Environmental impact of cryptocurrency


Ten years ago, an anonymous cryptographer laid out the principles of an online currency that would operate beyond
the reach of governments and central banks. — dpa

BITCOIN was supposed to solve the problems of analogue currencies. Instead, it created a new one: an enormous amount of global energy consumption that rivals the power usage of an entire country like Ireland.

According to findings of a new study, the implementation of this cryptocurrency could lead to enough emissions being produced so that global temperatures rise 2°C by 2033.

The study, which was published in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that the hardware and electricity needs of Bitcoin alone could significantly impact climate change for the worse.

“Currently, the emissions from transportation, housing and food are considered the main contributors to ongoing climate change. This research illustrates that Bitcoin should be added to this list,” said Katie Taladay, one of the paper’s co-authors from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The technical design of how transactions are processed causes Bitcoin and many of the growing numbers of rival cryptocurrencies to consume an enormous amount of energy in so-called Bitcoin mining centres around the world.

And yet the digital currency Bitcoin is still enjoying hype as one of the greatest financial phenomenons of our time.

The foundation for Bitcoin was laid out 10 years ago when an anonymous cryptographer using the name “Satoshi Nakamoto” published a paper laying out the principles for autonomous digital money.

The ideas it contained were revolutionary: No control by central banks, no national borders.

Instead, a mechanism called blockchain would provide trust and security in the system. In broad strokes, blockchain is a publicly viewable ledger of transactions, each saved one after the other.

But as the cryptocurrency’s wild fluctuations and electricity needs have attracted a lot of media attention, the ramifications of the latter have only recently been brought to light.

In a different article published in May by financial economist and blockchain specialist Alex de Vries, the electricity consumption of Bitcoin was estimated to be around the same as the electricity use of the Republic of Ireland.

De Vries also predicted that Bitcoin could be using as much as half of a percent of the world’s total electricity consumption by the end of this year.

“To me, half a percent is already quite shocking. It’s an extreme difference compared to the regular financial system, and this increasing electricity demand is definitely not going to help us reach our climate goals,” de Vries said.

“With the ever-growing devastation created by hazardous climate conditions, humanity is coming to terms with the fact that climate change is as real and personal as it can be,” said Camilo Mora, associate professor of geography in the College of Social Sciences at UH Manoa, Hawaii.

“Clearly, any further development of cryptocurrencies should critically aim to reduce electricity demand,” Mora, the lead author of the new study warns.

So as Bitcoin celebrates 10 years since its creation and it gains more and more supporters each year, we should probably take a moment and give this energy-sucking technology a re-think. – dpa By AMY WALKER

Related posts:.

 

What is Blockchain Technology, its uses and applications?

 

Bitcoin, digital currencies rally, caution prevails; virtual currency in property 

 

Blockchain Festival & Conference Week, Kuala Lumpur 26~27 Sept 2018

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Money for favours: millions demanded and paid, bribes from property developers


The court cases involving Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, her former aide Datuk Rizal Mansor and ex-Cabinet member Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor centre upon allegations that millions have been demanded and paid in connection with projects pursued by companies. 

Meanwhile, a property developer is charged with bribing Tengku Adnan and the names of other companies and businessmen have appeared in the charges  – The Star

 see more ….

Rosmah slapped with graft charges

  • RM1.25bil solar hybrid project scandal!
Datin Seri Rosmah MansorvShe’s accused of soliciting bribes linked with projects to provide electricity to Sarawak

 

Ku Nan charged with receiving RM3mil bribes from developers – Nation

 

Facing the law: Tengku Adnan being led to the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur.
Facing the law: Tengku Adnan being led to the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur.

//content.jwplatform.com/players/owD4o7xA-dBiC3tzP.html

Property developer Tan is a self-made businessman – Nation

China’s J-20 Stealth Fighter Stuns by Brandishing Full Load of Missiles at Zhuhai Air Show


http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/24841/chinas-j-20-stealth-fighter-stuns-by-brandishing-full-load-of-missiles-at-zhuhai-air-show

https://youtu.be/tNss2y__xGE


In the last day of China’s biennial air show and weapons expo in Zhuhai, a pair of the country’s J-20 heavy stealth fighters  they popped open their weaponsvvbays and showed off full magazines of missiles. This is the first timevv  such a full load of weapons has been fully exposed and the first time China has officially shown off the jet’s complete internal weapons configuration in the flesh.

