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Japan Inc poured billions into Britain. Now it’s having regrets

  Japan’s top companies are losing patience with the United Kingdom as Brexit fast approaches.

  Honda (HMC) became the latest to reduce its exposure to the British economy, announcing Tuesday that it will shu

tter its only manufacturing plant in the country by 2021, a move that is expected to result in the loss of at least 3,500 jobs.

  The company denied any link with Brexit but auto industry experts sa

id the uncertainty over future market access and the risk of tariffs must have played a part.

  Honda’s bombshell follows the decision by rival automaker Nissan (NSANF) to sc

rap plans to build a new SUV model in northern England. Electronics firms Sony (SNE) and Pan

asonic (PCRFF) have both said they will move their European legal bases out of the country because of Brexit.

  Japanese executives are fed up after warning for years of the risks inherent in a rupture with Europe.

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Even leaving the bloc under the agreement Prime Min

  ster Theresa May has negotiated with the European Union would mean continued uncertainty over future terms of trade.

  More uncertainty is the last thing needed by a car industry that has already been slammed by a

collapse in diesel sales in Europe and dramatically weaker demand in China.

  Japan’s Nissan (NSANF) earlier this month scrapped plans to build its new X-Trail SUV at its fact

ory in the English city of Sunderland. It cited uncertainty over Brexit as one reason for the decision.

  Britain’s biggest car maker, Jaguar Land Rover, announced plans last month to reduce its gl

obal workforce by 4,500. That’s in addition to 1,500 people who left the company last year.

  The company, owned by India’s Tata Motors (TTM), has also warned that crashing out of the

European Union would wipe out more than £1.2 billion ($1.5 billion) of its annual profit.

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Under the guideline, released by the Central Committee of

the Communist Party of China and the State Council, China’s cabinet, Chinese authorities will consolidate the produc

tion capacity of such products as edible-oil crops and cotton through improving quality and efficiency.

The nation will also improve the subsidy policy for soybean and corn producers this year, while also

scaling up imports of agricultural products in shortage and diversifying import channels, the g

uideline read. China will also cultivate a group of multinational agricultural enterprises.

Jiao Shanwei, editor-in-chief of grain portal cngrain.com in Central China’s Henan Province, told the Global Times that the guide

line, which is issued at the beginning of each year and widely interpreted as laying a policy framework for

China’s agricultural industry, sends a clear signal to the market that China will take measures such as importing from alte

rnative sources like Russia and Brazil as well as encouraging domestic cultivation, to be less reliant on US soybean imports this year.

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School strips alumnus actor’s PhD over plagiarismen in Dec

The Beijing Film Academy (BFA) revoked alumnus actor Zhai Tianlin’s doctorate following an investigation into allegations of plagiarism in one of his published papers.

Zhai’s PhD adviser, Chen Yi, was disqualified from teaching doctoral candidates. Both Zhai and Chen accepted the school’s dec

ision and further investigations will continue, according to a notice BFA posted on its Sina Weibo account Tuesday afternoon.

Zhai, 32, graduated from BFA with a doctorate last summer. But 40 percent of the paper mentioned above wa

s revealed to be plagiarized after his admission into a post-doctoral position at Peking University drew netizens’ attention.

Zhai appeared ignorant of the cnki.net, a famous Chinese database of academic literature, in a live broadcast in August 2018.

Portions of his paper were based on Zhai’s acting experience, but some key expressions were the views of other aca

demics, which were not properly cited. This is a serious academic misconduct, the BFA notice said.

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Russia trade hits record $100 billion with m

Bilateral trade between China and Russia last year exceeded $100 billion as of mid-December, a new record, official figures sh

owed Thursday, and an analyst forecast further increases in high-technology trade and e-commerce this year.

Bilateral trade grew 27.8 percent year-on-year in the first 11 months of 2018 to $97.24 billion,

Gao Feng, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), told a press conference on Thursday.

Projects that China and Russia have been cooperating on include nuclear power and other energy sectors, as well as the aviation industry, Gao said.

China remains Russia’s largest trading partner. In the first 11 months of last year, bilateral trade in electronic pro

ducts and the high-technology sector increased 15 percent and 29 percent, respectively, according to MOFCOM.

Trade in agricultural products increased by 31 percent, Gao said.

Cooperation involving strategic large projects achieved remarkable results. Eme

rging fields such as nuclear energy and aerospace have also increased rapidly, Gao noted.

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According to the guideline, such new-generation hig

in information, biology, advanced manufacturing and new materials will grow into core industries in the area. Several key projects in f

ifth-generation (5G) networks, genetic testing, intelligent robotics, 3D printing and the BeiDou navigation system will be cultivated.

Whether the Greater Bay Area can become an international technology and innovation hub is the key

to the area’s success, according to a research report recently issued by the China Silk Road iValley Research Institute.

The region boasts the most complete manufacturing industry chain and has world-class technol

ogy talent from prestigious universities. Moreover, the favorable location offers convenience an

d benefits to enhance technological and innovation exchanges and cooperation with countries and regions al

ong the routes of the Belt and Road Initiative and other major countries in the world, said the research report.

