Austrian companies embrace China’s winter sports sector

More Austrian companies are getting involved in China’s rapidly growing winter spo

rts market, said Martin Glatz, commercial counselor at the Austrian embassy in Beijing.

“Austria has been trying to be very present in China in the lead up to the Winter Olympics in 2022,” said Glatz at the

Austrian Winter Sports Days 2019 Conference in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province on Friday.

“Ten years ago when we organized for the first time the Advantage Aus

tria Ski Race, not many people took alpine skiing very seriously. But now skiing has entered the ma

instream in China,” said Glatz, who is also the head of Advantage Austria Beijing.

China rolled out a national program to boost the development of wi

nter sports after Beijing won the bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

“That’s an opportunity not only for our Chinese friends to get some fresh air outside the b

ig cities, but also is an opportunity for Austrian companies to get involved with Chinese partners to de

velop the market and to offer the best of equipment both in terms of consumer goods and in devices,” Glatz added.

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While the US has long been an established powerhouse

in multiple sectors, China is steadily transforming itself from a traditional manufacturing center into a technology-driven economy capable of delivering hig

her-value products and services to serve its increasingly affluent, middle-income consumer base.

Recognizing the pivotal role of colleges and universities in this process, China is making huge invest

ments to strengthen its higher-education institutions, and is at the same time developing greater cap

bilities in science, technology and innovation. In the critical field of artificial intelligence, for example, Chin

ese President Xi Jinping has laid out an ambitious plan to make China a world leader over the next two decades.

Today, with rapidly improving academic systems, a clear focus on research, and a vast pool of high-caliber talent, Chinese unive

rsities are almost certainly at the forefront of defining the new and most innovative jobs of the 21st century.

This exciting trend, which will likely be unimpeded whatever the outcome of this week’s trade ta

lks, means there are tremendous opportunities for academics to work in China-and the appeal is much bro

ader than just the likely increment in salary and research budget. Many individuals are attracted by the int

riguing possibility of using the next stage of their academic career to take on a new adventure and explore a new culture.

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The United States has so far delivered batches of relief su

  lies to a border town in Colombia, including food and hygiene kits, ready-to-use supplementary foods and high-energy biscuits

. It’s pledged $20 million to help Venezuela, and other countries including Canada, the UK and Germany have chipped in, too.

  Earlier this week, Guaido named Saturday as the deadline for the aid to cross the border.

  But the United States announced Friday preparations to bring aid in through another route.

  ”The US and its partners began pre-positioning additional hu

manitarian aid for Venezuelans in Boa Vista, Brazil,” the US State Department tweeted.

  The aid consists of food kits “containing rice, beans, sugar, and salt to feed nearly 3,500 people f

or 10 days and additional rice to feed an estimated 6,100 people for one month,” a fact sheet from the State Department says.

  British billionaire Richard Branson sponsored a Live Aid-inspired show Friday in Cucuta, Colombia, featuring Latin

American stars such as Colombian musical legends Carlos Vives and Juanes, and reggaeton singer Maluma. Co

lombian President Ivan Duque, Chile’s Sebastian Piñera and Mario Abdo of Paraguay also joined the crowds.

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A day earlier, the Israeli leader’s office released, then softened

  a statement saying he had met with Gulf leaders to discuss their common interest in “war wit

h Iran.” On Thursday, Netanyahu added his own criticism of Europe, noting that the US had pulled out of

the Iran deal and added sanctions. “The Europeans should join this effort rather than try to circumvent it,” he said.

  Pence’s remarks — both about Europe and advocating for an aggress

ive stance against Iran — are likely to become yet another irritant between the US and Eu

rope, already at odds over the Iran nuclear deal, trade, the Paris climate agreement as well as President Donald Tr

ump’s attacks on the European Union and NATO, his support for populists and for Britain’s exit from the EU.

  Allies such as France and Germany declined to send senior officials to the ministerial, whi

ch was initially supposed to focus on Iran and then was broadened to cover Yemen, Syria and attempts to re

solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, partly in response to European objections.

  Even the ministerial’s location — Poland — is potential salt in the wound.

  Warsaw has pulled at the fabric of the European Union as it has pursued a series of anti-democratic steps, silencing inde

pendent media, politicizing security services and undermining the judicial system. Yet Pence and other US officials lavi

shed praise on their Polish hosts, while the vice president used his remarks there to paint Western Europe as an isolated outlier.

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The European Union and the United States share the sam

  e diagnosis of the situation,” Czaputowicz said. “They have a similar perspective of problems in the Middle East, and also — let’s b

 

e open — the negative role played by Iran. … Howeve

n Union and the United States differ in terms of modus operandi, esp

ecially via evaluation of JCPOA or Special Purpose Vehicle and their possible impacts.”

  Czaputowicz said that in talks, representatives of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom had spoken about the benefits of the nuclear deal.

  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo backed up Pence’s aggressive stance on Iran during a press conference at the end of the summit.

  Pompeo was asked about Pence’s criticism of three of the US’ closest allies — the UK, France and Germany — and what

the consequences would be, given Pence’s accusation that they were trying to “break up our sanctions.”

  The top US diplomat sidestepped. “Look, we make no bones about” wa

nting Europeans to put more pressure and sanctions on Iran. “We respect the sove

reignty of every nation,” Pompeo continued. “But the United States is determined to convince all nations of the w

orld that it is in our collective best interest to deny” Iranian leaders the money they need, Pompeo said.

