Metaverse experience hall to debut at 2022 CIFTIS

By Wang Ke, People’s Daily
The 2022 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) is scheduled to be held at the China National Convention Center and Shougang Park and in Beijing from Aug. 31 to Sept. 5.
The event, with a larger exhibition area and more participants, is expected to become more international and professional. Green and innovative cooperation will be highlighted at the exhibition.
According to Yang Jinbai, vice mayor of Beijing, the exhibition area of the 2022 CIFTIS will be 26,000 square meters larger than that of the previous session, with its thematic exhibition area doubling from a year ago to reach 20,000 square meters.
As of Aug. 22, 1,407 enterprises had confirmed their on-site participation in the event, up 13.8 percent from a year ago, of which 446 are Fortune Global 500 companies and industry leaders. The overall internationalization rate stands at 20.8 percent, nearly 3 percentages higher than that in last year.
Vice Minister of Commerce Sheng Qiuping said the CIFTIS has been expanding continuously since it was launched 10 years ago, evolving into one of the three major platforms in China that serve to promote opening-up and international cooperation.
The past ten years witnessed the rapid development of China’s trade service. During this period, the added-value of the country’s service sector soared 1.49 times and cumulative trade in services exceeded $4 trillion, which has further cemented the country’s advantage of having an ultra-large market.
As an international comprehensive fair held at the state-level, the CIFTIS will lead China’s consumption trend and accelerate consumption recovery and upgrading. It will also create all-round opportunities for global enterprises to join China’s service market and provide a platform for Chinese enterprises to exploit domestic and international markets and resources.
As of Aug. 22, 71 countries, regions and international organizations had confirmed to join the 2022 CIFTIS, including the 59 countries such as United Arab Emirates (UAE), Germany, and the UK, as well as 12 international organizations such as the World Meteorological Organization and the UNESCO, said Ding Yong, director of the Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau.
Among them, 17 countries are ranked in the top 30th globally regarding service trade, five more than those from a year ago. Ten countries, including the UAE, Switzerland, and Italy, will hold exhibitions at the event in their countries’ names for the first time.
At the Exhibitions of Countries, visitors can learn the latest development of participating countries’ service trade and catch a glimpse of these countries’ customs and cultures.
UAE, as the guest of honor country of this year’s CIFTIS, will demonstrate its aviation, financial, advanced manufacturing and cultural services focusing on “diversified economy.”
Thirty-three countries, including the Netherlands, Austria and Portugal, will host online exhibitions.
An environmental services sector is expected to be included in the 2022 CIFTIS to display new technologies and applications in ecological protection and energy conservation. Technology factors will be highlighted at the event, and a Metaverse experience hall will be unveiled at the event’s Telecommunications, Computer and Information Services sector.
Yang introduced that the Metaverse experience hall, which is established at the Shougang Park, will display frontier technologies and achievements in Metaverse production and application.
Besides, Financial Services, Educational Services, Health Services, and Supply Chain Services sectors are expected to be maintained at this year’s event to demonstrate new technologies, achievements, and business forms in these areas.
The Global Trade in Services Summit of the 2022 CIFTIS is scheduled to be held on Aug. 31. The CIFTIS Comprehensive Exhibition will be held at the China National Convention Center. Special exhibitions include nine sectors. The Environmental Services sector will be held at the second-phase project of the China National Convention Center, and the rest eight at the Shougang Park.
The 2022 CIFITS will also include seven forums, 128 thematic forums and five side events. Visitor days of the exhibition start on Sept. 3 and end on Sept. 5.