China’s J-20 Stealth Fighter Will Likely Look Like This At Its Air Show Debut 



What we see isn’t necessarilyvsurprising, but it is interesting nonetheless. In the main ventral bays, the J-20 is carrying four PL-15 medium-to-long-range air-to-air missiles. The type is somewhat analogous to the American AIM-120D AMRAAM. Speculation about what missile actually would hold the PL-15 designation has bounced around a lot, with very long-range missiles and those fitted with throttleable ramjets 
also potentially receiving the designation, but now it seems the PL-15 is indeed a dual-pulse motor and AESA equipped missile with a similar profile as its predecessor PL-12. The PL-12 is loosely analogous to the AIM-120A/B.

Chinese Internet
Note that even with their clipped fins, only four PL-15s are mounted in the J-20’s bays in a similar fashion to the YF-22’s missile configuration. It isn’t clear exactly what the launch mechanism for these missiles is based on these photos. A staggered arrangement with six PL-15s may be possible in the future by the looks of the bays, but this depends a lot on the how the missiles are ejected from the bay itself. The F-22 uses a trapeze launcher system to chuck the missiles clear of the bay. The J-20’s main weapons bays also look remarkably uncluttered, which makes one wonder if the missiles are just mounted to static hardpoints inside, but this is doubtful as what appear to be launchers have been visible in the J-20s bays for years.

Chinese Internet
The most interesting part of this display of the J-20’s lethal payload carrying abilities is the pair of PL-10s deployed on the outside of the jet’s side weapons bays. This novel configuration is one of the most fascinating aspects of the J-20’s design. I was one of the first to point it out and explain its utility back in early 2013, when I wrote the following:

“The F-22, a very loose analog for the J-20 (emphasize very), uses a canted trapeze that pushes the AIM-9’s seeker out into the air-stream for proper establishment of a lock before launch once the bay doors are swung open. Only once the missile has acquired a target and the pilot ‘receives tone’ (the AIM-9 series has an audible growl as it hunts for a heat source, once it finds one it goes from an intermittent
growling sound to a solid tone, cueing the pilot to fire) the missile can be fired and only then do the launch bay doors close up.

This method increases the F-22’s radar signature dramatically while also isturbing the airflow around the jet which makes for lower performance and a rougher ride during close-in air combat maneuvering, or dogfighting. Soon, the F-22 will have the AIM-9X Block II which features lock-on after launch data-link capability. In other words, the pilot can ‘acquire’ a target via his or hers onboard sensors, including the hopefully forthcoming Scorpion helmet mounted display… Once the target is ‘virtually locked’ within the AIM-9X Block II’s engagement envelope the pilot can quickly fire the Sidewinder, with the bay doors opening and closing momentarily, and allow the data-link to transfer the acquiring secondary sensor’s info to the missile after it has left the bay in the form of a vector [to the target]. The missile will fly in this prescribed direction so that it can acquire the target itself, at which point the AIM-9X Block II becomes truly ‘fire and forget.’

Once the AIM-9X Block II is integrated into the Raptor, and especially once the helmet mounted display is operational, the F-22’s side bay doors only have to briefly open to let the AIM-9X on its one-way mission. All this begs the question: If China loves copying the US when it comes to weapons systems, why not just uild something similar for the J-20 when it comes to deploying its short-range air-to-air missiles?

The answer is quite simple, lock-on after launch capability is not an easy one to achieve. It is technologically complex, requires deep systems integration (software architecture permitting), and robust testing using live missiles, and thus it is expensive. China, being the resourceful and cuning folks that they are, figured out a way to employ any new or elatively archaic high-off-bore-sight short ranged air to air missile while keeping the jet’s aerodynamics relatively intact (doors closed during prolonged maneuvering while the missile hangs out on its rail)
while also minimizing the impact a ‘deployed missile’ has the J-20’s low
radar cross-section.

That is right folks, China just said “we don’t want to have to rely on LOAL capability, so why not just temporarily (as in for seconds or minutes) mount a similarly agile, but much less complex and expensive, short ranged air-to-air missile outside of the bay during times when close range combat is imminent?”

