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"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award ICC WTO London



Banks digging deep to help revamp Shanxi coal sector www.chinadaily.cn

Banks in northern China's Shanxi province are actively implementing credit policies designed for the business circumstances of each individual coal mining company-to help drive an aggressive transformation and upgrading of the sector.
The director of the China Banking Regulatory Commission's Shanxi office, Zhang Anshun, said on Tuesday that 21 coal mines in the province would be closed in 2016.
He added that the government would take "coercive measures" to stop unauthorized production and construction work at another 16 coal mines.
The coal mines, owned by the seven biggest State-owned coal mining groups in Shanxi, had a total of 4.96 billion yuan ($743 million) in outstanding loans.
Zhang added that coal companies that proactively cut excess capacity and still maintained output, despite facing deteriorating performance and liquidity difficulties, would continue to receive the support of banks in the form of renewal of their loans.
Up to now, banking institutions have renewed 41.8 billion yuan in loans for 109 coal mining companies in Shanxi. Each of the companies has set up a creditors' committee.
According to the CBRC, a creditors' committee is a temporary organization established by at least three banking institutions that are creditors of a company that has difficulty in repaying a large amount of debt.
Members of the committee form a joint credit management mechanism for the company and take concerted action in helping it go through hard times and to discipline its spending.
"Banks will continue to support rational credit demands from high-quality coal enterprises, especially provincial coal mining groups, rather than recalling loans in advance and stopping lending to them," Zhang said.
As of Tuesday, banks have provided the 109 coal mining groups with accumulated financing totaling 215.4 billion yuan, up 5.4 billion yuan from the start of the year.
Banks also granted 1.32 billion yuan to these companies for debt restructuring, and the loan balance for mergers and acquisitions of coal companies reached 2.87 billion yuan.
Song Zuojun, vice-president of the Shanxi branch of China Construction Bank Corp, said the CCB listed 22 coal enterprises in the province, including Shanxi Coking Coal Group Co Ltd, as companies with high-quality production capacity.
Apart from renewing maturing loans to Shanxi Coking Coal Group, the CCB also offered 245 million yuan of new loans and 500 million yuan of wealth management products to the group. Both were medium and long-term credit products especially designed according to its production cycle.
Deputy director of the CBRC Shanxi office, Wang Zhigang said that China's economic downturn caused companies to extend production at high levels and disrupted payments by customers for their products, forcing the coal firms to apply for frequent loan renewals.


Hanjin Shipping shares rally 28 percent after Korean Air approves lending www.reuters.com

Hanjin Shipping (117930.KS) shares surged as much as 28 percent in morning trade on Thursday after the board of Korean Air Lines (003490.KS), its biggest shareholder, approved lending 60 billion won ($53.96 million) to the troubled container carrier.
Shares of Korean Air climbed 5 percent.
Korean Air's board decided late on Wednesday to provide the funds to help offload cargo that has been stranded on Hanjin ships, using Hanjin's accounts receivable as collateral, a spokesman for the airline said.