Booming service trade brings better life to Chinese people

By Luo Shanshan, People’s Daily
Service trade is an important part of international trade and a major area of international economic and trade cooperation. Its development is closely related with people’s life quality.
China has achieved sound performance in service trade this year despite the ever-changing external situations. In the first half of this year, China’s service trade value surged 21.6 percent year on year to 2.89 trillion yuan (about $421 billion). In particular, service exports expanded 24.6 percent yearly to nearly 1.41 trillion yuan, and service imports were over 1.48 trillion yuan, up 18.9 percent from a year ago.
The remarkable half-year progress mirrored China’s achievements in high-level opening up.
In recent years, the country has taken multiple measures to promote the high-quality development of service trade and made firm steps to expand opening up.
It has worked to ensure that measures and policies are effectively implemented in cities where pilot projects for the innovative development of service trade are launched. It has kicked off pilot programs to expand opening up in service trade, and introduced and improved a negative list mechanism for cross-border trade in services. Besides, the country has vigorously promoted digital trade, significantly widened market access of the service sector, and expanded imports of high-quality services.
China has maintained the world’s second largest trader of services for years, enjoying steady growth in the trade of knowledge-intensive services.
However, the country’s service trade still sees a long way ahead before it meets the intrinsic requirements of China’s high-quality development.
From a demand-side perspective, service consumption is gradually taking a bigger share in China’s consumption structure that was once dominated by material consumption.
A report by China Institute of Reform and Development predicted that service consumption would account for over half of China’s total consumption by 2025, and the ratio might reach 60 percent to 65 percent by 2035. The upgrading consumption structure is expanding people’s demand for service trade.
From a supply-side perspective, the added value of China’s service sector increased 8.2 percent year on year in 2021 and accounted for 53.3 percent of China’s GDP. The upgrading industrial structure has significantly expanded the country’s demand for service trade. Besides, China’s industrial upgrading and service trade will be closely integrated. For instance, the digitalization of the service sector and digital services are expected to push China’s service trade toward the high end of the value chain.
As China enters a new phase of development, service trade has gradually becomes a new impetus expanding China’s opening up and a new engine driving the country’s domestic demand. It plays an important role in building a new development paradigm.
China will further open up its service industry and accelerate the alignment of the standards and rules in its service sector with those of the world, so as to build a business environment that’s conducive to the development of service trade.
Facing unexpected impacts from both home and abroad this year, China has unswervingly followed a path of high-level opening up to cope with external uncertainties and actively nurtured new advantages in service trade.
In March, seven departments, including the China’s Ministry of Commerce(MOFCOM), approved 40 specialized bases for exports of featured services. So far, these bases, housing 112 exporters, are exporting services in seven sectors, including culture, traditional Chinese medicine and digital services.
Recently, the MOFCOM, together with other 26 departments, jointly issued a piece of opinion on fostering high-quality development of cultural trade to take Chinese culture to the world.
The 2022 China International Fair for Trade in Services will be held in early September. China will definitely attract more high-quality services that will assist its industrial upgrading, make people’s life better and inject new impetus to the development of service trade.

