New cross-border bridge to boost China-Vietnam trade

The Second Beilun River Bridge opened to traffic on March 19. It connects the Chinese city of Dongxing with the Vietn

amese city of Mong Cai, two important trade cities along the border between the two countries.

The new bridge spans 549 meters across the border river between China and Vietnam and is built to the first-class high

way standard. Construction started in 2014 and was completed in late 2017, costing a total of 220 million yuan ($33 million).

The bridge will greatly alleviate traffic burden on the First Beilun River Bridge three kilometers away, whi

ch was previously the only means of shipping personnel and cargo to or from Dongxing Checkpoint.

Statistics from immigration authorities show that 12.19 million people and 47,05

6 vehicles passed over the old bridge in 2018, far beyond its maximum capacity.

The new bridge is now designated for freight vehicles, while the First Be

ilun River Bridge is reserved for personnel. This could save 30 minutes or more in custo

ms clearance time for each consignment, according to Huang Xiong, deputy chief of Dongxing Customs.

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In the second half of 2018, total deal number and value

 in all sectors fell back to low levels, and PE/VC investors turned more cautious. Although TMT secto

rs saw a big drop in deal numbers and value compared with the first half amid the lackluster PE/VC inves

tment market, they remained the leaders among all sectors,” Gao Jianbin, PwC China TMT leader said.

The report also said similar to the first half of 2018, the num

ber of PE/VC deals involving startups was the biggest among all categories in the second half, while compan

ies in the expansionary period received the largest investment in terms of deal value. Investors adopted a strate

gy to avoid risks by mainly investing in mature projects that had survived market competition and were in stable development.

“As China officially launched an innovation initiative for the integrated circuit industry an

d a government IC industry fund raised 150 billion yuan ($22.4 billion) in second-phase financing, a number of IC inn

ovation enterprises have been established in the second half of 2018,” said Charline Ni, PwC China technology leader.

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Bank of Beijing planning venture with Dutch lender NV at a bra

Bank of Beijing Co Ltd said on Friday that it has got the necessary board approvals for the estab

lishment of a joint venture with Netherlands-based ING Bank NV, in which the latter will be the majority partner.

With a total investment of 3 billion yuan ($448 million), the forthcoming joint-venture bank, which is still waiting for regulat

ory approval, may become China’s first commercial lender in which a foreign shareholder has a controlling int

erest. According to the plan, ING Bank will hold a 51 percent stake, and Bank of Beijing 49 percent.

Drawing on the experience of ING Bank in the successful development of direct banking services, the joint venture will build

a brand in the area of digital banking with the help of financial technologies and try to become a benc

hmark in terms of the implementation of China’s push to further open up its financial sector to for

eign investors, said the mid-tier commercial lender BOB in an announcement.

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The 10 percent deduction rate, which applies to buyers of ag

ricultural goods, will be cut to 9 percent, said the statement.

“The VAT reform is not simply lowering the tax rate, but focusing on the integration with the overall tax reform. It has continued to ma

ke progress toward the long-term goal of establishing a modern VAT system, and it also leaves room for cutting the number of VAT brac

kets from three to two in the future,” said Wang Jianfan, director of the department of taxation under the Ministry of Finance.

To implement the statutory taxation principle, China will also accelerate legislation to deepen VAT reform, Wang said.

The joint statement came after Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday that China will imp

lement a series of measures to cut VAT rates and ease the tax burden in almost all industries.

Earlier this month, Li said in his 2019 Government Work Repo

rt that VAT reform was key to improving the tax system and achieving better income distribution.

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Volunteers inundate blood donation center near explosion site

After an explosion at a chemical plant killed 47, residents of Xiangshui county in Ji

angsu province have flooded centers to donate bolod for the severely injured survivors.

There were so many people coming in to donate blood that the organ

izers at one center ran out of application forms, China Daily discovered Friday afternoon.

“On average, people have to wait for at least five hours for their turn,” said Meng Xiangh

ua, a member of the local labor union that has been assisting in the drive to build up blood supplies following the blast.

He said one of his neighbors came in at 8 am Friday and had to wait until 1:30 pm to d

onate. “There are so many people coming that we failed to count how many people have donated so far,” he added.