  Pompeo took a stab at some damage control, saying there have been “lots of places” where Europea

n countries have taken on Iran forcefully and mentioned Germany’s decision to deny landing rights to Iran’s Mahan Air.

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On Thursday, the pontiff opened the summit by urging he b

  nd other church leaders to commit to taking concrete actions.

  ”The holy people of God are looking at us and expect from us not simple condemnat

ions,” Francis said, “but concrete and effective measures to put in place. We need to be concrete.”

  The Pope then said he had made a list of 21 “reflection points” that were handed out to the assembly of church leaders, wh

ich included preparing a “practical handbook” of guidelines for handling abuse cases when accusations emerge.

  Also included are instructions to inform civil authorities and church officials whenever an accusation is made, esta

blishing provisions to include non-clergy experts in investigations, as well as formulating “mandatory codes of c

onduct” for all church clergy, personnel and volunteers “to outline appropriate boundaries in personal relationships.”

  More controversially, the Pope proposed that dioceses and Catholic organizations around the world not publish

lists of clergy accused of abuse before a preliminary investigation and “definitive” condemnation have occurred.

  ”The principle of natural and canon law of presumption of innocence must be also be saf

eguarded until the guilt of the accused is proven,” the Pope said in the “reflection points.”

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Many private enterprises pledged equity to borrow money

stock or real estate investment, instead of investing in their main business, which is not recommended. What we should encourage is tha

t companies should finance R&D and technology, which is conducive to economic development.

Cai Fang, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

What lies behind the economic slowdown is the disappearance of the demographic dividend, which has ca

used a decline in the potential growth rate, meaning there is no longer a gap between actual growth rat

es and potential rates. Now, the natural unemployment rate has climbed from 4 to 5 percent, indicating there is no cyc

lical unemployment at present and thus excessive strong stimulus is unnecessary.

The government should focus policymaking on public employment services like

training and appropriately use macroeconomic policy tools to regulate the economy.

Lou Jiwei, chairman of the National Council for Social Security Fund

Industrial policy played a certain role in the early economic developmen

t stage, but later, the actual role of industrial policy was not all positive. Take the auto ind

ustry as an example. The current “big three” private car manufa

cturers have basically broken the constraints of industrial policies to grow up.

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The Chinese economy is in transition, but China’s financial

system hasn’t turned around yet. This is why private enterprises are facing difficulty in financing recently.

Small- and medium-sized enterprises have been squeezed out of the formal financing market, pushing up interest rates on informal financing.

Interest rate liberalization is crucial for the financial system to support the private eco

nomy, which will increase interest rates on formal financing and lower rates on informal financing.

It is necessary to regulate the informal financial sector, but not eliminate it. Shadow b

anking and fintech sectors do pose certain risks, but they are the meaningful products of financial liberalization.

Wang Yiming, deputy director of the Development Research Center of the State Council

We are still a developing country, with capital stock and per capita stock much lower than

in developed countries. So there is nothing wrong with stabilizing investment, which should be not seen as a sin.

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But Myanmar still has some obstacles to deal with in order

attract foreign capital. The first is instability in the job market and relatively low labor efficiency. Particularly, the recent years have seen an increasing number of strikes and the failure of the g

overnment to ease industrial relations conflicts with effective measures has crippled investor confidence in the country. Some foreign ent

erprises even withdrew from Myanmar and shifted to neighboring countries, denting the image of the nation.

Second, Myanmar’s backward infrastructure may deter potential investors. A small nu

mber of power generation facilities and fragmented grids cannot ensure stable and sufficient po

wer supply. Access to electricity is limited to only 26 percent of the population, impeding Myanmar’s economic development.

Third, some Myanmese are prejudiced against foreign investment. Worrying that Myanmar’s eco

nomic and social interests may be impaired, they turned their backs on foreign investment. Demonstrators r

allied in Kachin State to demand the government permanently halt the Myitsone dam project, without giving any constructive suggestion on the fo

llow-up arrangements. It’s fair to say some movements against foreign-invested projects, driven by nationalism an

d so-called environmental concern, are of no help in improving the country’s investment environment, and have hijacked economic development. Re

specting the spirit of the contract is a basic requirement for modern states and their people. Myanmar State Councilor Aun

g San Suu Kyi recently said an administration shouldn’t terminate foreign-invested projects approved by its predecessor.

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Meanwhile, Japan continued signing agreements with

one with the UK in 2017 and another with India the following year. By exploiting the power of these regional countries, Japan aims to secure military provisions for

its SDF in the Indo-Pacific region from the US, Canada, Australia and India and in the North Atlantic region from the US, the UK, France and Canada.

This has laid the foundation for Japan to broaden its SDF activities and ensure military provision with its partners. It is a sm

all-scale bilateral military alliance system centered on Japan. This shows Japan’s long-term strategic plan.

Since the 21st century, Japan has clearly labeled China as its biggest real and potential rival. Esp

ecially since Shinzo Abe took office, he spared no efforts at containing China. During Abe’s first te

rm, the Japanese government raised the idea of the “arc of freedom and prosperity.” When he became prime mini

ster for a second time, the policies advocated by his cabinet, including the values-based alliance, the alliance of m

aritime democracies, the democratic security diamond and the freedom corridor, have all kept China in focus.

Because of the ACSAs with Australia and India, Japan can militarily c

onstrain China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. In the At

lantic, it can also exert forceful intervention in China’s policy in Europe, North Africa and West Africa.

In some areas where China’s military strength has not reached, Japan has crafted its military plan in advance by ut

ilizing its bilateral alliance system, trap-falling China’s military strategy into a passive position.

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