China’s foreign trade growth sees stable recovery in January-July period

By Du Haitao, People’s Daily
China’s foreign trade maintained double-digit growth in the first seven months of this year, despite the unfavorable external situation, intermittent COVID-19 impacts and other negative factors.
The country’s foreign trade volume reached 23.6 trillion yuan ($3.49 trillion) between January and July, increasing 10.4 percent year-on-year, according to statistics released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC).
In particular, exports grew 14.7 percent year-on-year to 13.37 trillion yuan, and imports reached 10.23 trillion yuan, up 5.3 percent. The country’s trade surplus expanded 62.1 percent to 3.14 trillion yuan during the same period.
The ASEAN, the EU, the U.S. and South Korea maintained the four largest trading partners of China in the January-July period. Their trade volume with China stood at 3.53 trillion yuan, 3.23 trillion yuan, 2.93 trillion yuan and 1.39 trillion yuan, up13.2 percent, 8.9 percent, 11.8 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively.
China’s trade volume with Belt and Road countries expanded 19.8 percent year on year, and that with the 14 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) economies was up by 7.5 percent in the first seven months of this year.
In the first half of this year, Shanghai’s foreign trade had withstood the test of the Pandemic. With the acceleration of the resumption of work and production, Shanghai’s local economy has returned to normal, strongly boosting the city’simports and exports.
In June, Shanghai’s foreign trade growth turned positive, standing at 9.6 percent, up 46.2 percentage points from that in April.
“Both the numbers of incoming containers and enterprises’ pickups have significantly increased. We are currently working at full capacity,” said customs officer Wei Jianhua from Shanghai’s Wusong district. Wei told People’s Daily that the Wusong customs handled 37,000 batches of goods in June, up 46.3 percent from a year ago and 370 percent from a month ago.
Statistics indicate that Shanghai municipality, as well as Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces, all of which are located in the Yangtze River delta, reported combined foreign trade growth of 11.7 percent in the January-July period, up 2.5 percentage points from that in the first half of this year. The figure was 25.7 percent in July alone, contributing over half to the national foreign trade growth.
According to statistics, China’s trade with RCEP partners reached 1.17 trillion yuan in July, up 18.8 percent year on year,boosting China’s overall foreign trade growth by 5.6 percentage points.
“The policy dividends released by the RCEP have helped us expand the overseas market. We’ll learn more about the requirements on imports from China set by Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and other RCEP members, so as to introduce our products to these countries,” said Zhang Hao, who heads a high-tech company in south China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region.
Recently, a batch of sea-buckthorn drinks weighing 115 tons and worth 1.62 million yuan produced by Zhang’s company received a certificate of origin under the RCEP. These products will enjoy a tariff cut of over 30,000 yuan when exported to Japan.
The company has exported 2,556 tons of sea-buckthorn drinks and capsules this year, with a total value of 35.16 million yuan.
“The tariff for our formic acid exports to Japan has been reduced to zero from 4.3 percent, while that for hexafluoropropylene from 3.1 percent to 0.3 percent,” said Zhang Guoqing, director of the sales division of Luxi Chemical Corp, a chemicals company based in east China’s Shandong province.
According to him, the tariff cut has significantly improved the company’s competitiveness in Japan, and the company’s exports to Japan surged 30 percent year on year in the first half of this year.
From January to June, certificates of origin were issued to 59,000 batch of exports with a total value of 18.39 billion yuan by Shangdong customs, as well as the province’s council for the promotion of international trade.
Experts from the GAC noted that China’s foreign trade is still facing instabilities and uncertainties, and to maintain steady growth of the sector remains a challenging task. However, China’s foreign trade has showed strong resilience in the first seven months of this year, laying a solid foundation for the whole-year performance.
As the country implements a series of measures to stabilize economy, further smoothens foreign trade logistics and facilitates work resumption, China’s foreign trade will be likely to keep maintaining stable growth.

N’Delta Anti-Pipeline Vandalization/Crude Oil Theft Taskforce Applaud NNPC Retail Acting MD


Members of the Anti-Pipeline/Crude Oil Theft Taskforce in the Niger Delta region have commended the Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Retail Limited, Engr. Bello Lawal for his outstanding transparent and dedication to service delivery to the organization and putting measures to curtail shortage of petroleum products as to put an end to the increasing cases of queues in the filling stations across the country.

The members of the Anti-Pipeline Vandalization/Oil Theft And Illegal Bunkery Taskforce, made up of Former Militant leaders and stakeholders from Oil producing communities in the region, described Engr Lawal as a game changer and astute administrator who has work hard tirelessly to turn things around in the Nation Oil and Gas Sector more especially in the area of efficient transparent distribution of petroleum products across the NNPC outlets and independent marketers filing stations Nationwide.

In a statement issued by the National Coordinator of the group, General Fiawei Pathfinder, after an emergency meeting held in Abuja with members of the group applauded the untiring efforts and commitment of the Acting Managing Director of NNPC Retail Limited Engr. Bello Lawal for his patriotic detribalized outstanding transparent leadership charisma and dedication to service delivery to the organization.

Pathfinder and his team described Engr. Bello Lawal as a game changer an astute administrator and a technocrat who has worked hard tirelessly to turn things around in the Nation Oil and Gas Sector more especially in the area of efficient transparent distribution of petroleum products across the NNPC outlets and independent marketers filing stations with major marketers outlets and across all depots Nationwide without any bias since inception of office as the acting managing director of NNPC Retail LTD.

“things are now better off than they were in the past and attributed the constant availability of products and efficient distribution chain to the leadership of Engr, Lawal in the NNPC Retail LTD led by the Acting Managing Director. It is only people with capacity, proven track records with unblemished record and men of integrity like Engr. Bello Lawal should be appointed to head sensitive departments and agencies as such in the NNPC”.