This is exactly what they did, and honestly, I think it is genius. Radar signature becomes a small factor when fighting for one’s life at close range, having a reliable missile ready to make a u-turn off the rail and subsequently turn your enemy into chaff is so important that is can be seen as a life and death  requirement [especially for a big, not remarkably maneuverable fighter]. The alternative, such as the reality the F-22 has faced for the better part of a decade, is that you open the bay up for prolonged periods of time and pay a large penalty in radar cross section and [some] performance. Also, by building a relatively simple contraption, kind of similar to one of those bars that goes on your lap on a roller coaster, albeit with a missile attached, Chinese engineers simplified the launch system and also probably made it much lighter than an F-22 type design. Once again, genius.

Another point to be taken from the J-20’s short-range air-to-air missile launch mechanism revelations are that designers absolutely thought it was necessary to give this jet high-off-bore-sight close range missile capability from day one, and in a reliable and persistent nature when needed. This could be due to lack of  aneuverability and/or because of its mission, which I have said for years 
is to break through the enemy’s (American, Taiwanese etc.) fighter cover and take out their enablers (see tankers, AEW&C, C2 and connectivity nodes). In such a case, being electronically silent is your best bet at surviving, so using infra-red passively guided missiles, which require no electronic emissions, at medium-close ranges may be your only play, at least for anything that does not put out a ontinuous or semi-continuous form of radiation (see AWACS or JSTARS). In that  case, a passively guided anti-radiation missile may be the J-20’s weapon of choice, or a medium-long range AAM that can get within locking distance and featuring active radar or IR for terminal homing, via a traditional data-link feeding the J-20’s targeting picture to it provided by passive sensors (IRST, ESM etc).

Malaysia’s Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) a ‘personal piggy bank of sr managers!


Moving ahead: (From left) HRDF board director J. Rasamy Manikkam, GOC chairman Tan Sri Rebecca Sta Maria, Kulasegaran, HRDF board director Datuk Quah Thain Khan and HRDF chief executive Elanjelian Venugopal at the townhall meeting.

 Petty cash in the millions

Millions were pouring into the HRDF. And for some
high-ranking personnel, their exorbitant salaries and bonuses weren’t enough. Greed got the better of them and they treated the fund as their personal bank, helping themselves to some RM100mil, maybe more!!

KUALA LUMPUR: High-ranking staff of the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) misappropriated about RM100mil or about a third of the RM300mil in the fund.

While certain management staff members were overpaid with high salaries and bonuses, some training providers and a number of HRDF management personnel misused the fund in the name of training to purchase commercial properties.

Large sums of money were diverted without the authorisation of the HRDF board and there was collusion between managerial staff and external parties to award contracts.

Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran revealed these wrongdoings at a townhall meeting with representatives of employer associations and HRDF-registered employers yesterday.

He said that some members of the HRDF board of directors also did not declare their vested interests to the board.

“There have been wrongdoings, such as abuse of duties, criminal breach of trust and exceeding procedure without reporting to the board.

“(They were) running (the HRDF) as though it was their own company,” he said.

Kulasegaran, who initiated a five-member independent Gover-nance Oversight Committee (GOC) to review and probe the allegations, said that there were elements of fraud in the misuse of the fund in the name of training.

The HRDF is an agency under the Human Resources Ministry that manages a fund for human resource training and development that were contributed by employers.

Regarding the alleged misappropriation of the fund, Kulasegaran said that the HRDF board was only informed after the money was spent.

“Out of RM300mil, nearly RM100mil has been spent,” he said, adding that some department officers, in other instances, also exceeded their authority and approved projects beyond their authorised limit.

When asked, Kulasegaran said that some staff allegedly involved in the wrongdoings are still holding positions in the agency, while some had left.

“After the Pakatan Harapan government took over, three directors have since resigned.

“If they have done anything wrong, action will be taken against them. We will let the process take place. It is not fair at this juncture to make allegations,” he said, adding that two police reports have been lodged based on the GOC report.

Not denying that more former and current HRDF staff are expected to be called up for questioning, Kulasegaran said that parties at fault would be pursued through civil and criminal proceedings.

“After this, I hope the HRDF management will make the agency transparent and accountable to the public,” he said.

Meanwhile, a source that has left the HRDF organisation told The Star that in the week before the townhall, three senior figures within the organisation were subject to domestic inquiries and released from the company.

Another three senior members were on contract and when their contracts expired recently they were not renewed.

A key figure implicated in the scandal resigned soon after GE14.

“Some senior figures have survived, but there is a definite clean-up exercise under way,” said the source.

In some cases, those due to leave found themselves locked out of their offices and escorted off the premises by security when they arrived for work.

