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China welcomes foreign companies to enter the Chinese market

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China welcomes foreign companies, including those from the United States, to enter its market, share development dividends and jointly promote the growth of the global economy, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

The remarks were made by the ministry’s spokesperson Mao Ning at a regular press briefing in response to media reports that many American enterprises plan to expand their business in China and the American Chamber of Commerce in South China’s latest survey, which shows that over 90 percent of respondent companies consider China one of the most important investment destinations.

Mao said the facts have proved that China is a promising market for foreign investment.

She said the one hand, it is a result of China’s huge market and complete industrial and supply chain networks, and on the other, it is due to China’s effort to firmly advance high-level opening-up, support the multilateral trading system and continuously provide foreign investors with a more market-oriented, law-based and internationalized business environment.

She noted that in January, China’s paid-in foreign direct investment (FDI) reached 127.69 billion yuan (nearly $19 billion), growing by 14.5 percent year on year. These numbers signal a good start for foreign investment in China this year.

She said foreign investors, including American companies, have been optimistic about China’s market and plan to increase their investments in China, and data from the U.S. Commerce Department shows that goods trade between the United States and China hit a record $690.6 billion in 2022.

All of these indicate that China-U.S. trade and investment cooperation is mutually beneficial and win-win, she said, stressing that decoupling is detrimental, unpopular and unfeasible.

“No matter how the international landscape may evolve, we will not change its resolve to open wider at a high standard,” said Mao. “We will not change our determination to share development opportunities with the rest of the world.”

(Cover: A view of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing, China. /CFP)

Source(s): CGTN

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Economic growth projected to expedite compared to 2023

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Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) has anticipated the economic growth rate will increase compared to 2023.

MMA revealed that the quarterly reports of all the major economic industries, other than the fisheries’ industry, reported expansion in activity. The Quarterly Economic Bulletin Report includes comprehensive details on the progress of industries. The tourism industry was highlighted as the primary contributor to the nation’s economic advancement.

MMA’s report indicated that national productivity stood at 4% in 2023 and is expected to rise to 4.9% this year. The growth in tourist arrivals, particularly from key markets like China and Europe, is anticipated to enhance not only the tourism sector but also sectors such as transport and communications, thereby stimulating overall economic acceleration.

The Quarterly Business Survey conducted four times annually since 2013, aims to determine the ongoing activities and anticipated changes for the industries. MMA expressed confidence that these insights will inform strategic decision-making and policy formulation moving forward.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Over 2,000 beds expected to be brought to market in 2024

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Minister of Tourism Ibrahim Faisal has revealed that an additional 2,700 tourist beds are expected to be added to the Maldives’ tourism sector this year. He made the statement during an exclusive interview with PSM News.

Speaking to PSM News, Minister Faisal highlighted the government’s efforts to attract investors to the islands of the Maldives. He said that investor forums are being planned in various countries, with the first forum anticipated to take place in July or August. He also said that the initiative will be spearheaded by the Ministry of Tourism, the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), and the Maldives Integrated Tourism Development Corporation (MITDC).

Additionally, Minister Faisal revealed plans for another investor forum in Thailand, with additional forums in other countries being considered. He stressed the importance of creating special arrangements to expand tourism into new areas and attract investors by reducing acquisition costs and offering other incentives.

Furthermore, Minister Faisal highlighted that 15 to 12 new resorts are expected to open this year. Based on current statistics, he said that it is estimated that 2,700 new beds will be operational by the end of the year.

The government is making efforts to expand tourism across different parts of the country, particularly in areas where tourism is currently absent. As part of the initiative, 19 islands across nine atolls have been opened for tourism development. Currently, the Maldives boasts 62,300 tourism beds, which includes 42,955 beds from 174 resorts, 14,461 beds from 860 guesthouses, and 1,198 beds from various tourist facilities.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Trade deficit widens, fish exports drop 41 percent

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The merchandize trade deficit widened from USD 669.3 million in the first quarter of 2023 to USD 768.5 million in the first quarter in 2024; reflecting stronger import and decline in exports.

However, compared to the final quarter last year, merchandize trade deficit in Q1-2024 registered a decline of 6%.

According to the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA)’s Quarterly Economic Bulletin released on Tuesday, total merchandize exports – comprising of domestic exports and re-exports – register an annual decline of 5 percent in the first quarter this year, reaching a total of USD 131.3 million.

MMA reports that the fall in total merchandize exports was caused due to the steep decline in domestic exports – which has been observing decreases over the last two consecutive quarters as well.

Domestic exports – mainly comrpise of fish and fish products – plunged 41% in Q1-2024, registering a total of USD 31.5 million.

Central bank adds this decline was due to the staggering decline in the export earnings from frozen skipjack tuna, which observed a 64 percent drop – by USD 19.9 million – following declines over the last two consecutive quarters.

Moreover, this decline also in export earnings reflected both the 57 percent decline in the volume of such exports, and the 21 percent drop in skipjack tuna prices in the Bangkok frozen market during Q1-2024.

During the review quarter, frozen skipjack tuna in Bangkok market was priced at an average of USD 1.4 per kilogram – a decline from USD 1.8 per kilogram recorded in the corresponding quarter last year.

Besides this, declines were observed in the export earnings from fresh or chilled yellowfin tuna for the third consecutive quarter.

In the review quarter, export earnings from this commodity dropped by 57 percent (by USD 3.3 million) with the volume of such exports dropping by 55 percent, indicating a decline in unit prices.

Canned and pouched tuna exports saw the opposite trajectory, increasing by 5 percent during the review quarter despite a decline in the volume of such exports.

In tandem with these developments, volume and earnings from frozen yellowfin tuna exports increased, registering an 18 percent growth, a surge by USD 0.6 million), in the review quarter.

The fall in domestic exports was partially offset by the significant rise in merchandize re-exports during the first quarter this year.

In Q1-2024, merchandize re-exports rose by 18 percent, registering a total of USD 99.8 million reflecting the significant growth in jet fuel re-export – which had registered a 17 percent increment.

On the other hand, total merchandize imports observed an annual growth of 12 percent in the review quarter, registering a total of USD 899.8 million.

Major import categories saw modest growths, but was partly offset by a considerable decline in import expenditure on construction-related items; which dropped 9 percent during the Q1-2024.

Among the major import categories thar recorded growths during Q1-2024, the largest increase was observed for import expenditure on petroleum products, which rose by 25 percent – a surge by USD 41.9 million – mainly mirroring the spike in diesel imports, which recorded a susbtantial 27 percent jump (USD 34.8 million) in the review quarter.

Food items saw a growth of 14 percent (USD 23.9 million), while mechinery and mechanical appliances imports saw a 40 percent (USD 23.0 million) growth.

Import expenditure on electrical and electronic machinery and equipment registered a 43 percent growth (USD 19.0 million) during the first quarter.

Despite significant fisheries activities – from the country’s second largest economic sector – the relatively lower revenue receipts from the sector is an industry-wide concern, especially among the fishers who stand to receive the most significant brunt from adverse impacts.

Fishers’ woes do not end here as many face plight of long overdue payments owed to them by processed-fish manufacturers and canneries operating in the Maldives.

Source(s): sun.mv

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