Fast-tracked in late 2020, a PRC carbon market is hastened by Beijing’s pledge to peak emissions before 2030 and reach neutrality by 2060, both deemed imperative to fulfill its Paris Agreement obligations. Trading is expected to start by end June. Trading and registration agencies are to start up in Shanghai and Hubei respectively; a voluntary CCER (Chinese Certified Emission Reduction) market is to be housed in Beijing.
Germplasm surveys were launched nationwide in March. Led by a group from MARA (Ministry of Ag and Rural Affairs), sectoral surveys for crops, livestock, poultry and aquatic resources will be run by China Academy of Ag Sciences, National Livestock Station, and MARA Fishery Bureau respectively.
The campaign to study Party history is in full swing. Ideology chief Wang Huning 王沪宁 chaired a mobilisation meeting on 15 March; several central agencies and provinces have followed suit. Qu Qingshan 曲青山 Central Party History and Documentation Research Institute outlined the curriculum’s content. An official website and WeChat account are just some of the propaganda outlets supporting Party members’ studies.
With geopolitical tensions mounting in recent years, diversifying ag imports has become a prime concern for Beijing. Established ag trading partners like Australia, Canada and the US have lost markets. What has it meant for consumers in the PRC?
China Policy probed factors shaping purchase of Australian products by China’s consumers, and the likely impact of changes in supply/availability. Relevant to producers, policymakers and other key stakeholders internationally, the findings are summarised here.
African swine fever (ASF) is still the major pig production risk. Forecast to return to pre-ASF levels by H2 2021 it now faces uncertainty, admits MARA (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs). Six new outbreaks of ASF have occurred this year, reported above all in big pork producers Sichuan, Hubei and Yunnan. Details have yet to be revealed, but more cases are expected.
‘Unified admissions’ have hit non-state education harder than COVID-19. So said Tian Guangcheng 田光成 Zhejiang Research Institute for Non-state Education Development in November 2020, when the ed sector was still reeling from the virus’ wallop. Non-state compulsory ed has flourished in recent years. Its students keep outperforming public school peers. This comes as no surprise: these schools charge high fees, enjoy state-of-the-art facilities and pay their teachers well.
The domestic economy and 14th 5-year plan received most attention at the ‘Two Sessions’; the plan meanwhile highlights the ‘ultra large market’ and BRI prospects. Beijing will move on China-Japan-Korea FTA talks, as well as with the Gulf Cooperation Council, Israel and Norway, said MofCOM (Ministry of Commerce).
The NPC (National People’s Congress) has passed the outline of the 14th 5-year plan, setting the scene for a post-COVID, post-Trump recovery. Stand out developments across our portfolios follow. Favouring manufacturing over services is the big surprise. R&D is a solitary outlier, tied directly to manufacturing. No value-added services target has been set, in contrast to the 13th plan.
Provinces will gain discretion to develop solar and wind power. Draft regulations on solar and wind construction sneak-previewed by the media propose local capacity will no longer be limited by annual quotas. These quotas were needed, explains Zhang Wenzhong 张文忠 Huadian Fuxin Energy Corporation, to break persistent demand for subsidies.
As the national Two Sessions convene, we look into priorities set at local feeder sessions. In line with the 5th Plenum’s suggestions, ‘high-quality’ self-reliance in tech has been taken up across the country, while consumer spending is an underlying source of angst. Some 15 provinces have set ambitious consumption targets for 2021 on the back of dual circulation goals.
President Biden’s first call with Party Secretary Xi came on 10 Feb 2021, a full month after his inauguration. The content was predictable. Xi called for collaborating while agreeing to differ. Issues of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang were, however, off limits to US interference. Biden aired his concerns on hot-button issues while signalling not all settings of the Trump era would be reversed.
Long-awaited guidelines to regulate big tech finally emerged 8 February. Coming on the heels of the Ant Group IPO saga and the Central Economic Work Conference’s attack on ‘disorderly’ expansion of capital, they will slow the growth of tech giants over the next few years, not least in areas deemed of ‘systemic risk’.