The sources said finance personnel and those in special projects who released funds without going through the proper channels, and those who invested money without any accountability are believed to be among those implicated.

“A lack of accountability on the 30% given by companies to the HRDF led to certain figures treating it like a personal piggy bank,” said the source.

He said the culprits are now looking at making deals by providing evidence against the leadership in return for an easy way out.”

“The rot runs deep, and the money runs into billions,” he said. “That’s why there was no choice but to stop the 30% policy and fix the system before restarting it.”

The source said that a key figure implicated in the wrongdoings used tactics such as poor appraisals and internal audits to try to force out those who spoke out against dubious practices.

Some of the questionable property transactions may have involved property in Bangsar South, said the source. – The Star by allison laimartin vengadesan

 

Related story:

\Huge Civil Service Size, Attractive Emoluments and Benefits are costing Malaysia !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World’s first artificial intelligence (AI) news anchor


The new AI anchors, launched by Xinhua and Beijing-based search engine operator Sogou during the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, can deliver the news with “the same effect” as human anchors because the machine learning programme is able to synthesise realistic-looking speech, lip movements and facial expressions, according to a Xinhua news report on Wednesday.
“AI anchors have officially become members of the Xinhua News Agency reporting team. They will work with other anchors to bring you authoritative, timely and accurate news information in both Chinese and English,” Xinhua said.
The AI anchors are now available throughout Xinhua’s internet and mobile platforms such as its official Chinese and English apps, WeChat public account, and online TV webpage.

https://youtu.be/GAfiATTQufk

The world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) news anchor made “his” debut at the ongoing fifth World Internet Conference in east China’s Zhejiang Province.

The news anchor, based on the latest AI technology, has a male image with a voice, facial expressions and actions of a real person. “He” learns from live broadcasting videos by himself and can read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor.

The AI news anchor was jointly developed by Xinhua News Agency, the official state-run media outlet of China, and Chinese search engine company Sogou.com.

According to Xinhua, “he” has become a member of its reporting team and can work 24 hours a day on its official website and various social media platforms, reducing news production costs and improving efficiency.

Celebrity anchors are regarded as important assets at major news networks in the US. The highest paid news anchor, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, is reportedly paid US$100 million a year, while Diane Sawyer at ABC and Sean Hannity at Fox News earn US$80 million each. Celebrity anchors in China are generally paid a lot less because they work for state-run TV stations but they often earn extra money from product endorsements and book sales.

But AI anchors may one day challenge the human variety because of their ability to work 24 hours a day provided human editors keep inputting text into the system.

Xinhua said the achievement was a  “breakthrough in the field of global AI synthesis”, pioneering the synthesis of real-time audio and video with AI-created anchors in the news field. Search engine Sogou, which also does research and development in AI, is providing the underlying technology for the project.

The AI technology has a “endless prospects” because it will greatly improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of producing daily TV news reports, Xinhua said, adding that it could also quickly generate breaking news reports to improve the timeliness and quality of such reports. – South China Morning Post
China’s AI race via @SCMPgraphics  http://bit.ly/2NdeiK4 #AI #ArtificialIntelligence #Dataviz #infographic

 

Goldman Sachs staring at ‘significant penalties’, its system of accounting controls could be easily circumvented


Goldman Sachs (U.S. Financial Institution #1) – “knowingly and willfully conspired to circumvent and cause to be circumvented a system of international accounting controls at [Goldman Sachs], contrary to the FCPA [Foreign Corrupt Practices Act]

From left: Leissner, Ng and Low.

Goldman Sachs Group has acknowledged that it may receive “significant penalties” resulting from its deals with 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

It also recognised that it had weaknesses in its compliance controls, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

In its third-quarter earnings filing to regulators, the investment management firm made citations about the indictment against its former employees for bribery and money laundering involving 1MDB, WSJ said.

Although it had acknowledged that it could face “significant penalties resulting from 1MDB”, Goldman Sachs said it was also cooperating with investigators, the report on Monday said.

According to WSJ, Goldman Sachs wrote in the filing that the indictment alleged the firm’s “system of internal accounting controls could be easily circumvented and that the firm’s business culture, particularly in South-East Asia, at times prioritised consummation of deals ahead of the proper operation of its compliance functions”.

