The Chinese government has never imposed any policy

 to force foreign companies to transfer their technology,” Gao added, sayi

ng that the country’s Foreign Investment Law bars forced technology transfers.

The newly passed law, approved this month and set to take effect in January, stipulates that China will treat foreign and Chi

nese enterprises equally and protect their intellectual property rights. Under the law, foreign enterprises will recei

ve pre-establishment national treatment, in addition to a negative list system for market access.

A negative list shows areas where investment i

s limited or prohibited for foreign investors, with all other areas presumed to be open.

Gao said the ministry is working with relevant de

partments to conduct research on shortening the negative list for market access.

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On Sunday, the US sent the Navy’s guided-missile destroy

Curtis Wilbur and Coast Guard’s cutter Bertholf through the Taiwan Straits. On March 13, t

wo US B-52H bombers flew near Chinese islands in the South China Sea for the second time this month.

Wu said China resolutely opposes the “provocative actions” by the

US warplanes, and will continue to take necessary actions to safeguard national sec

urity. “The facts have shown that the US is the one militarizing the South China Sea,” he said.

Regarding the US military’s recent interactions with its Taiwan counterpart, Wu said China resolutely opposes any milit

ary interaction between the two sides, whether it involves arms sales to Taiwan or official military exchanges.

“The Taiwan question is a domestic matter for China, and it is related to China’s core interests and the feelings of the Chi

nese people. It cannot be interfered with by outside forces,” Wu said, adding that the one-China policy is a reco

gnized consensus in international relations, and the political basis for Sino-US relations.

“Any attempt to undermine this principle is no different than trying to shake the foundatio

n of Sino-US ties. This does not fit with the basic interests of either nation, and it is very dangerous,” he said.

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isit shows EU seeks deeper cooperationuropean Commiss

Editor’s Note: President Xi Jinping visited Italy, Monaco and F

rance from March 21 to 26. Why is the visit important for China-European Union rela

tions? Two experts share their views on the issue with China Daily’s Pan Yixuan. Excerpts follow:

Visit sets positive tones for China-EU relations

Xi’s visit to the three European countries has yielded substantial fruits of cooperation, the most significant being the

signing of a memorandum of understanding between China and Italy paving the way for Italy to participate in th

e China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative to promote mutual development.

The cooperation deals in fields such as trade and infrastructure that Italy has signed with

China will help the Italian government to boost the country’s economic recovery. For instance, the exp

ort of Sicily’s red oranges to China by air will be a small but important step toward boosting bilateral trade.

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Retail sales of local government bonds attract eager

Chinese local government bonds worth 1.4 billion yuan ($208.5 million) were snapped up by retail investors within a single day, after counter sales in banks we

re made available for the first time. The fundraising will help supplement a broader fiscal deficit this year, analysts said.

On Monday, individuals in China were able to purchase bonds issued by t

he Zhejiang provincial government (five-year term, 3.32 percent coupon rate) and the N

ingbo city government (three-year term, 3.04 percent coupon rate). Proceeds from the sales will be used for land purchases (300 million yuan) and shantytown renovations (1.1 billion yuan), acc

ording to a notice on the website of China Central Depository and Clearing, a clearinghouse under the central bank.

The minimum investment amount for retail investors is 100 yuan, lower than most wealth management products issu

ed by commercial banks. Previously, individual investors could only purchase bonds issued by the central government, kno

wn as treasury bonds. And before Monday, local government bonds were traded mainly in the interbank market.

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According to the Ministry of Finance, local government

nts in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Shandong provinces as well as Beijing will eventually be able to sell bonds at count

ers in commercial banks directly to retail investors, and the practice will be expanded nationwide after an additional period of time.

The ministry said individuals do not need to pay taxes on the bonds’ interest income, and this policy is likely to attract more investors.

Selling local government bonds to retail investors should facilitate liquidity

in the secondary market, improve the market-oriented bond pricing mechanism and pu

sh issuers to enhance the quality of information disclosure, said Amanda Du, a Moody’s vice-president and senior analyst.

“Higher coupon rates compared with treasury bonds, and the tax exemption on the interest income, make

local government bonds more attractive for retail investors,” she said. “The fast takeup by retail investors also indicates that the

bonds have won high recognition among individual buyers, supported by the local governments’ high credit ratings.”