Apple ‘in £1.5bn talks to buy supercar maker McLaren’ www.theguardian.com

Apple has been linked with a shock £1.5bn deal to buy McLaren Technology Group, the Formula One team owner and supercar maker.
A deal between Apple and the British company would dramatically shake up the technology and automotive industries. The California-based company’s interest in McLaren Technology Group highlights its ambition to develop technology that could be used in an electric and driverless car.
Apple has approached McLaren about a takeover but could also make a strategic investment in the company, the Financial Times reported.
McLaren denied that it was in talks with Apple, but it said: “As you would expect, the nature of our business means we regularly have confidential conversations with a wide range of parties, and they need to remain so.
Apple said it “does not comment on rumours or speculation”.
McLaren builds supercars such as the P1, which costs £866,000 and includes ground-breaking technology such as a lightweight electric motor, carbon fibre body panel, and on-board computer systems. The company is also developing a range of technologies for use in healthcare, energy and transport.
Ron Dennis, the chair and chief executive, has expanded the company dramatically from its origins in Formula One, where it is one of the most successful teams in the history of the sport despite struggling in recent seasons. The company is based in Woking, Surrey, in a futuristic headquarters designed by Norman Foster.
Dennis would be in line for a multimillion-pound windfall if a deal with Apple goes through. He owns 25% of McLaren Technology Group while Tag Group, a Luxembourg-based holding company led by Mansour Ojjeh, owns another 25% and Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Bahrain Mumtalakat holds the other half of the business.
McLaren Technology Group’s last financial results show the company recorded sales of £266m in 2014 and a pre-tax loss of £23m. It produces roughly 1,500 cars a year but has pledged to spend £1bn on research and development over the next six years.
Analysts said a move for McLaren would make sense for Apple. Neil Campling, analyst at Northern Trust Capital Markets, said it would provide Apple with “instant credibility” in the automotive industry and that the companies had “an unusual level of compatibility in design and business outlook”.
He added: “The attractiveness of McLaren – the designer of very high-end automotive products on and off the race track – to Apple, with its own reputation for design-centricity and technological expertise, is quite obvious. McLaren’s tagline could almost be Apple’s – ‘Designed and Engineered to Win’.
“Apple has the balance sheet to do it – they could do the deal for only a fortnight’s free cash flow – and there are logical commonalities in business model. Perhaps the real jewel in McLaren’s crown from Apple’s perspective is its applied technologies business, the [research and development] lab born from their Formula One expertise.
“If, as has been rumoured for some time, Apple is serious about the autonomous vehicle market, buying McLaren gives them instant credibility in the sector and brings with it an unusual level of compatibility in design and business outlook. It won’t shift the Apple dial much on its own so we read it as a statement of intent regarding autonomous vehicles.”
Apple rarely makes acquisitions, and a takeover of McLaren would be its biggest deal since it bought the Beats headphone brand for $3bn (£2.3bn) in 2014.
The US company is understood to have been developing a driverless car in a secretive project codenamed Project Titan. However, a number of workers have left the initiative in recent months, leading to speculation that Apple is struggling with its design or director.
Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, has never publicly acknowledged the project.
Kelley Blue Book, the US automotive research group, said McLaren’s cars were popular in Silicon Valley. Phil Schiller, senior vice president for worldwide marketing at Apple, owns a McLaren.
Michael Harley, analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said: “Apple’s potential acquisition of McLaren isn’t nearly as far-fetched as its initially sounds. Apple has been rumoured, but never officially confirmed, to be working on an electric car. McLaren is well-known as a manufacturer of high-performance sports and racing cars, but its true expertise is in engineering lightweight materials such as carbon fibre and aluminum, both of which are key building blocks to designing an innovative lightweight vehicle.
“Combine McLaren’s many proprietary patents with its proficiency in race technology, hi-tech medical devices, and research, and the two do appear to be a perfect match for each other.”


Volkswagen investors seek $9.2bn compensation over diesel emissions scandal www.rt.com

German car maker Volkswagen faces €8.2 billion in damage claims from investors over their losses following the emissions scandal. The company has admitted equipping about 11 million diesel vehicles with software to cheat on pollution tests.
A state court in Brunswick, Germany said on Wednesday about 1,400 lawsuits have been lodged at the regional court in Braunschweig near Volkswagen's Wolfsburg headquarters.
It received about 750 lawsuits on Monday alone, which marks the first business day after the first anniversary of the scandal.
According to a court statement, investors claim they have suffered damage because the company was slow in disclosing the issue. Last year Volkswagen shares lost more than a third of their value in the first two trading days in Germany after the manipulations were uncovered by US regulators.
The US government is among the investors suing and seeking €30 million. German state pension funds have also filed complaints. Two investor groups are demanding €1.5 billion and €550 million respectively and an investment company is suing for €45 million.
The court said it may need about four weeks to register all the complaints.
The automaker has repeatedly said it had informed markets about the cheating disclosure in a timely manner.
Volkswagen has already set aside about $18 billion to cover the cost of vehicle refits and the settlement with US authorities. However, the automaker has refused to compensate EU consumers over the 8.5 million vehicles affected in Europe. VW said there’s no reason to compensate European customers since under EU rules it didn’t violate emissions standards.
The European Commission said this month that Volkswagen broke consumer laws in twenty EU countries by cheating on emissions tests.
Prior to that, Australia's consumer protection group filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen and its local subsidiary for misleading consumers over the diesel car emissions testing.
Last year the world's second-biggest carmaker lost $6.6 billion after it admitted manipulating emissions tests.