The filing also mentioned that former Goldman Sachs bankers Tim Leissner and Roger Ng had “circumvented the firm’s internal accounting controls in part by intentionally deceiving control personnel and internal committees”.

Goldman Sachs is said to have received nearly RM2.5bil (US$600mil) in fees from the 1MDB deal.

Previously, the Financial Times reported that Goldman Sachs had helped 1MDB sell about RM27bil (US$6.5bil) of bonds between 2012 and 2013, two years before the authorities raided 1MDB’s offices to investigate allegations of massive fraud.

In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, Goldman Sachs estimated that possible losses related to litigation proceedings could run as high as US$1.8bil (RM7.49bil) above its total reserves for such matters.

Previously, Goldman Sachs estimated litigation losses to be in excess of US$1.5bil (RM6.24 bil).

The Financial Times also reported that almost 30 people from Goldman Sachs had reviewed 1MDB deal’s approval process.

Meanwhile, in a 2016 indictment, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) alleged that most of the money raised with Goldman Sachs’ help was siphoned off by Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.

The fugitive businessman together with bankers Ng and Leissner were indicted by the DoJ on Thursday for conspiring to launder money and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in relation to 1MDB.

Leissner pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money and to violating anti-bribery laws. He has been ordered to forfeit US$43.7mil (RM182.27mil) as a result of his crimes.

The criminal charges relating to 1MDB are the first by DoJ.

In 2016, the DOJ reportedly recovered over US$1bil (RM4.17bil being the current conversion rate) that was allegedly stolen, and sought the forfeiture of property, including a Bombardier private jet, Manhattan penthouse, Beverly Hills mansion and paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet.

Low is currently wanted in Malaysia and Singa­pore and other countries over investigations into 1MDB.

In a separate report by the Associated Press, PKR incoming president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that Low would be given a fair trial.

Anwar said he was “quite pleased” with developments in the case so far and that investigations in the United States, Malaysia and Singapore and other places were “progressing very well”.

The report also said Anwar had hinted that more former officials could be tried on corruption charges.

Malaysia has applied for a Red Notice to seek assistance from countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, China and Hong Kong via Interpol, and Taiwan via diplomatic channels to arrest Low. – The Star

Related posts:

Goldman Sachs CEO: I feel horrible ex-bankers broke law in 1MDB case

https://content.jwplatform.com/players/r3OlEq4I-d74adXtC.html

SINGAPORE (Reuters): Goldman Sachs chief executive officer David Solomon said on Wednesday he felt “horrible” that two former employees “blatantly broke the law” in their dealings with 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

US prosecutors filed criminal charges against the two former Goldman bankers and a Malaysian financier linked to the alleged theft of billions of dollars from the fund.

An investigation into where 1MDB’s money went became the largest carried out by the Department of Justice under its anti-kleptocracy programme, and the scandal was a major reason why Malaysian voters rejected Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, their prime minister for nearly a decade, in the May 9 general election.

“It is obviously very distressing to see two former Goldman Sachs employees went so blatantly around our policies and so blatantly broke the law,” Solomon said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Singapore.

“I feel horrible about the fact that people who worked at Goldman Sachs, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a partner or it’s an entry level employee, would go around our policies and break the law,” Solomon said.

US prosecutors announced last week that Tim Leissner, former partner for Goldman Sachs in Asia, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and agreed to forfeit US$43.7mil (RM181.8mil).

Roger Ng, the other charged former Goldman banker, was arrested in Malaysia and is expected to be extradited.

Reuters was not immediately able to contact Ng’s lawyer on Wednesday. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment after US prosecutors unveiled the charges last Thursday.

Goldman has also placed its former co-head of Asia investment banking, Andrea Vella, on leave over his role in the firm’s involvement with the case, pending a review of allegations, according to a person familiar with the decision.

The Wall Street bank said in a securities filing on Friday that it may also face penalties from dealings with 1MDB.

Asked if he could provide assurances that neither he, former CEO Lloyd Blankfein or any of the senior management team suspected illegality or compliance breaches in dealings with 1MDB, Solomon said:

“We take compliance and control in our firm extremely seriously, we always have…We are going to continue to cooperate with the authorities and there’s a process in place and that process will proceed.” According to prosecutors, the investment bank generated about US$600mil (RM2.49bil) in fees for its work with 1MDB, which included three bond offerings in 2012 and 2013 that raised US$6.5bil (RM23.29bil). Leissner, Ng and others received large bonuses in connection with that revenue.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng told Reuters in June that the government will be looking at the possibility of seeking claims from Goldman Sachs.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia will look into why Goldman was paid around US$600mil in fees, an amount that critics say exceeds normal levels.