The Anti-Pipeline Vandalisation/Oil Theft and Illegal Bunkering Taskforce however called on the Group Managing Director of NNPC Limited, Engr. Mele Kyari to confirm the appointment of Lawal as the substantive Managing Director of NNPC Retail because he has shown competence and capacity in the few months he took over the agency.

Also speaking, the Director of Operations of the group, Sir. AK Peters said the retailing of petroleum products has been turned around like never before and he has restructured transformed the entire Organization and put in place best hands to man most sensitive departments, Nigerians should expect better days ahead with Engr. Bello Lawal at helm of affairs at NNPC Retail LTD.

The Group assured the acting managing director of NNPC Retail Ltd that they are committed to partner with it’s Organization at all time in the fight against Pipeline Vandalization, Oil Theft And Illegal Bunkering activities and to always protect and safeguard the Nation Oil facilities in the creeks of the Niger Delta.

“And at the same time, we will do everything humanly possible to curtail the menace of diverting of petroleum products and hoarding at various stations to check the excesses arising from contentious issues in the system including the menace of Pipeline Vandalization, Oil Theft and Illegal Bunkering. These fights could not be limited to only NNPC management and the law enforcement agencies alone therefore the group urge every well-meaning Nigerians and stakeholders in the Oil and Gas Sector to join hands in this cause.

“With the antecedent of Engr, Bello Lawal, in view within these few months he took over the mantle of Leadership in the NNPC Retail LTD the group, we are convinced and set to honour Lawal with an award of meritorious service and a Credence of Honour for his laudable achievements’’.

Fire incident: Katsina central market traders lose N50m daily – Group

An NGO, International Human Rights Movement, says the traders affected by the recent fire outbreak in Katsina central market, lose over N50 million daily.

The Ambassador Nigeria of the NGO, Mr Salisu Musa, who disclosed this while briefing newsmen on Saturday in Katsina, attributed the financial loss to what he called the refusal of the state government to allow the traders rebuild their shops.

He recalled that on March 2, the market was gutted by fire, with property worth more than N902.1 million destroyed and a total of 608 shops burnt.

“During the fire incident, another 59 attachment shops were affected, while 21 shops were looted.

“We arrived at the amount being lost daily by the traders through our interactions with them. Each of them told us how much they lose daily which we multiplied by the number of shops affected.

“To investigate the real cause of the fire outbreak, the Katsina State government set up a 21-man committee of experts, with their findings revealing that congestion was the major cause.

“For that reason, the state government did all it could to ensure that the victims got financial support. And also, government’s plan was to reconstruct the shops and reduce the congestion.

“The victims cried out and urged the government and the stakeholders to give them permission to rebuild their shops to enable them continue with their businesses,” he said.

Musa said that more than 2,668 persons lost their means of livelihood, as each shop had, at least, four to five assistants working under it.

“Therefore, we are calling on the state government and stakeholders to immediately give permission to those affected traders to re-construct their shops.

“While the committee is trying to find the root cause of the outbreak, we urge the government to look into the possibility of using another market called ‘Dubai market’.

“This will boost the state’s economic growth and help reduce the rate of unemployment in the state,” he said. 

Eid-el-Kabir: Ram sellers lament low patronage in llorin

 Barely few days to the celebration of Eid-el-Kabir, sellers of rams, an important item for the celebration are lamenting low patronage in several parts of llorin, the Kwara capital.

Our correspondent who visited some ram markets in various parts of the llorin on Thursday reports that several ram sellers complained of low patronage.

There were large numbers of various sizes of rams in all the markets visited, waiting for perspective buyers.

Markets visited included lpata cattle market, ram market at Mandate ultramodern market, Adeta ram market, Ode Alfa-Nda ram market, and Zango ram market.

Prices of rams were similar in almost all the markets as the smallest rams were sold between N35,000 and N40,000 while the biggest rams were from N100,000 to N150,000.

Alhaji Abdullahi Olufadi, a ram seller at Ipata cattle market, in an interview with Our correspondent said sellers were facing low patronage despite the fact that Eid- el- Kabir was a few days away.

