Shanghai Party chief meets Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana

Shanghai Party Secretary Li Qiang met Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana on Tuesday.

Li sent President Xi Jinping’s regards to Diaz-Canel and congratulated him on the newly-elected leadership of Cuba in April. Li said the same ideology binds China and Cuba closely together.

In the new era of Sino-Cuba relations, China will unfalteringly carry out win-win cooperation with Cuba and advance the Sino-Cuba relations, Li added.

Diaz-Canel said that Sino-Cuba relations have reached its historical best, and Cuba is working hard to further renew the model of its social and economic development. Cuba is willing to carry out overall cooperation with the Communist Party of China and learn the experience in developing socialism from China.

From July 14 to 17, Li headed a delegation to visit Cuba. During his visit, Li met Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, general secretary of Worker’ Central Union of Cuba, and Jose Ramon Balaguer, head of the International Relations Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.

Li also attended the 24th Sao Paulo Forum and delivered a speech; visited Cuba’s Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology; and attended the Picture Exhibition of Shanghai’s 40-year Achievements of Opening-up and Reform with leaders of the Communist Party of Cuba.

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With Fresh Tariffs On China, Donald Trump Unleashes Trade War

Washington: Punishing US tariffs on Chinese imports took effect early Friday, marking the start of President Donald Trump's trade war with the largest US trading partner and intensifying the anxieties of global industry.

Beijing was expected to immediately retaliate dollar-for-dollar with its own counter-tariffs after Trump imposed 25 percent duties on about $34 billion in Chinese machinery, electronics and high-tech equipment including autos, computer hard drives and LEDs.

The arrival of the long-threatened tariffs marked the failure of months of dialogue between the world's two largest economies and came amid hand-wringing from industry leaders who fear shrinking markets, higher prices and slower growth.

The tariffs' arrival also made real a campaign-trail pledge for Trump, who has fulminated for years against what he describes as Beijing's underhanded economic treatment of the United States.

US officials accuse China of building that country's emerging industrial dominance by stealing the "crown jewels" of American technological know-how through cyber-theft, forced transfers of intellectual property, state-sponsored corporate acquisitions and other alleged practices.

And they say the current US economic strength, as well as America's soaring trade deficit in goods, means the world's largest economy can outlast its rivals in the current tit-for-tat battle, presenting Washington with a rare window of opportunity to settle old scores.

The US trade deficit in goods with China ballooned to a record $375.2 billion last year, further stoking Trump's ire.

But it remained to be seen whether the American president would carry out recent threats to respond to any Chinese retaliation with maximum pressure -- raising US duties on Chinese goods in increments of $200 billion until virtually all the goods America buys from its largest trading partner are subject to duties.

But, aboard Air Force One on Thursday en route to Montana, Trump erased any hope of an about-face. He said Washington stood ready to slap duties on hundreds of billions more in Chinese imports once Friday's tariffs took effect.

Red states feel the pinch

As the tariffs' start approached at midnight, the US central bank warned Thursday the impending trade battle was beginning to darken the otherwise blue skies of the robust American economy, now starting its 10th year of recovery.

Businesses around the United States told the central bank that spending plans had been scaled back or postponed and they also warned of further adverse effects from the trade conflict, according to a Federal Reserve survey.

An industrial survey confirmed that companies were white-knuckling their way through Trump's intensifying, multi-front trade assault.

"We're starting to see signs of inflation, not sharp inflation, but definitely inflation," Anthony Nieves, head of a services industry survey committee for the Institute for Supply Management, told reporters on Thursday.

The start of the trade war likely confirms the widening rupture between Trump and his own Republican Party, a traditional champion of free trade and big business whose members, while critical, have so-far shrunk from curtailing the White House's trade powers.

But, with the GOP facing strong political headwinds ahead of November's mid-term elections, China's countermeasures left both Trump and Republican lawmakers increasingly vulnerable to voters who appear likely to boost the fortunes of opposition Democrats.

The powerful US Chamber of Commerce, a principal corporate lobby, said this week that retaliation from China, Canada, Mexico, the European Union and others against Trump's tariffs was already affecting $75 billion in US exports -- much of this from states that had narrowly supported Trump in 2016's presidential elections.

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Chinese Scientists Set New Quantum Computing Record

Chinese physicists have managed to break the quantum computing world record, achieving quantum entanglement of 18 qubits, surpassing the previous record of 10.