Rio 2016: Mongolian wrestling coaches banned after protest www.bbc.com

Two Mongolian wrestling coaches who stripped in protest at a judges' decision during the Rio Olympics have been suspended for three years.

Tserenbaatar Tsogbayar and Byambarinchen Bayaraa protested after officials ruled against Ganzorigiin Mandakhnaran in the bronze-medal match.

The pair have been banned by United World Wrestling from all international competition until August 2019.

Mongolia's national body has also been fined 50,000 Swiss francs (£39,324).

Mandakhnaran was leading against his opponent, Ikhtiyor Navruzov of Uzbekistan, by seven points to six in freestyle wrestling for his weight class.

But he celebrated too soon and danced around Navruzov for the last 18 seconds. The judges penalised him for not engaging in the fight.



Bank of Japan alters policy to spur growth www.bbc.com

The Bank of Japan has made changes to its stimulus programme, in its latest attempt to spur economic growth.
The bank kept interest rates unchanged, but said it would aim to keep yields on 10-year government bonds at around current levels of zero percent.
The BoJ is also aiming push inflation above the 2% target rate, which was set more than three years ago.
It will continue to buy assets such as government bonds, at the rate of 80tn yen ($787bn; £605bn) a year.
Japan's Nikkei share index rose after the announcement, while the yen weakened to about 102.5 yen against the dollar.
'Failing policy'
Analysts were sceptical about whether the policy changes would be successful.
"They seem to be determined to get the message to the market that they are going to stay on course and continue to buy bonds until they get the inflation rate above 2%," said Tim Condon, chief economist for Asia at ING.
"I don't think it's going to be easy to get the 2%. It's an Abenomics problem, not the Bank of Japan's problem."
Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: "Ultimately while these actions may well help the banks, it's doubtful they will to help the Japanese economy that much, and in some ways it shows how little flexibility the central bank has, given how experimental policy is now becoming.
"To sum up, this morning's actions by the central bank are not so much an easing as a tinkering around the edges of a failing policy."
The Bank of Japan kept its benchmark rate on hold at -0.1%. It introduced negative interest rates in January this year, hoping that commercial banks will use their reserves to lend to businesses, in an attempt to counter the country's economic stagnation.
Analysis: Karishma Vaswani, Asia business correspondent
There was an expectation that Japanese interest rates would fall even further below zero to boost spending in the world's third largest economy, which has been plagued with low growth for the past two decades.
But the negative interest rate policy was considered a failure by some in Japan's financial circles because it pushed the Japanese yen higher against the US dollar, making the price of Japanese goods more expensive overseas, which threatened Japan's economic recovery.
It also hurt the profitability of banks because their excess reserves were hit by a charge.
So the decision NOT to lower rates further has in itself been seen as a short term boost for markets and the yen - which is now trading lower against the US dollar.
But some analysts are telling me that this won't last - and in fact, the modifications that Japan has made to its monetary policy in place of lowering interest rates further below zero won't be that effective in the long term.
The new policy measures are being dubbed by some critics as approaching the limits of what monetary policy can do to fix economic problems.
But these measures aren't supposed to operate within a vacuum.
The central bank's moves are meant work in tandem with the government's Abenomics policies - the three pillars which include structural reform. Japan's government must do more to deliver the goods on structural reforms as part of its Abenomics policy to boost growth, rather than continue to rely on the central bank.
The three arrows: explaining Abenomics
Three arrows in an archery targetImage copyrightTHINKSTOCK
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic policy, which quickly became known as "Abenomics" is based on three arrows:
The monetary arrow: expansion of the money supply to combat deflation
The fiscal arrow: increased government spending to stimulate demand in the economy
The structural arrow: structural reforms to make the economy more productive and competitive