Olufadi attributed the situation to the poor economic situation in the country.

“By now we are supposed to be recording fantastic sales but buyers trickle in like one or two persons buying one while some cannot afford the price,” he said.

A legal practitioner and potential buyer, Mr Tunde Olumoh who spoke with Our correspondent said he had not bought his own ram yet due to non-availability of fund.

Fuelwood business thrives in Gombe — NAN Survey

The business of selling various forms of woods used as fuel for cooking is on the increase in Gombe communities, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) survey reveals.

Fuelwood is a fuel such as firewood, charcoal, chips, sheets, pellets, and sawdust. The particular form used depends on factors such as source, quantity, quality and application.

In many areas, wood is the most easily available form of fuel, requiring no tools in the case of picking up dead wood, or few tools.

Although in any industry, specialised tools such as skidders and hydraulic wood splitters, have been developed to mechanise production.

NAN correspondent who visited Tashan-Dukku, one of the major firewood spots within Gombe metropolis on Thursday, observed that between 6 a.m. and 8.30a.m, no fewer than 32 trucks unload woods at the spot.

NAN gathered that these trucks bring in the woods from different communities from Dukku, Kwami, Nafada and Funakaye Local Government Areas (LGAs).

One of the drivers, Abubakar Ibrahim confirmed to NAN that he sourced woods from different communities in Dukku and Kwami LGA which he sells to his customers in Gombe metropolis and suburbs.

According to him, a truckload of the wood mostly from sapling (young trees) is sold for between N45, 000 and N50, 000 and he can supply twice in a day depending on demand.

A firewood seller from Nasarawo community, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the business of fuelwood was lucrative in view of the increasing number of customers that patronise the commodity.

Another seller from Yelenguruza, Mrs Rosemary Uchenna, told NAN that starting the business was easy for her as all, “I needed was to secure a space in our street, buy a table and then buy my goods.”

She said that she started the business two months ago with N15, 000 and the business was moving and people preferred wood now because it was cheaper and as we sell at N60 for one wrap.

According to her, I always get supplies from my customers anytime I am in need of firewood and charcoal for sale.

Others who recently started the business in Madaki, Nasarawo and Yelenguruza communities shared similar experiences, adding that there was market for the business and that the business only required little capital to start.

However, Mr Inuwa Ahmed, the Director Forestry and Wildlife, Gombe State Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources, said officials of the ministry were being sent to those areas to check such activities.

“Sometimes, we do send our people on patrol to places where these acts are being carried out and impound the woods and charcoal gotten from those areas.’’

He stated that recently, some firewood and charcoal were impounded and four persons involved had been fined, adding that in some cases the ministry also took persons involved in tree cutting to court to serve as deterrent.

“When you are caught with about two tonnes of charcoal, you will be fined at least N30, 000 for such activities.’’

Ahmed noted that the ministry was also collaborating with traditional leaders at the community level to help report activities of indiscriminate felling of trees in their domains for appropriate measures by the state government.

He said that the ministry was planning massive campaigns against tree felling and the need to support the state government in ensuring the success of the “Gombe Goes Green (3G) project’’.

Ahmed advised residents to stop cutting down trees, abide by all forestry laws and embrace environmental-friendly cooking sources.

Kwara NULGE to Rumour Peddlers: Gov AbdulRazaq not touching LG funds

By Steve Oni, Ilorin

Kwara State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has debunked claims in certain quarters that the state government was pilfering local government funds, saying Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq does not interfere with the management of allocations to the local government councils in the state.

Comrade Hotonou O. Rafiu, state Secretary of NULGE, in a statement, said: “The Union wishes to inform the general public that monthly allocations to all the sixteen (16) local government councils in Kwara State is being administered by local government representatives, and all the union leaders at local government level are also observers at the monthly allocation meeting.

“NULGE Kwara State chapter wishes to inform the general public and most especially Kwarans that Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq is not stealing local government fund as captured in a report credited to our national president Alhaji Ambali Olatunji Akeem.”

Rafiu said the misleading report has also been refuted by the NULGE President.