Large-scale quantum computing is considered the next major leap in computing technology, and could potentially surpass the physical limits imposed on current computers.

Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon in which two or more entangled sub atomic particles, or qubits, can affect each other simultaneously regardless of distance. The counter-intuitive concept breaks both classical physical laws and common sense, but in the weird world of quantum mechanics such interactions have the possibility to revolutionize technology.

Quantum entangled particles demonstrate dependent physical properties despite distance. For example, the position, momentum or polarization of a quantum entangled particle could be correlated to that of other particles regardless of the distance between them.

It has been known at least since 1935, when several physicists – including Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrodinger – published papers describing the paradoxes encountered at the small particle or 'quantum' level.

Such a phenomenon is believed by some to have potential in constructing network technology.

The field of research has a long way to go, however, as the quantum entanglement effect is extremely unstable and must overcome decoherence caused by outside interference.

Physicist Pan Jianwei, at the University of Science and Technology of China, was able to achieve a stable 18-qubit state, a major step toward being able to do quantum processing. Pan is also the previous record holder, having previously achieved a 10 qubit state in 2017.

China has also announced it is launching a new space science program that will include the launch of four new research satellites to research the origin of the universe, black holes and gravitational waves.

The program will include a satellite named the Einstein Probe, which will detect X-ray emitters, something useful in detecting high energy distant objects such as quasars and black holes.

The Gravitational Wave Electromagnetic Counterpart All-Sky Monitor satellite will research gravitational waves, a burgeoning field of research in physics. Although gravitational waves were predicted by Einstein and early 20th century physicists researching General Relativity, only recently have we been able to detect them.

The Solar Wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer, or Smile, is a joint effort between Chinese and European scientists and will study the interactions between solar wind and Earth's magnetosphere.

Similarly, the Advanced Space-Borne Solar Observatory will study the relationship between solar magnetic fields, solar flares and coronal mass ejections, which pose a danger to communications systems.

In recent years, China has launched several notable satellites, including projects to investigate dark matter and experimental quantum physics.

Chinese senior official meets foreign guests

Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, met separately with Miroslav Lajcak, president of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, and Ulises Guilarte, general secretary of the Workers' Central Union of Cuba, in Beijing Tuesday.

In his meeting with Lajcak, Yang, also director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, said China's Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs, held in Beijing in June, had established the guiding position of Xi Jinping thought on diplomacy, which is the fundamental guideline for China's participation in global governance and UN work.

Under the current circumstances, the international community should uphold multilateralism, and jointly safeguard world peace, prosperity and stability, Yang said, adding China supports the UN's positive role and will continue to serve as a builder of world peace, contributor to global development and defender of international order.

China will work with other countries to jointly build a community with a shared future for humanity, he said.

Lajcak spoke positively of China's important role in UN affairs, vowing to enhance cooperation with China in multilateral areas.

In his meeting with Guilarte, Yang said China was ready to implement consensus reached by the leaders of China and Cuba, and would continue to enhance exchange of experience in building socialism and state governance between the two parties and countries.

He called on the two sides to deepen pragmatic cooperation and multilateral coordination to push forward the development of bilateral relations.

"Relations between labor unions of the two countries are an important part of relations between the two parties and two countries," Yang said. "The visit will further enhance exchanges between labor unions of the two countries."

Guilarte, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, said Cuba admired the great achievements of socialism with Chinese characteristics and hoped to learn from China's experience on reform and opening-up. He expressed the hope that the two sides would strengthen bilateral exchange and cooperation, and continue to develop the traditional friendship between the two parties and countries.

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Gun violence & expensive healthcare: China warns tourists about perils of traveling to US

Tourists traveling to the US should be ever vigilant as gun violence and robberies are rampant, healthcare is expensive and natural disasters can occur at any moment, China’s Washington embassy has warned.

Shootings, robberies and theft are commonplace in US cities as law and order “is not good” there, the embassy cautioned in newly released travel advice. Diplomats there say that going out alone at night or recklessness towards “suspicious people around you” is the easiest way of getting into trouble.
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In addition, “medical services are expensive in the United States,” the embassy notice said, urging Chinese citizens to organize health cover beforehand. Aside from gun violence and unaffordable healthcare, travelers should pay attention to US weather forecast and climate-related news, and take precautions in the event of a natural disaster.

The Chinese travel advice also touched upon US border policy, notifying travelers that border agents have the right to scrutinize incoming tourists in detail without a search warrant.

