- China Says World Trade System Not Perfect, Needs Reform
The current world trade system is not perfect and China supports reforms to it, including to the World Trade Organization, to make it fairer and more effective, Beijing’s top diplomat said.
China is locked in a bitter trade war with the United States and has vowed repeatedly to uphold the multilateral trading system and free trade, with the WTO at its center.
But speaking late on Thursday to reporters after meeting French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi said some reforms could be good.
While certain doubts have been raised about the current international trading system, China has always supported the protection of free trade and believes that multilateralism with the WTO at its core should be strengthened, Wang added.
“At the same time, we do not believe that the current system is perfect and without flaws,” he said.
“China supports necessary reforms and perfection of the current system, including to the WTO, to make it fairer, more effective and more rational,” Wang added.
The basic tenets of the WTO, in opposing protectionism and supporting free trade should not change, but the rights of developing nations should also not be overlooked, he said.
“The aim of reform should be to allow countries to enjoy the development fruits of globalization more fairly, not to further widen the differences between south and north,” Wang said.
WTO reforms need to include listening to voices from all parties and broad consultation, and should especially listen to a respect the opinions of developing countries, rather than just allowing “one person to have a say”, he added.
“The issue of WTO reform is extremely complex, and involves many areas. (China) hopes all parties remain patient, and advance step by step.”
His remarks come as China and the United States may return to the negotiating table with the threat of new U.S. tariffs looming. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has extended an invitation to talks to his counterparts in Beijing.
“TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SHOULD NOT BE MISTAKEN”
But China will not buckle to U.S. demands in any trade negotiations, the major state-run China Daily newspaper said in an editorial on Friday, after Chinese officials welcomed an invitation from Washington for a new round of talks.
The official China Daily said that while China was “serious” about resolving the stand-off through talks, it would not be rolled over, despite concerns over a slowing economy and a falling stock market at home.
“The Trump administration should not be mistaken that China will surrender to the U.S. demands. It has enough fuel to drive its economy even if a trade war is prolonged,” the newspaper said in an editorial.
If the United States imposed new levies on Chinese imports then Beijing “will not hesitate to take countermeasures against U.S. tariffs to safeguard China’s interests,” it added.
President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Thursday that the United States holds the upper hand in talks.
“We are under no pressure to make a deal with China, they are under pressure to make a deal with us,” Trump tweeted. “Our markets are surging, theirs are collapsing.”
The U.S. administration is readying a final list of $200 billion in Chinese imports on which it plans to levy tariffs of 10-25 percent in coming days, which would ramp up the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
Trump said last week that he also had tariffs on an additional $267 billion worth of goods ready “on short notice if I want.”
A meeting among Cabinet-level officials could ease market worries over the escalating tariff war that threatens to engulf all trade between the world’s two largest economies and raise costs for companies and consumers.
However, the last round of talks, between mid-level U.S. and Chinese officials in August, failed to reach any agreement.
Egbin Decries N388B NBET Debt, Idle Capacity
Egbin Power Plc, the biggest power station in Nigeria, has said it is owed N388bn by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc for electricity generated and fed into the national grid.
The company disclosed this on Tuesday during an oversight visit by the Senate Committee on Privatisation, led by its Chairman, Senator Theodore Orji, to the power station, located in Ikorodu, Lagos.
The government-owned NBET buys electricity in bulk from generation companies through Power Purchase Agreements and sells it to the distribution companies, which then supply it to the consumers.
The Group Managing Director, Sahara Power Group, Mr. Kola Adesina, told the lawmakers that the total amount owed to Egbin by NBET included money for actual energy wheeled out, interest for late payments and available capacity payments.
Egbin is one of the operating entities of Sahara Power Group, which is an affiliate of Sahara Group. The plant has an installed capacity of 1,320MW consisting of six turbines of 220 megawatts each.
The company said from 2020 till date, the plant had been unable to utilize 175MW of its available capacity due to gas and transmission constraints.
Adesina said, “At the time when we took over this asset, we were generating averagely 400MW of electricity; today, we are averaging about 800MW. At a point in time, we went as high as 1,100MW. Invariably, this is an asset of strategic importance to Nigeria.
“The plant needs to be nurtured and maintained. If you don’t give this plant gas, there won’t be electricity. Gas is not within our control.
“Our availability is limited to the regularity of gas that we receive. The more irregular the gas supply, the less likely there will be electricity.”
He noted that if the power generated at the station was not evacuated by the Transmission Company of Nigeria, it would be useless.