Goldman has maintained that the outsized fees related to the additional risks it took on after it bought the un-rated bonds while it sought investors and, in the case of the 2013 deal which raised US$2.7bil (RM11.24bil), 1MDB wanted the funds in a hurry for a planned investment.

The new Malaysian government has barred Najib and his wife from leaving the country, and the former premier faces multiple charges of corruption, money laundering and abuse of power, though he has consistently denied any wrongdoing related to 1MDB.

In another interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday, Malaysia’s prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim said it would be “inexcusable” if Goldman Sachs was complicit in the scandal. – Reuters

Guan Eng: Goldman Sachs should return RM2.4bil fees – Nation

American investment bank Goldman Sachs should return the US$588mil (RM2.4bil) in it was paid for 1MDB-related matters, says Lim Guan Eng.

The Finance Minister said the fees were for raising bonds totalling US$6.5 billion (RM23.29 billion) for the Malaysian state investment firm back in 2012 and 2013.

“They must pay us back this money, not only the US$588mil but much more than that,” he said during a briefing on Budget 2019 at Hotel Equatorial Penang on Wednesday (Nov 7).

He said there were consequential losses due to the fees paid as it had cost Malaysia big losses.

This was in respond to Goldman Sachs chief executive officer David Solomon, who admitted that their employees had broken the law over 1MDB matters.

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/11/08/guan-eng-goldman-sachs-should-return-rm2_4bil-fees/#wqMtc2F6O1jC35UJ.99

 

Goldman Lunch at Taste Paradise Sets Table for 1MDB Money Probe

 

Goldman Sachs banker’s obscene commissions netted 11% from 1MDB believed to be most compelling evidence of rogue behaviour

 

Here is how 1MDB money was used to buy Equanimity

 

1MDB scandalous Bombardier Global 500 Jet parking fees of RM3.5mil to be paid if govt wants it back

Import expo to improve trade balance: Xi addresses opening ceremony of the CIIE; When realities hit the ‘Road’


The first ever China International Import Expo (CIIE) kicks off in Shanghai today. President Xi Jinping attends the opening ceremony and delivers a keynote speech at the ceremony.

The China International Import Expo (CIIE), the world’s first import-themed national expo, kicks off on Monday. More than 3,000 enterprises from some 130 countries and regions will exhibit their products, taking this as a premier opportunity to enter or expand their presence on the Chinese market.

But there are still fault-finding reports about the event. Some say sarcastically that no state leader or government head from the G7 will attend the expo. Some even link the CIIE with the China-US trade war in spite of the fact that China announced the CIIE in May 2017 at the Belt and Road Initiative on International Cooperation, before the trade war hadn’t started.

Why do these media always want to dig out some political ends from the CIIE, which is in any way a good thing for global trade as well as the exports of Western countries?

CIIE is being held to serve enterprises and exporters worldwide, not Western leaders. Japan ranks first in terms of the number of participating companies, followed by South Korea, the US, Australia, Germany and Italy. This fully demonstrates how much passion companies from developed countries hold toward the expo and heralds the expo’s success.

If more countries and regions with a trade surplus can host import expos, that will promote global trade balance. Those with a trade deficit should not blame others, but encourage their enterprises to grasp every opportunity to promote their products. Sometimes the problem lies in information asymmetry and an import expo can provide a platform for suppliers and buyers to communicate at a low cost.

China has long had a trade surplus and too much of it is not helpful for the country. More imports of high-quality products can help Chinese to upgrade their consumption and advance the production. The inherent drive for hosting CIIE is to translate part of China’s foreign exchange reserve into social progress.

China started very early by holding trade fairs in Guangzhou and later became a leading exporter in the world. Now we are holding the import expo in the hope of promoting our imports.

Tangled in a trade war with the US, China could have shut US companies out of the expo as a way of pressuring, but it has acted the other way around. By contrast, the US now thinks everything about the Chinese economy is wrong and whatever China does is a trick. The two countries differ in their visions.

We believe that the CIIE, if held regularly, will help China enhance the quality of its imports and balance its imports and exports. China doesn’t need to care what the outside world thinks of the expo, nor should it intentionally enhance the volume of transactions as a proof of kindness.