“If the customs enforcement officers have doubts about the purpose of your visit or your documents, you need to proceed to the secondary inspection area for further inspection and interview,” the notice said, adding “a valid US visa does not guarantee you the right to enter the United States.”

China has previously cautioned its citizens about gun violence in the US. Just a few months ago, Chinese Foreign Ministry reportedly distributed a warning via mobile messaging app WeChat, telling people to be careful and “prepare for the possibility that gun crimes may occur at workplaces, schools, at home and at tourist sites,” according to the New York Times.

The US State Department, in turn, referred to China as “a very safe country” for most visitors in its latest travel advice, but cautioned that “domestic unrest and even terrorism” do occur there. Unlicensed “black cabs,” counterfeit currency and “tourist tea scams” – a criminal scheme in which the Chinese invite visitors to tea and leave them with an exorbitant bill – have been listed as major dangers for US tourists.

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Donald Trump Threatens Action On World Trade Organization

Washington: U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to take action against the World Trade Organization on Monday after media reports said he wanted to withdraw from the global trade regulator.

Trump has complained frequently that the United States is treated unfairly in global trade and has sharply criticized the WTO for letting that happen.

"WTO has treated the United States very badly and I hope they change their ways. They have been treating us very badly for many, many years and that's why we were at a big disadvantage with the WTO," Trump told reporters at the White House.

"And we're not planning anything now, but if they don't treat us properly we will be doing something," he said.

News website Axios last week reported that the Republican president wants to withdraw from the WTO, drawing a prompt denial on Friday from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Axios reported on Sunday that Trump, who has made fighting unfair trade rules a pillar of his presidency, has ordered that legislation be written stipulating a WTO withdrawal.

But Trump's commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, said earlier on Monday it was too soon for the United States to discuss any withdrawal from the World Trade Organization.

"WTO knows some reforms are needed. I think there really is a need to update and synchronize its activities, and we'll see where that leads," Ross told CNBC. "But I think it's a little premature to talk about simply withdrawing from it.

"We've made no secret of our view that there are some reforms needed at the WTO," Ross said.

Trump's aggressive stance on trade has roiled U.S. relations with allies and trading partners from Europe to China. He pulled out of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership shortly after taking office last year and began renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with neighbours Canada and Mexico.

More recently, he imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imported into the United States from various countries and is set to impose tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports beginning on Friday.

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Cuba bets on China to develop public transport

There is unlikely to be a Cuban who has not used a Chinese-made bus, car, or motorcycle in the last decade, which indicates the importance of Chinese transportation technologies to the Caribbean nation.

Now, Cuba hopes to solve its transportation problem with the help of the Asian nation.

Chinese products have been an important part of the Cuban transport system since 2005, when Yutong buses reached the island nation.

More recently, Minerva tricycles and electric bicycles, produced in Cuba in association with the Chinese Tianjin Dongxing Industrial and Commercial Group, have helped reduce the strain on the country’s ailing public transport.

The Minerva electric bikes have also offered Cuban families an affordable alternative to cars, which tend to be very costly.

According to Cuban Minister of Transport Adel Yzquierdo, 500 three-wheelers are being used in several provinces of the country and a trial of electric three-wheelers will begin next year.

“Electric vehicles are the future and we’re testing them, everything has to be proved, we already decided to try them (electric tricycles) and manufacture them in cooperation with the Chinese company,” Yzquierdo told Xinhua at the 3rd Edition of International Convention and Exhibition of Cuban Industry (CubaIndustria 2018).

The event, which closed on Friday, has become a platform for Cuba to showcase its industrial progress and negotiate new projects with foreign investors.

Exhibitors from 31 countries and representatives of 130 national companies and 84 foreign entities participated in this event which opened on Monday.

Seven Chinese companies attended the exhibition including Yutong, YTO International and Tianjin Dongxing Industrial and Commercial Group, the latter of which has been present in Cuba since 1999 when it signed an agreement with the Angel Villarreal Bravo Industrial Company (Minerva).

To date, the two companies have produced 53,000 mechanical and electric bikes, tricycles, and tools for the disabled.

Dongxing is now looking to the future and hopes to expand its production facilities on the island.

“Our next step is to continue satisfying the Cuban market and also generate more foreign currency for Cuba, since we are going to establish a joint venture at the end of this year to start producing new models at low prices and with high quality,” said Wei Yunpu, chairman of the Chinese firm.