Sharp charts recovery with bold TV sales target www.asia.nikkei.com

OSAKA -- Sharp said Tuesday that it aims to sell 10 million liquid crystal display TVs worldwide in fiscal 2018, double the projected tally for fiscal 2016 -- a goal that hinges on striking a delicate balance with Hon Hai Precision Industry, which became its parent in August.
"We have gone through structural reform and belt-tightening measures," said Kazuhiro Kitamura, deputy head of Sharp's digital information appliance business, at a product briefing in Tokyo. "Now we are looking to sell more units to boost sales."
The struggling Japanese consumer electronics maker is banking on replacement demand in the domestic market. It will release a 45-inch 4K LCD TV at the end of the month, hoping to entice those who own old 32-inch models, the most popular size among the previous generation of LCD TVs, to switch over.
It is also looking to make inroads in emerging markets, such as Southeast Asia -- where consumers are throwing out their tube TVs for flat screens -- and Africa, which has great growth potential.
Back to glory
Sharp's TV sales have continued to fall since marking a record high of 14.82 million units in fiscal 2010. The figure came to 5.82 million in fiscal 2015 and is expected to decline further in fiscal 2016, which ends this coming March. The company's global share has fallen from 6.7% in 2010 to 2.8% in 2015, according to IHS Technology. While Sharp has topped the 10 million unit mark before, it is still an ambitious goal for a company that has since gone through multiple rounds of layoffs.
Taiwan-based Hon Hai -- which is also known as Foxconn and owns 66% of Sharp's shares -- holds the key to Sharp's revival. The Japanese company plans to start selling TVs developed jointly with Foxconn by the end of the year. It will also consider contracting the assembly of products for China and Southeast Asia at the Taiwanese parent's factories. The move could potentially slash costs, since the plants are closer to the intended markets and have a strong ability to procure parts.
Tai Jeng-wu, Foxconn's No. 2 man who became Sharp's president as part of the buyout, seems eager to revive Sharp's TV business. He has noted that Sharp aims to promptly begin the efforts to buy back the usage rights for its TV brand from licensees in the U.S. and Europe.
Working out kinks
But obstacles remain. Sharp currently sources most of its LCD panels from its own plant in Mie Prefecture and from Sakai Display Products, which it runs jointly with Foxconn. But it hinted Tuesday at possibly increasing its procurement of panels from Innolux, a Foxconn group Taiwanese company that supplies only a small amount of the product to Sharp now.
Sharp can produce enough LCDs domestically for 10 million TVs, sources say. Its plants, which also produce panels to sell outside the group, currently enjoy high utilization rates, but it is unclear how long that will last. Procuring more LCDs from Innolux could negatively impact on those plant's utilization rates down the road.
And Sharp may be forced to focus more on cheaper products to capture emerging markets. The TV business is on track to turn a profit this fiscal year. But the profit margin will shrink if products are priced too low in a bid to rack up sales volume, which would offset the cost-cutting benefits of cooperating with Foxconn.
"Selling twice the number of TVs won't necessarily mean sales will also double," Kitamura said.
Sharp was the first company in the world to offer 20-inch LCD TVs, which brought its Aquos line to the global stage. Foxconn's help is key to restoring its position in the industry, but Sharp will have to figure out how to work with the Taiwanese parent first.


President addresses opening of 71st UNGA Session www.en.montame.mn

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/The General Debate of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly commenced in New York on September 20. Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj took part in the “SDG Moment” high-level event for the 1st anniversary of adopting the Sustainable Development Goals 2030, and the opening ceremony of the General Debate.
After the session was opened by the addresses by the Un Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the President of the UNGA Peter Thomson, the heads of state of the UN member countries in alphabetical order gave speeches. President Ts.Elbegdorj was the 31st head of state to address the opening. The General Debates is being attended by 102 heads of state, 3 vice presidents and 49 heads of government.
In his speech, the President of Mongolia expressed the position of Mongolia on the issues of international affairs, and introduced the goals, policy objectives and priorities in the Mongolian foreign policy, and the government’s policies and actions towards socio-economic matters.
The General Debate will consider and resolve 168 packages of matters concerning the international peace and security, disarmament, UN peacekeeping, human rights, good governance, international law, sustainable economic growth, environment protection, social development, UN humanitarian assistance, transnational crimes, terrorism and the UN Budget.