Adesina said, “Unfortunately, as of today, technology has not allowed the power of this size to be stored; so, we can’t keep it anywhere.
“So, invariably, we will have to switch off the plant, and when we switch off the plant, we have to pay our workers irrespective of whether there is gas or transmission.
“Sadly, the plant is aging. So, this plant requires more nurturing and maintenance for it to remain readily available for Nigerians.
“Now, where you have exchange rate move from N157/$1 during acquisition in 2013 to N502-N505/$1 in 2021, and the revenue profile is not in any way commensurate to that significant change, then we have a very serious problem.”
He said at the meeting of the Association of Power Generation Companies on Monday, members raised concern about the debts owed to them.
He added, “All the owners were there, and the concern that was expressed was that this money that is being owed, when are we going to get paid?
“The longer it takes us to be paid, the more detrimental to the health and wellbeing our machines and more importantly, to our staff.”
Adesina lamented that the country’s power generation had been hovering around 4,000MW in recent years.
Oil Rises on U.S. Fuel Drawdowns Despite Surging Coronavirus Cases
Oil prices climbed on Wednesday after industry data showed U.S. crude and product inventories fell more sharply than expected last week, reinforcing expectations that demand will outstrip supply growth even amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 48 cents, or 0.7%, to $72.13 a barrel, reversing Tuesday’s 0.4% decline.
Brent crude futures rose 34 cents, or 0.5%, to $74.82 a barrel, after shedding 2 cents on Tuesday in the first decline in six days.
Data from the American Petroleum Institute industry group showed U.S. crude stocks fell by 4.7 million barrels for the week ended July 23, gasoline inventories dropped by 6.2 million barrels and distillate stocks were down 1.9 million barrels, according to two market sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
That compared with analysts’ expectations for a 2.9 million fall in crude stocks, following a surprise rise in crude inventories the previous week in what was the first increase since May.
Traders are awaiting data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday to confirm the drop in stocks.
“Most energy traders were unfazed by last week’s build, so expectations should be high for the EIA crude oil inventory data to confirm inventories resumed their declining trend,” OANDA analyst Edward Moya said in a research note.
On gasoline stocks, analysts had expected a 900,000 barrel decline drop in the week to July 23.
“The U.S. is still in peak driving season and everyone is trying to make the most of this summer,” Moya said.
Fuel demand expectations are undented by soaring cases of the highly infectious delta variant of the coronavirus in the United States, where the seven-day average for new cases has risen to 57,126. That is about a quarter of the pandemic peak.
Oil Price Rises To $74.70 Despite Delta Variant
Oil price inched higher on Tuesday despite the fast spreading COVID-19 Delta variant. Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced gained, $0.20 or 0.27 percent to $74.70 per barrel on Tuesday at 12:05 am Nigerian time.
Delta variant is spreading in China, the world’s largest importer of crude oil, forcing crude oil investors to start cutting down on their oil demand projections.
“The Delta variant is still spreading and China has started to clamp down on teapots, so their import growth would not be that much,” said Avtar Sandu, a senior commodities manager at Singapore’s Phillips Futures, referring to independent refiners.
Strong U.S. demand and expectations of tight supplies have helped crude oil to recover from a 7 percent slump recorded last Monday to mark their first gains in two to three weeks last week.
Global oil markets are expected to remain in deficit despite a decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, collectively known as OPEC+, to raise production through the rest of the year.
“There is seemingly a battle within the energy complex between the prevailing supply deficit engineered by OPEC+ and the threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant in regions with low vaccination rates,” said StoneX analyst Kevin Solomon.
“The slow take-up of vaccinations will continue to limit some upside in oil demand in those regions, and there will be intermittent spells in the recovery in the coming months.”
Government4 weeks ago
Justice Binta Nyako Grants FG Request, Remands Kanu in DSS Custody
Technology4 weeks ago
Opera Becomes the World’s First Alternative Browser Optimized for Chromebooks
Economy4 weeks ago
130 Countries Signs Commitment to Global Tax Rate, Nigeria Abstains
Naira3 weeks ago
Naira Exchange Rates Today, Monday, July 5, 2021
Business3 weeks ago
How to Redeem Gift Cards, Gift Card Rates in Nigeria
Government4 weeks ago
Buhari Arrests Nnamdi Kanu, Repatriated Him to Nigeria on Sunday
Business3 weeks ago
Jeff Bezos Steps Down as Amazon CEO- How Much Power Will He Give Up?
Finance3 weeks ago
African Development Fund Extends $83.6 Million in Grants to Boost Ethiopia-Djibouti Electricity Trade