Shanghai new work permit for foreigners

Foreigners will find it easier to work in one of China’s largest cities after the Shanghai authorities released a series of policies last month to attract international talent as it looks to build a global center for scientific and technological innovation.

From November any foreigner will only have to apply for one permit instead of the current two permits. The application process is also to be simplified. The city authorities said that implementation details are still being developed along with the central government. Guidelines have been announced to launch a pilot scheme of unified work permits for several provinces and cities which include Shanghai.

Foreign workers will be classified into categories A, B and C — A for top talent, B for professional talent, C for unskilled workers or those working in the service industry. Simplifying the application process will mean some materials will no longer be needed. The practice will be applied to foreigners across the country based on experiences accumulated in the pilot province and cities when the trial ends next April. Current valid work permits are still valid to the date stated on the permit.

Shanghai last year handled 8,599 applications for foreign expert work permits and 120,933 for employment licenses for foreign employees, more than any other provinces and cities, said the government. Another new policy announced by Shanghai allows students who graduate from local universities without work experience to find employment in the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone and the Shanghai Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone.

It is an upgraded version of a policy introduced last year to allow foreign postgraduates of local universities to work directly after graduation in the two zones without work experience. Previously, foreigners needed to have at least two years’ work experience to apply for work and residence permits in Shanghai. By August this year, 64 foreign postgraduates have obtained work permits under the policy, said the city government. Authorities said they are also considering expanding the policy to foreign graduates of universities outside of Shanghai.

Shanghai is not only trying to keep outstanding international talent at local universities, but also attract graduates from top universities abroad. Another new policy allows regional headquarters of transnational companies, investment companies and foreign-funded research and development centers, which are registered in the two trade zones, to employ graduates from leading foreign universities, with or without work experience. The new policy will also lower requirements for foreigners involved in scientific and technological innovation to obtain Shanghai Residence Card B, which enables holders to enjoy certain citizen benefits. The city will provide extra benefits for the card holders, such as exemption from housing property tax for their only residence, allowing their children aged from 3 to 12 to study at local schools and participation in a local housing provident fund, said the government.

Shanghai has been reforming its talent recruitment policies in recent years. Last year, it introduced 20 regulations, including some to help foreign workers to apply and renew required certificates conveniently. This has benefited many people since the changes took effect last year. One eye-catching policy was to lower the threshold for permanent residence applicants, allowing expats, who have worked in the city for four consecutive years and have lived in China for at least 6 months a year to apply for the residence permit providing their salaries met required levels.

A total of 96 foreign expats have been issued such 5-year visas, including 27 older than 60. Most expats need to renew their residence permits once a year, but from last year, they can have their permits renewed for 5 years after two previous renewals. More than 1,800 qualifying expats have applied for the 5-year permits.

China’s industrial output growth increases in August

China’s industrial output, an important economic indicator, increased slightly in August — an encouraging sign for a slowing economy.

Industrial output expanded 6.3 percent year on year last month, faster than the 6-percent increase for July and the 6.1 percent posted for the same period of last year, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Sept 13.

Industrial output measures the output of Chinese companies with annual main business revenue of more than 20 million yuan ($3 million).

According to the breakdown, industrial output in less-developed western regions rose 7.9 percent, followed by 7.8 percent for central regions and 7.2 percent in the east.

However, north eastern areas plagued by serious overcapacity did not fare so well, with a 2-percent output drop. There has been concern throughout the world of steel overcapacity, which the Chinese government is trying to tackle. This is also having an impact on the output figures.

By sector, automobile manufacturing jumped 21.4 percent in August, followed by 11.5 percent in the pharmaceutical sector and 10.6 percent in electronics manufacturing, NBS said.

In the first eight months, industrial output increased 6 percent from a year ago.

UK exports to China increase in Q2, with NI performing best.

New figures from HMRC* show that UK exports to China increased in Q2 showing a positive sign after the vote to the leave the European Union in June. Q2 figures the period from June to August gives a picture of the UK overall.

Northern Ireland stands out as a region that showed a 14% increase in exports from Q2 in the previous year. England increased exports to China by 2% compared to Q2 in the following year, however London seen a decrease in exports. Scotland and Wales both seen decreases in exports to China compared to Q1.

Chinese exports

Q2 figures for Northern Ireland shows £24.7m worth of exports to China compared to Q1 which was £22.4m. In Q2 of 2015 the figure was £21.1m which shows an increase of just over 14%.

In England Q2 figures showed £3.09bn of exports compared to 2.5bn in Q1. In Q2 of 2015 the figure was £3.03bn which shows an increase of nearly 2%. East Midlands and other Northern regions showed a marked increase in exports.

In Wales Q2 figures showed £55m of exported compared to £70m in Q1. In Q2 of 2015 the figure was £42.6m which shows an increase of 22%. But the decrease since Q1 is a pattern that has not occurred in Welsh-China export figures.

In Scotland there is a worse situation  with Q2 figures showing £78.8m compared to £90m in Q1. In Q2 of 2015 the figure was £147m which shows a decrease of 46%.

Imports from China to the whole of the UK continue to rise.

 

*HMRC trade statistics are available at https://www.uktradeinfo.com

Northern Ireland China exports up in second quarter 2016

Northern Ireland China export figures from HMRC* for Q2 show an increase in exports. The overall exports figures for Northern Ireland show it was the only region in the UK that seen an increase in exports.