By comparing the Greater Bay Area with the New York bay area and San Fran

cisco Bay Area in the US, Liang Haiming, chairman of the institute, told the Global T

imes on Monday that balancing the interests of traditional and emerging industries, and helping multiple

industries share the work while cooperating are two things that could be learned from the two US bay areas.

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Financial Times said that the UK National Cyber Security Centre

had determined that there are ways to limit the risks of using Huawei in future 5G ultra-fast networks, citing officials familiar with the matter.

Such a decision dealt “a serious blow to US efforts to persuade allies to ban the Chinese supplier from high-speed telecommunications systems,” the report said.

One person familiar with the debate said the British conclusion would “carry great weight” with European leaders, since the UK

has access to sensitive US intelligence through its membership in the Five Eyes intelligence sharing network, the FT reported.

Zhang said that the UK had been concerned about the risks of usi

ng Huawei because of warnings from the US. But Huawei products are inexpensive a

nd qualified that they could not refuse, which was why they proposed schemes to test Huawei equipment.

Zhang hailed the system and the UK’s conclusion as “significantly pragmatic, and will set an example for other European countries.”

Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of Interna

tional Studies, told the Global Times on Monday that it was not in European countries’ interests to blin

dly follow the US, which was confusing security with the market to crack down on Huawei.

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Investment can create ‘virtuous circle’ for CPECtan-based Is

After a suicide attack claimed by the Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) ki

lled at least 40 Indian paramilitary troopers in the Pulwama district, India has said it will en

sure the isolation of Pakistan in the international community and withdraw the Most Favored Nation status given to Pakistan.

China firmly opposes and strongly condemns all forms of terrorism. The country, also a victim of terrorism, is exp

ected to do what it can to provide support and assistance to India to enhance anti-terrorism cooperation.

However, if the terror attack leads to political and economic isolation, ordinary Pakistani p

eople will become the scapegoat of JeM. Poverty has more of a role in terrorism than some Indian ex

perts may believe. If foreign aid and investment can help Pakistan eliminate poverty, the growth environment for terrorism will be destroyed.

“China is promising about $3.5 billion to help bolster Pakistan’s dwindling foreign cash reserves” and pay fo

r the country’s socioeconomic development plans, the US-based Voice of America reported last week. Although the Chinese government ha

s not confirmed the news, it is unlikely that China will change its supportive attitude on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

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Leveling the playing fields for domestic and overseas compa

The world has been closely watching the latest round of high-level trade

negotiations between the US and China, which took p

lace in Beijing on Thursday and Friday, for clues as to whether a trade resolution

will be reached before the March 1 deadline.

With the slowdown seen in the economies of both countries and the

world in general, the US and China have a sober under

standing of the importance of reaching a trade deal, which is reflected by the

increasing flexibility shown by both parties. Last week, US Pre

sident Donald Trump even suggested that he could extend the deadline if both

parties are making good progress and are nearing a formal agreement.

As the US and China both have the need to reach a deal, it is generally expected

that both parties will make some compromises to avoid an escalation of tra

de disputes. In this situation, China will most likely significantly increase its

imports from the US in the short term, while at the same time making s

ubstantial changes with regards to issues like market opening and technology transfer.

At present, there is much speculation about what compromises China may

make or which industries the nation will open to more for

eign investment. Last year, against the background of the unprecedented trade war, the National D

evelopment and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, published

a new version of the negative list for foreign investment. The negative list, w

hich took effect on July 28, removed foreign ownership limits for special vehicles and new energy vehicle m

anufacturing, with the ownership cap for passenger car manufacturing scheduled

to be lifted by 2022. Moreover, th

e latest list also eased or scrapped foreign investment curbs on sectors like

banking, insurance, ship and aircraft manufacturing, and power grids.

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The BJP has projected Gandhi as a “Chinese propagandist.

raving about China,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra was quoted as saying in The Times of India.

The BJP has also questioned the “request” of the Chinese ambassador to give a ceremonial send-off to Gandhi for his Mansarovar trip. “When Rahul Gan

dhi went for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, a letter was sent by the Chinese ambassador to the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) that he wanted to give Rah

ul Gandhi a ceremonial send-off. This protocol is limited to heads of state or government and leader of opposition. No

w it is clear why China wanted to extend this protocol to Rahul Gandhi. Yatra was just an excuse, he had to meet Chinese ministers and discuss so

mething. The cat is out of the bag today, and the Congress needs to clarify,” Patra told Hindustan Times. The BJP didn’t stop at that. It als

o dug into Gandhi’s earlier meeting with the Chinese envoy in India during the Doklam standoff.

If the developments are any indication, the BJP is desperate to raise any issue which could work in its favor in the elections with the mood of the general

masses not looking positive towards the party. It wants to eliminate the anti-incumbency factor and divert the at

ention of the masses from more pressing issues. The main opposition has alleged the BJP failed to keep its promise of

generating 20 million jobs in a year. The opposition is also repeatedly raising the Rafale fighter jet deal to counter M

odi’s take on corruption. Now the BJP strategists feel playing the China card, to a certain extent, could help the ruling party in this matter.

But experts say such issues are not going to impact the elections. “China card will prove to be of litt

le or just no help for the BJP,” says Ajay Jha, a prominent Delhi-based journalist who is an expert in Chinese affairs.

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