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The welder spent another three hours on Friday morning but

had to quit again as he had to pick up his son from primary school at noon. He joined the line again

after lunch, but he didn’t have any idea about when his turn will come when

China Daily interviewed him at 4:30 pm.

There were so many donators that the organizers brought dozens of stools to

the site so that people could rest after waiting a long time.

Many people also came to Xiangshui

People’s Hospital to offer free food and medicine fo

r those hospitalized. Chen Yueru, a member of local volunteer association, said they have received 2,177 boxes of packed

food for lunch, more than 10,000 bottles of water, 24 boxes of ham sausage and 14

boxes of instant noodle and 500 breads at the hospital.

She said clothes are in demand for many of the injured as the belongings of many

have been buried in debris and stained with blood and dirt.

Gao, the red society volunteer, said a company has donated about 600 bottles of a s

pecial medicine for wound sterilization and has also sent medicine for the injured.

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The office was established after Kim and South Korean Preside

  nt Moon Jae-in met at the DMZ for an historic summit last year, which was follow

ed by a meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Singapore.

  Pyongyang said it would notify Seoul regarding “further practical matters in the future.”

  In the statement, the Unification Ministry said South Korea regrets the decisi

on, and urged the North to return soon and continue the work being done at the liaison office towards a full peace settlement.

  ”We regard such a withdrawal as very sad and unfortunate (and) we hop

e that the North will return shortly and hope that the liaison contact office will operate nor

mally as soon as possible,” Vice Minister of Unification Chun Hae-sung said at a press conference in Seoul Friday.

  ”We believe that we should take some time to judge (the situation).”

  North Korea’s pull-out Friday from the Kaesong Liason Office has been on cards since Hanoi, given recent

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All the devices were judged to be viable, and the package

  sent to Heathrow Airport burst into flames after being opened by staff. Nobody was injured by the devices and no arrests have been made.

  The packages were posted with Irish stamps and had return addresses in Dublin, prompting Irish police to join the investigation. The packages were all A4-size

d white postal bags containing yellow padded bags, which were capable of igniting when opened.

  Police Scotland confirmed that a controlled explosion was carried out on the p

ackage found at the University of Glasgow on March 6 as a precautionary measure.

  The Metropolitan Police and Police Scotland said in a joint statem

ent that the devices “bore similarities” to past packages “linked to dissident groups asso

ciated with Northern Ireland related terrorism,” and that “officers were already looking at this as a line of enquiry.”

  The devices did not cause any injuries or damage.

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With the Israeli elections approaching and Netanyahu da

  amaged by a pending indictment stemming from a corruption investigatio

n, it became increasingly clear that Trump would look to bolster one of his closest international partners.

  Netanyahu in recent weeks had begun to renew his push for the US to recognize the Go

lan Heights as part of Israel. Earlier this month, he brought US ambassador to Israel David Friedman and

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, to the Israeli-occupied territory, touting its strategic imp

ortance. Graham, a close ally of the President’s, promised Netanyahu he would personally lobby Trump to deliver.

  The Israeli ambassador’s visit was a precursor to Trump’s announcement on Thursday, a sen

ior administration official told CNN. The Golan Heights recognition had been in the works for sev

eral weeks, the official said, and culminated in a series of meetings between the President and his senior staff this week.

  US officials have offered no explanation as to w

hy Trump decided to take this step now, rather than wait until after Israel’s April 9 elections.

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In the Government Work Report, Li said that the govern

ment’s moves to cut taxes on this occasion aim at an accommo

dative effect to strengthen the basis for sustained growth while also considering the need to ens

ure fiscal sustainability. It is also a major measure to lighten the burden on businesses and boost market dynamism.

Participants at Wednesday’s meeting also decided on adjustments to the export tax rebate rates of certain goods and services and

to the tax deduction rate of purchases of farm produce. They decided to increase transfer payments to local gov

ernments, focusing on supporting the central and western regions and counties and prefectures experiencing difficulties.

“The share that goes to enterprises in the national income distribution ne

eds to be increased to boost market vitality. This will

help keep employment stable, expand tax sources and make public finance sustainable.” Li said.

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