Q2 figures shows £24.7m worth of exports to China compared to Q1 which was £22.4m. In Q2 of 2015 the figure was £21.1m which shows an increase of just over 14%.

Chinese exports

However the year on year figure shows a different story. From September 2015 to 2016 the total exports to China was £93m, however the September 2014 to 2015 figure showed exports at £97.1m. A decrease of over 4%. The figures would suggest a slowdown in exports in Q1 compared to 2015, which may have been a result of the upcoming EU referendum. However it would seem that after the referendum exports picked up comparing the figures to 2015 and Q1 of 2016.

These figures do not include Hong Kong which in Q2 decreased to £5.9m from £6.7m in Q1 for 2016. Which shows a greater degree of interest in exports to mainland China compared to Hong Kong.

Imports from China to Northern Ireland have also continued to increase in Q2 at £221m compared to £209m in Q1.

*HMRC trade statistics are available at https://www.uktradeinfo.com

Canada to open seven new visa centres in China

Canada will open seven new visa application centres across China to serve the growing demand for visa’s to the country from Chinese tourists.

The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on an official visit to China and announced the new centres in a joint statement.

Over two days in Beijing, Trudeau held several meetings with Chinese leaders at the highest levels, including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

The visit is intended to strengthen links between the two countries both economically and culturally.

On Thursday, the government announced that Canadian and Chinese companies signed 56 new commercial contracts and agreements worth $1.2 billion. Boosting tourism is also part of the government’s plan to create closer links.

The Canadian envoy to China told reporters that until now, visa offices for Chinese tourists were limited to cities where Canada has a diplomatic presence. “This is an important element that Prime Minister Trudeau is promoting in his visit to China,” said Guy Saint-Jacques, who joined Trudeau at the Great Wall of China for an announcement that the countries would co-operate on the development of Chinese national parks.

“As of this summer, you can fly to Canada from 11 cities here in China, so therefore that’s why need to have more visa application centres.” Saint-Jacques said Chinese tourist travel to Canada rose 24 per cent in the first six months of this year. He noted that now only Americans and Brits visit Canada more than the Chinese.

The number of Chinese tourists who visited Montreal this year has spiked 200 per cent since a direct Air China flight from Beijing was added in September 2015, he added. After the national parks announcement, Trudeau explored a section of the Great Wall with his wife Sophie Gregoire and their daughter, Ella-Grace.

Trudeau also met Thursday with Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People. “I do believe that your current visit to China will have an important influence on further deepening the strategic partnership between our two countries,” Zhang told Trudeau through an interpreter, shortly after they sat in a massive meeting room. “Mr. Prime Minister I know that you came to China a long time ago … But I know this visit to China — first time as prime minister of Canada — will certainly leave you a deep and new impression.”

Trudeau told Zhang that his visit was an opportunity to continue to “build on the strong friendship between Canada and China, and talk about how we move forward in ways that will benefit both of our peoples.”

Later in the eight-day visit to China, Trudeau will attend the G20 leaders’ summit in Hangzhou.

New food measures to be introduced in China.

The Chinese government has approved a system for provincial and municipal governments on their performance of food safety management, as an effort to improve food safety and ensure people’s health, on 29th August 2016.

The Food Safety Commission will lead the assessment of provincial and municipal governments’ performance in implementing food safety protection measures and the local food safety situation will be assessed, based on the performance of each calendar year.

China is increasingly stepping up efforts to increase safety in the food sector after a number of scandals most notably the 2009 baby milk scandal that killed a number of babies.

According to the report, the Office of the Food Safety Commission, along with related departments, will set up a work group to go to provincial regions to make annual on-site assessments, and generate reports before November each year.

Provincial and municipal governments should produce comprehensive summaries and provide self-assessment reports on food safety management in their jurisdiction. Then member departments of the Food Safety Commission will carry out evaluations of those reports.

After that, the Food Safety Commission Office, sometimes taking into account a third-party institution’s assessment, will produce an evaluation report and submit it to the commission for final review.

The evaluation is classified into grades A, B and C. The top 10 provincial regions that receive grade A will receive praise from the commission. Institutions and personnel who make outstanding contributions to food safety will enjoy national awards, according to the circular.

For C-grade provincial regions, officials in charge of food safety will receive special interviews with the commission office and related departments. Meanwhile, related leading officials will have no chance to receive annual awards or honorary titles.

Frauds in assessment will be publicly criticised, and staff members involved in serious cases will be held accountable, the report said.

Chinese government to centralise business information

The Chinese government has approved a plan for the unification of all business information from all government levels. The State Council approved a plan on 19th August.

The move is aimed at establishing a public notice system through a nationwide credit sharing platform, thus further separating government functions from enterprise management.

Business information refers to information involved with enterprises that require publicity according to the law, such as records for enterprise registration, mortgage records, equity pledges, intellectual property pledges and trademarks, administrative licenses, administrative punishment records and blacklists for abnormal business activity or low credit enterprises.

Regions and departments should provide the information to market regulatory authorities or administrations for industry and commerce at the same level within seven days after collection, and the latter should put the information on the nationwide credit information sharing platform within 20 days.

With a public notice system, people can search for business information using search engines or cross-regional database query tools, so that the cost of social trade and transaction will be lowered, says the plan.