The Dongxing executive believes the company’s greatest source of satisfaction is seeing ordinary people benefit from its affordable products.

Yzquierdo also thanked Yutong for their contribution to Cuba’s transport. At present, there are more than 8,600 Yutong buses on the streets of Cuba.

“We are doing well with Yutong buses and we are betting in the future with Yutong,” Yzquierdo said.

Yutong now hopes that its electric and hybrid buses can help Cuba save 40 percent more fuel in the future.

Wang Tong, a Yutong representative, said that the firm is considering setting up a new plant in the Mariel Special Economic Development Zone, Cuba’s flagship economic and foreign investment project.

“We hope to have more relations with the local bus factory CAISA with the creation of a joint venture. If this mutual company works well and we can manufacture buses of good quality we will have the possibility of exporting to other markets in Latin America,” said Wang.

Meanwhile, Wang Leibin, business manager of YTO International, told Xinhua that his company has been cooperating with Cuba for three years, initially exporting tractors and construction machinery.

The cooperation’s success has enabled expansion and the company now intends to grow its production.

“The goal is to remodel what exists today in that factory and establish an assembly line for its future operation so the country has its own tractor plant and sustainability,” said Wang.

For Cuba, the participation of Chinese and other foreign firms in CubaIndustria 2018 offers investment possibilities necessary for the island’s development and for the sustainability of its public transport.

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Chinese entrepreneurs see huge potential in Cuban market

Entrepreneurs from east China's Zhejiang Province believe Cuba's economic market shows great potential and it could be a gateway for expansion into Latin America, a continent increasingly connected to Beijing.

At the first-ever Cuba-Zhejiang business forum held in Havana, which runs until Tuesday, 32 Zhejiang-based companies searched for business opportunities.

"We are here to explore the Cuban market in order to introduce our products and make our contribution to Cuba's electricity sector and its energy saving efforts," said Nan Ronghe, general manager of Yueqing Blue Sky Hi-Tech Co. (Lintin), a manufacturer of smart electricity meters.

Nan said that the two-day meeting allowed them to understand Cuba's needs and offer the country the chance to establish partnerships with Chinese companies.

Huang Huiqi, business manager of Huayi Electric (Heag), a company dedicated to renewable energy, said that Cuba is seen as a "brother country" and that his company wants to play a role in Cuba's development.

"Cuba's potential in this sector is huge and we can offer support for wind energy with efficient generators. We would really like to join the Cuban market," said Huang.

Heag, a market leader in China, already has presence in Latin America with ties to Chile. The company considers Cuba as a further connection with Latin America.

"Our company represents a new trend in the sector. Cuba will develop its renewable and clean energy sector in the future and that is why we are here," he said.

Meanwhile, Wu Huisheng, general manager of Golden Bridge Optical, a manufacturer with 20 years' experience in the eyewear industry in Zhejiang, believes the forum offers the opportunity to enter not only the Cuban market, but also the rest of the continent.

"Cuba hopes to open (its markets) as China has done, and we see this business forum as an opportunity. Tourism is very well developed and we believe that our products will have a great advantage here," he said.

Promoted by the Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and the Chamber of Commerce of Cuba (CCC), the forum is intended to give Chinese companies an understanding of Cuba's legal regulations and investment possibilities.

Cuba has a broad portfolio of opportunities with more than 450 projects amounting to 10.7 billion U.S. dollars.

Ruben Ramos, vice president of the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, told Xinhua that ongoing exchanges with Chinese businessmen will contribute to the economic development of the Caribbean nation.

"The Chinese market offers great opportunities for Cuba due to its ongoing growth, as well as its need to import products for the development of its economy," he said.

Ramos said Cuba currently exports nickel, sugar, cigars and biotechnological products to China and that new possibilities are emerging.

"We have to continue opening up our export opportunities. Our priority is to promote our economy in order to continue its development," he said.

In order to seek new possibilities and market opportunities for Cuba's exports, Ramos will participate in the China International Import Expo in Shanghai later this year.

The forum preceded the signing of a memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening economic relations, signed by Wu Guiying, president of the Zhejiang Provincial Committee of CCPIT, and Ramos on Monday.

According to the document, both parties agreed on "the cooperation of their respective organizations in the areas of business development, bilateral exchange and information, investments and commercial activities to benefit both sides."

  • Published in Cuba
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