“We assert that neither the Governor nor the state government is interfering in the management of local government funds,” the NULGE Secretary added.

The state chapter of the union meanwhile joined the national secretariat of the NULGE to reject a bill to delist local government from the Nigerian constitution, describing the proposal as outrageous.

Why price of cement is high in Nigeria -Dangote

The management of Dangote Cement Plc. says a bag of cement from its factories and plants in Obajana and Gboko  N2,450, and N2,510 at Ibese.

The company’s Group Executive Director in charge of Strategy, Portfolio Development and Capital Projects, Mr Devakumar Edwin, stated this in a statement on Tuesday in Lokoja.

He said that these were the prices of cement which included the Value Added Tax (VAT) as at April 12.

Edwin said, the clarifications become necessary in view of the recent insinuations in some section of the media that the company sells cement in Nigeria at higher prices relative to how much it sells it in other countries, particularly in Ghana and in Zambia.

He noted that though the company has direct control over its ex-factory prices, it cannot control the ultimate price of cement when it gets to the open market.

The statement read in part ” While a bag of Cement sells for an equivalent of $5.1, including VAT in Nigeria, it sells for $7.2 in Ghana and $5.95 in Zambia ex-factory, inclusive of all taxes,” Edwin explained.

Edwin frowned at what he called “intentional misinformation ” that Dangote was selling its cement at higher prices in Nigeria relative to other African countries at the expense of Nigerians describing such allegation as false, misleading, and unfounded”.

He attributed the high cost of cement in Nigeria to the global rise in demand for cement as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

” Nigeria is no exception as a combination of monetary policy changes and low returns from the capital market has resulted in a significant increase in construction activity.

“To ensure that we meet local demands, we had to suspend exports from our recently inaugurated export terminals, thereby foregoing dollar earnings,” he said.

He said that the company had also reactivated its 4.5million ton capacity Gboko Plant which was closed down four years ago and the company is running it at a higher cost.

” This is all in a bid to guarantee that we meet demands and keep the price of cement within control in the country.

“Over the past 15 months, our production costs have gone up significantly.

” About 50 per cent of our costs are linked to the USD , so the costs of critical components such as gas, gypsum, bags, and spare parts; have increased significantly due to the devaluation of the Naira and VAT increase.

” Despite this, Dangote Cement has not increased ex-factory prices since December 2019 till date while prices of most other building materials have gone up significantly,” he said.

Hyundai provides alternatives for electric powered vehicles

In a bid to provide options to Hyundai Kona Electric Vehicle (EV) customers, Stallion Hyundai Motors Nigeria has unveiled both locally assembled petrol-powered Hyundai Kona and the all-new 2021 Hyundai Grand i10 Sedan into the Nigerian market.

The company had late last year and recently (2021) launched the Hyundai Kona Electric (EV) in Lagos and Abuja.

Speaking on the latest unveilings, the brand’s Head of Sales and Marketing, Gaurav Vashisht, said the petrol-powered Kona was a veritable option for the regular customers and lovers of the Kona.

He said, “Hyundai Kona EV and its petrol-powered sibling are two different vehicles. While the Kona EV is powered by an electric motor and draws power from its 64 kilowatt hour (kwh) battery, the Kona petrol is powered by the conventional but more advanced internal combustion engine.”

The 2.0-litre engine 2021 Kona petrol version comes with award-winning styling, equipment and safety features available in the Kona EV, he noted.

Hyundai Nigeria also introduced the 2021 Hyundai Grand i10; designed to appeal primarily to entry level buyers in their 20s and 30s, young families, singles, salaried and self-employed and budget-conscious people looking to downsize.

The Grand i10 hits the target precisely by delivering modern design, spacious interior with advanced connectivity options, superior safety features and economical operation.

The new Grand i10 sedan demands attention and a closer investigation. The 1.2-litre engine mated to 4-speed automatic transmission is designed and built to the highest standards, earning an “A+” grade when it comes to protecting the driver and cabin occupants.

“This is a car that will be popular among the youths, as well as attract patronage from banks and other corporate organisations that need portable and rugged vehicles for their day-to-day runs,” said Vashisht.