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S Korea's rare earth imports from China growing


SEOUL -- South Korea's dependency on Chinese supplies of rare earth materials seems to have grown, driven by an increase in demand on the back of stable prices in China, customs data showed.

Imports from China jumped by 37.1 percent to 324 tons in September compared to the month before, according to a report by the Korea Customs Service.

In September, South Korea imported a total of 418 tons of rare earth materials including scandium and yttrium, up 32.8 percent from the previous month, the report showed.

About 77 percent of South Korea's imports of rare earth materials came from China, and 12.6 percent from Japan and 8.6 percent from France, according to the report.

The Korea Customs Services explained that imports from China increased greatly as a stable trend was observed in prices of rare earth materials in China.

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China's Coal Market to Remain Stable

Coal supply and demand will keep growing at moderate pace in China, and the market will remain generally balanced in the upcoming winter and spring, an industry association said on Oct 21.

Some regions will, however, periodically see tight supply, according to the China National Coal Association (CNCA).

The coal output in the first three quarters reached 2.69 billion tonnes, and the sales volume hit 2.64 billion tonnes. Both registered a growth rate of at least 10 percent, according to CNCA.

The annual output is estimated to exceed 3.5 billion tonnes this year, compared with about 3.3 billion tonnes last year. Coal imports are expected to hit 150 million tonnes, less than last year's 164.83 million tonnes.

Domestic demand will keep rising at a moderate pace amid steady economic growth, but uncertainty in the macro economy will decelerate demand growth, predicted Wang Zhanjun, an official with CNCA.

The association said the price hike this year was modest. The current reserve volume stands at 225 million tonnes, which is adequate for 19 days of use for the country's major power producers.

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Coal imports rise as winter approaches

CHINA'S monthly coal imports rose to a record in September as power utilities built up stocks to meet higher demand during the winter.

Last month's purchases rose 25 percent annually to 19.1 million tons, or 15 percent from August, according to the General Administration of Customs yesterday. The previous high was 1.18 million tons in July.

Analysts said September's robust imports were due partly to power plants increasing purchases as they prepared for a two-week partial maintenance program on the key Daqin railway from September 20.

Imports in the first nine months totaled 123.4 million tons, up 1.88 percent from a year earlier and a reversal from a negative reading for January to August.

But imports may fall in the fourth quarter of the year, the analysts said, citing ample inventories and volatile prices.

The State Electricity Regulatory Commission said last week that China will see a less severe power shortfall in the coming winter season than during the summer. But the shortage could be higher than expected if coal supplies were not adequate.

China's imports of liquefied natural gas rose 17 percent from a year earlier to 1.15 million tons in September, the customs data showed. LNG buying hit a record high of 1.18 million tons in July.

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China Law News



China's legal system gets refined

China Daily

The country's top legislature is removing and modifying "a great number of" administrative and local regulations that run contradictory to the Constitution and national laws, a senior legislator said on Thursday.

"We're cleaning up a great deal of such regulations ... that implicate local interests in every provincial-level administrative region," said Xin Chunying, deputy director of the legislative affairs commission of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee.

She said the exact number of such regulations will be released when the job is done.

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China's top legislature to read draft amendment of Civil Procedure Law


The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, opened its bimonthly session, during which lawmakers read a draft amendment of the Civil Procedure Law for the first time.

The lawmakers will also review draft laws and amendments concerning mental health, military service and clean-production promotion in the session to run from Monday to Saturday.

The draft resolution on strengthening anti-terrorism efforts, as well as government reports on affordable housing and environmental protection, will also be submitted to the legislature.

The lawmakers will also review reports from the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate on promoting justice in judicial systems during the session.

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China to increase punishment for violations of work-related illness law

China's top legislature on Monday reviewed an amendment to a law regarding occupational illnesses that sets harsher punishment for violations.

Licensing authorities for construction projects will be given criminal sanctions if their actions violate the law, according to the draft amendment to the Law on Occupational Illness Prevention and Control that was submitted to the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee for its second reading.

The authorities may be fired if they arbitrarily approve licenses for construction projects, the draft amendment states.

The draft amendment states employers who violate the law and do serious damage to an employee's life or health will be fined between 100,000 yuan (15,689 U.S. dollars) and 500,000 yuan. The fine's ceiling was previously set at 300,000 yuan.

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China cuts tax to boost small businesses

BEIJING - China carried out major tax cuts on Tuesday designed to benefit the nation's crisis-hit small and micro-sized firms - including street vendors - and also help curb inflation.

The value-added tax (VAT) threshold for small enterprises increased to between 5,000 yuan ($791.14) and 20,000 yuan, in terms of monthly sales revenues, from the previous threshold of 2,000 to 5,000 yuan, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) on its website.

Meanwhile, the threshold for levying the business tax for small enterprises was raised to 5,000-20,000 yuan from the previous 1,000-5,000 yuan.

The new threshold is designed based on the business traits of small and micro businesses and aims to relieve their tax burden, said Bai Jingming, a researcher with the MOF.

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26 Nations Defy Europe on Airline Emissions

26 Nations Defy Europe on Airline Emissions

China, the United States and 24 other nations backed a declaration on Wednesday urging that their airlines be exempted from the European Union’s Emissions Trading System.

The move at the International Civil Aviation Organization, an arm of the United Nations, is another challenge to environmental leadership by the European Union, which has failed in its efforts to get some of the biggest polluters in the developed world to adopt crucial parts of its agenda for tackling climate change.

The declaration said the European directive was “inconsistent with applicable international law” and that the signatory nations would work together to oppose it.

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© Lehman, Lee & Xu 2011.
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