As long as the Chinese market grows larger, CIIE will attract more attention and will be remembered in world trade history as a positive event.

Countries, businesses look forward to CIIE

As the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) nears, officials and entrepreneurs around the world aim to seize the opportunity to explore the Chinese market, voicing greater confidence in China’s further opening up.

“We understand the CIIE as … showcasing China’s greater openness to importers. These are all moves in the right direction,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “We support what China is doing to expand imports and address global trade imbalances.”

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite told Xinhua that “the expo is a ‘win-win’ event for both, China and the world, as it provides new opportunities for cooperation, helps companies across the globe enter the Chinese market and paves the way for China to satisfy its growing demand for high-quality products.”

Pakistan is confronted with current account deficit and the CIIE “is a great opportunity for Pakistan to have a pavilion where we will be exhibiting our exports,” Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said.

Khan hailed China’s reform and opening up policy which provides Chinese industries a better environment to compete in international trade. “China has set a good example,” he said.

Madagascar will showcase products such as vanilla, cocoa beans, coffee beans and minerals at the CIIE. China offers a great opportunity for everyone, and everyone must know how to seize this opportunity, Minister of Tourism Jean Brunelle Razafintsiandraofa told Xinhua.

“Australia thinks it (the CIIE) is a great celebration of … the economic contribution that China makes to the region and the world. That is why we’re delighted that some 180 Australian businesses and brands are participating,” said Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham.

“We are in global markets, we are all together and we want to cooperate,” Israeli Scientific Minister Ofir Akunis said, adding that it is a “very good idea” and the “right way” that China hosts the CIIE where people from all over the world will meet meet on cooperation in the future.

“I think (the CIIE) is a great opportunity to show the players in the global economic environment the opening of China to world trade, and it is also a contribution to the growth of the global market,” Marco Tronchetti Provera, CEO of Italian-Chinese tyre maker Pirelli, told Xinhua.

The CIIE, a significant move by the Chinese government to further open the Chinese market, has attracted about 2,800 exhibitors from over 130 countries and regions. Economic and trade exchanges are bringing more benefits to all sides.

“We are going to Shanghai to represent more than 89 of our members who are able to export a range of products (to China),” Sandile Ndlovu, Executive Director of the South African Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Export Council, said. “China could be one of our biggest customers as there is so much potential for trade with China.”

Marathon Ginseng, a U.S. Wisconsin-based ginseng grower, will have a stall at the CIIE. It registered for the expo the first time it heard of the fair.

“It is a big event in China,” Jiang Mingtao, founder of Marathon Ginseng, told Xinhua. “We hope to enhance the reputation of ginseng produced in the state of Wisconsin … and let more Chinese consumers know our products – Global Times

Highlights of Xi’s keynote speech at import expo – Chinadaily.com.cn

When realities hit the ‘Road’

 

JUST 11 weeks into his election victory, Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan has already had to accomplish a task that seriously tests his diplomatic skills.

More than that, it is a task that would tax his diplomatic creativity. And that is in addition to the dire economic challenges he already faces at home.

Confronted with multiple needs and demands, it has taken some time for the new Government to form a Cabinet. Pakistan’s economy has taken some beating. Imran’s opposition party won the August election on a tide of change, against an incumbent party in government whose leaders had been charged with corruption.

Worse, the novice Prime Minister also has to contend with unfavourable terms that the previous government had agreed to with China in its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects.

Imran is in Beijing this weekend to try to negotiate those terms.

He is a self-confessed fan of Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Even so, he could not possibly have planned to follow in Dr Mahathir’s footsteps so closely. Imran’s toughest task is to present his case in China so persuasively as to avoid a cynical sense of déjà vu among China’s leaders. But what can this new Prime Minister say that has not already been said by his much more experienced Malaysian counterpart, to any greater effect?

One theme Imran’s delegation may be pursuing is explaining to Beijing the plight currently facing Pakistan: in its dire economic straits, Islamabad has to choose between negotiating terms with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or renegotiating terms with China.

Neither option is ideal by any means. Going with the IMF may even be a worse debt trap than China has ever been accused of fostering. The fact that Imran is in Beijing shows that the lesser evil may be to renegotiate the BRI terms, such as reducing the costs to Pakistan by a couple of billion US dollars.

If Pakistan opts to go with China, it would prove that any conceivable terms with the IMF would be more onerous and risky. Both the new Finance Ministry and Imran’s task force are leaning that way.

