US relationship is “the mo

st important relationship that both of our countries have.” The US and China, though facing certain challenges in bilateral relations, sh

ould learn how to compete with each other as well as how to work together, the official Xinhua News Agency cited him as saying.

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With more and more people gathering at the lake, it became over

run with fences and nets used to trap fish. Pollutants discharged by residents liv

ing in the area went directly into the lake, and water quality went from bad to worse.

“We could drink directly from the lake at the beginning, but a few years lat

er, the water began to stink, and we had to buy bottled water onshore” Chen recalled.

Overfishing and other human activities put the lake in crisis.

Realizing the need to clean up the lake, the local government took a series of protec

tive measures including relocating all the fishermen and getting rid of all the fences and nets.

Under the government policy on relocation of fishermen, Chen got 170,000 yuan (around 25,368 U.S. dollars) of

subsidy after moving onshore. Using the subsidy, the 110,000 yuan he got from selling his boat to the g

overnment and his own savings, he bought a nice apartment not far from his workplace.

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In addition, Wisconsin has seen a tightening labor market in t

the last few years, with the unemployment rate steadily registering 3 percent or lower in nin

e months, which made it difficult for companies to look for workers, let alone skilled ones or engineers.

Kurt Bauer, president and CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, s

aid that the association has about 3,800 members, half of which are m

anufacturing companies. Around 80 percent of the members have seen a labor shortage in one way or another.

Ian Robertson, dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison college of Engineering, said the college has 800 gr

aduates every year. They have about 6,000 job opportunities to choose from, most of which are outside of the state.

To meet the demand for engineers, the college plans to expand their enrollment from around 4,500 t

o 5,200 in the next few years. But after graduation, how many of the students will be hired by Foxconn is hard to say.

Robertson said many companies in need of engineers tend to build long-term relationships wit

h the university by establishing labs and offering internships. “Foxconn is just one of them,” he said.

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