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Currently, all special purpose local government bonds are

domestically rated “AAA”, the safest level. The sale to individual investors is mainly of project-link

ed special-purpose bonds, a type of local government bond vigorously promoted by the government in re

cent years. The cash flows generated from the underlying projects will be used as the primary repayment sources.

In China, there are two types of local government bonds: general bonds and special purpose bonds. According to the country’s 2019 budget repor

t, which was approved by the top legislature earlier this month, the budgeted deficit for local governments is 930 billion yuan, up 100 billi

on yuan compared with 2018, and this fund gap will be supplemented by general bonds.

In the meantime, 2.15 trillion yuan of special purpose bonds will be issued to support la

rge infrastructure projects, such as shantytown renovation projects and railways, said the ministry.

Letting individual buyers invest in local government bonds is a way to narrow the government’s financin

g gap, said Hu Yijian, a tax professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. The gap is expected to expand, as policym

akers decided to cut about 2 trillion yuan in taxes and fees this year while at the same time increase spending on investment.

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Finance Minister Liu Kun said at a forum on Sunday tha

t the government plans to accelerate local government bond issuance this year. “We are tryi

ng to complete the issuance of the new bond quota of 3.08 trillion yuan by the end of September.”

“We will urge local governments to inject funds into projects quickl

y in order to stabilize investment and expand domestic demand,” said Liu.

In the first two months, issued local government bonds totaled at 782.1 billion yuan. Among this, 326.1 bil

lion yuan was raised through special purpose bonds, a type just like United States municipal bonds, the ministry said.

hina will further facilitate foreign enterprises’ venture ca

pital investments in Chinese companies, said Premier Li Keqiang at the Boao Forum for Asia on Thursday.

The country will also improve the regulations on foreign investors’ strategic invest

ment in mainland-listed companies as well as on their mergers and acquisitions with domestic enterprises.

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In a spectacular display of indecision, the House of Comm

ons has voted against remaining in the EU and every version of leaving the EU,” tweeted James Cleverly, the Conservative Party’s deputy chairman.

Nevertheless, some proposals fared better than May’s deal had done two weeks ago, and parlia

ment was due to hold more indicative votes on Monday after refining the options most likely to secure a majority.

Many Conservative eurosceptics had made clear they would only c

onsider supporting May’s deal if she gave a firm commitment to resign, hoping a new leader

would be more sympathetic to their views when negotiating the terms of Britain’s future relationship with the EU.

“I have heard very clearly the mood of the parliamentary party,” May told a meeting of Conservative lawmakers (MPs).

“I know there is a desire for a new approach – and new lead

ership – in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations – and I won’t stand in the way of that.”

But within hours of May’s offer, the Democratic Unionist Party, which props up her minority gov

ernment, said it would vote against the deal if May brought it back a third time.

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While May was addressing her lawmakers, MPs in the mai

n chamber debated eight other Brexit options, ranging from leaving abruptly with no deal to revoking the divorce altogether.

While there was no majority support for any, the option calling for a referendum on any depa

rture deal, and another suggesting a UK-wide customs union with the EU, won more votes than May’s deal did two weeks ago.

Oliver Letwin, a Conservative former cabinet minister who led parliament’s unusual power grab, said it ha

d been expected that none would immediately win a majority, and lawmakers would have another chance on Monday.

The uncertainty around Britain’s most significant political and economic change since W

orld War II has left allies and investors aghast. Sterling dipped after Wednesday’s events.

If May’s deal were to pass, her office said there would be a contest to replace her after May 22, when Britain would leave the EU.

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Dinosaur-era bird fossil found with unlaid egg dating back abo

A group of scientists in Gansu province have discovered a fossilized b

ird dating back about 110 million years and the first ever to have an unlaid egg in its abdomen.

The fossil represents a new species, Avimaia schweitzerae, belonging to a group called the Enantiornithes, which was a

bundant around the world and coexisted with dinosaurs in the Cretaceous period.

The well preserved fossil was discovered in the city of Yumen.

Because the specimen was crushed flat, it was only after a small fragment was extracted and analyzed under a micro

scope that the research team at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Pal

eoanthropology realized the unusual tissue was an egg, said Alida Bailleul, the lead author of the article.

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