Belarus Accuses Russia of Withholding Oil to Boost Gas Prices www.themoscowtimes.com

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has accused Russia of attempting to “put pressure” on his country by withholding supplies of oil.
Lukashenko claimed that the move was designed to ensure Minsk made concessions in long-running price negotiations on Russian gas.
"We [Belarus and Russia] have been dragging our feet for several months now, unable to agree on the price of gas,” Lukashenko said at a meeting in the Belarussian capital of Minsk on Tuesday. “This is why Russia has reduced its oil supplies to Belarus.”
“We perceive this as pressure on Belarus — but I will not stand for it, and neither will the Belarussian people,” he said.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak denied the claims, maintaining that the amount of oil supplied to Belarus had decreased due to unpaid debts.
He also said that Belarus would have to pay more for Russian gas and oil. "Our Belarussian partners are not paying enough for gas,” he said. “Gazprom is a major taxpayer in Russia. When Gazprom loses money, so does the Treasury. We are forced to seek different forms of compensation.”


Mongolia to pitch railway projects to China-backed AIIB - govt adviser www.reuters.com

By Terrence Edwards
Mongolia will pitch a number of railway projects to the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), an adviser to the government told Reuters, as the crisis-hit nation tries to attract investment and boost trade.

The landlocked country, wedged between China and Russia, is mired in debt following a slump in commodity prices, a precipitous drop in foreign investment and a rapidly declining currency, forcing the government to hike interest rates and slash spending.

It sits on vast, untapped mineral wealth but inadequate transportation infrastructure has held back development, with several proposed railway projects to ship copper, coal and gold to China long out of reach because of prohibitive costs and arguments over security.

But China's "One Belt One Road" project, along with another initiative to create an "economic corridor" connecting it to Mongolia and Russia, has provided opportunities for Mongolia to kickstart new projects, including the expansion of the Trans-Mongolian railway and construction of a new route going east, said Yondon Manlaibayar, an adviser to Mongolia's Ministry of Roads and Transportation Development.

Manlaibayar said Mongolia plans over the next four years to bolster railway capacity and build new routes that will eventually connect it to a trading route spanning from China to Europe.

"It will go forward," Manlaibayar told Reuters. "We've been a driving force for the economic corridor," he said.

The corridor agreement signed by Mongolia, China and Russia in June committed the countries to upgrading regional rail transport by modernising existing capacity and building new routes.

Mongolia wants to find financing to build 550 km (342 miles) of new railways, and plans to expand existing routes.

Manlaibayar didn't say how much Mongolia would seek to borrow to finance the projects, but said preliminary discussions have already been held with the AIIB. A spokesman for the AIIB declined to comment when contacted by Reuters on Tuesday.

The plans include the Northern Railway project led by Australian coal miner Aspire Mining. The China Development Bank has already expressed interest in providing three-quarters of the financing needed for the project.

Also on Mongolia's list will be a rail line linking its Tavan Tolgoi coal mine to the Chinese border. Mongolia has already invested $200 million, Manlaibayar said, but the project needs another $800 million.

The Tavan Tolgoi railway project is one of five major infrastructure projects flagged as priorities by the finance ministry last week as the country tries to dig itself out of an economic crisis.

Five years ago, foreign investment helped drive Mongolian growth into double digits, but capital inflows have been on the decline since 2012 because of disputes with miners and a slump in commodity prices brought about partly by slowing Chinese growth.

The government has also identified Rio Tinto's underground expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine and the Gatsuurt gold mine owned by Canada's Centerra Gold as development priorities.

Manlaibayar said he is seeking approval from the government to launch a road show to get other institutional investors involved in the railway projects.

"We'll present one-by-one because it's difficult getting all these investors in one room," Manlaibayar said. (Additional reporting by Sue-Lin Wong in BEIJING; Editing by David Stanway and Kim Coghill)