Alternatively the BRI projects could be deferred, but would China agree? Much of that remains to be seen, or heard, in the following days. For now, it is important to remember that such situations are prone to misinterpretation and misrepresentation – including of the deliberate kind.

Predictably, the largely Western international media have already portrayed Pakistan as “saying no” to the China-led BRI.

But why would Pakistan ever do that? The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a vital segment – indeed, the flagship – of the BRI is of far greater value and importance to Pakistan than to China.

Whatever strategic or symbolic significance the US$62 bil (RM258bil) CPEC may have or be said to have for China, it is dwarfed by the immediate and tangible benefits for Pakistan’s development.

It is situated fully and squarely in Pakistan, not China, covering much of Pakistani territory and set to boost such sectors as energy, telecommunications, tourism, trade and transportation. Pakistan’s Railways Ministry calls CPEC the “backbone” of the country.

Its strategic value to China is access to the Arabian Sea at the corridor’s south-western corner in the port of Gwadar. It is access that China does not need now, and may or may not need sometime in the future. China is comfortable investing heavily in Pakistan’s development because the two countries have a special relationship in South Asia. Western observers who still consider Pakistan a Western ally need to have their perspective of Asia updated. Casting Islamabad as a US ally is merely harking back to the 1950s era of the US-led South-East Asia Treaty Organisation (Seato) in the early phase of the Cold War.

Times have moved on, as have China and Pakistan. Their leaders have repeatedly declared their respective countries “all-weather friends” – perhaps even allies.

To India, China and Pakistan have no common border, their link being only Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). The territory is bitterly disputed with India following the 1963 China-Pakistan boundary agreement.

Controversy with India flared again two days ago when a bus service was launched linking Lahore with Kashghar in Xinjiang, with the route running through contested PoK.

The term “debt trap” in reference to allegedly risky China-led projects was not coined by China, Pakistan or even Sri Lanka. It was coined by an Indian economist.

If any doubt still lingers over the China-Pakistan relationship, BRI cooperation continues between them and may even expand. Both countries are now seeking to extend CPEC into Afghanistan.

On a stellar scale, China helped Pakistan launch two satellites this year. By 2020, Pakistan hopes to send its first astronaut into space under China’s space programme.

India’s problem with the BRI is essentially its passage through territory disputed with Pakistan. That has now been conflated with what is said to be “Pakistan’s problem” with the BRI.

Western pundits in particular tend to draw such hasty and hazy conclusions since they accord with preconceived US notions of a rising China threat. Such misperceptions are not only wrong but misleading.

Asian countries have a different perspective because a rising China as Asia’s main economy also means a rising Asia. It is the proverbial rising tide that lifts all boats in this region of the continent.

Even the classic anecdotal “debt trap,” Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port, was never quite the disaster its detractors claimed it to be. That controversy was built up principally between Sri Lanka’s contending political parties and their different positions on China at the time.

Now that Mahinda Rajapaksa – prime mover of the Hambantota project and defeated in the 2015 presidential race – has returned as Prime Minister nine days ago, punditry should be buzzing.

The point, however, is to arrive at reasoned analysis away from wild speculation. China is a rational player whatever the objective may be, so that a rational approach can only help understanding.

For its part, China should also empathise with its BRI partners in the conditions they find themselves in. Financially strapped and economically challenged, nations that wish to work with the BRI are constrained by factors beyond their control.

First, these countries may have new governments that have inherited a broken economy from their predecessors. Much urgent repair work first needs to be done. Second, BRI projects are largely about massive infrastructure, usually the most expensive public projects to be undertaken by any government. Third, much of the BRI runs through developing countries and regions that may not have the largest financial resources even at the best of times.

How will Pakistan’s appeal to China for revised terms hold out? Prime Minister Imran Khan should be able to win some concessions.

After all, China has helped other Asian countries before in times of need, even at some expense to itself. When the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis struck, China postponed its scheduled currency revaluation to absorb some of the cost so that the afflicted countries do not go under from excessive loan repayments. Such a generous gesture from Beijing would not be out of character, whether the beneficiary is Pakistan or Malaysia.

After all, each boasts a special relationship with Beijing.

Bunn NagaraBy  bunn nagara

 

Martin Jacques – Big Picture: China’s Belt & Road Initiative will change the world as we know it

 


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