Xi eyes China-Australia FTA this year

BEIJING, March 30 — China is looking forward to a China-Australia free trade agreement being signed this year, President Xi Jinping said when meeting with Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove on Monday.

“The two sides should work to sign and approve the free trade agreement this year and implement it as soon as possible, as it can act as a new accelerator for economic cooperation,” Xi told Cosgrove, who is making his first state visit to China.

http://en.people.cn/n/2015/0331/c90883-8871379.html

Settlement Agreement between the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and PayPal, Inc.; OFAC has also Released Additional Enforcement Information

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a $7,658,300 settlement with PayPal, Inc. (PayPal) to settle potential civil liability for 486 apparent violations of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 544; the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560; the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 515; the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 594; and the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 538.  For several years up to and including 2013, PayPal failed to employ adequate screening technology and procedures to identify the potential involvement of U.S. sanctions targets in transactions that PayPal processed.  As a result of this failure, PayPal did not screen in-process transactions in order to reject or block prohibited transactions pursuant to applicable U.S. economic sanctions program requirements.  Separately, between October 20, 2009 and April 1, 2013, PayPal processed 136 transactions totaling $7,091.77 to or from a PayPal account registered to an individual on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons.  PayPal’s automated interdiction filter did not initially identify the account holder as a potential match to the SDN List, and when it did, PayPal Risk Operations Agents dismissed alerts on six separate occasions after failing to obtain or review documentation corroborating the identity of the SDN.

Paypal agrees within 15 days of the date Pay Pal receives the unsigned copy of this Agreement to pay to the U.S. Department of the Treasury the amount of$7,658,300.

http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20150325_33.aspx

FAA Streamlines UAS COAs for Section 333

Flights at or below 200 feet to any UAS operator with a Section 333 exemption for aircraft that weigh less than 55 pounds, operate during daytime Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions, operate within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the pilots, and stay certain distances away from airports or heliports:

  • 5 nautical miles (NM) from an airport having an operational control tower; or
  • 3 NM from an airport with a published instrument flight procedure, but not an operational tower; or
  • 2 NM from an airport without a published instrument flight procedure or an operational tower; or
  • 2 NM from a heliport with a published instrument flight procedure

See full article here:

http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=82245

India’s export growth slows to three-year low

India’s merchandise exports in February plunged 15 percent from a year earlier to $21.5 billion, following an 11.2 percent decrease in January, marking the lowest value in three years, according to provisional figures released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Imports fell even more steeply, contracting 15.7 percent from February 2014 to $28.4 billion.  As a result, India’s monthly trade imbalance with the rest of the world narrowed to a 17-month low, at $6.9 billion.

“The continuous double digit decline in exports both in January and February makes us apprehensive about reaching even $320 billion in exports in fiscal year 2014-15,” said Rafeeque Ahmed, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations, in a statement.

“Indian exporters are losing out particularly to China, which has fixed exchange rate against euro and other currencies, while Indian rupee is fast fluctuating except against the U.S. dollar. This partly explains a 48 percent growth in China’s exports in February.”

From April through February, India’s overall exports totaled $286.6 billion, improving slightly from $284 billion for the same period in the previous fiscal year.  Imports for the 11-month period amounted to $412 billion, up from $409 billion, with cumulative trade deficit remaining nearly flat year-over-year, at $125.4 billion.

With just a month left for the current fiscal year, which runs from April to March, and slowing growth trends, New Delhi’s annual export target of $340 billion looks well out of reach.

“Even though trade deficit has shrunk, double-digit decline in exports for the past two consecutive months is a cause of worry.  It is an indication that we would not be able to achieve this year’s export target,” said Arbind Prasad, director general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

FIEO expects the federal government to announce major incentives in the new five-year foreign trade policy to be released shortly, to rejuvenate the export sector.  “This will go a long way in reversing the declining trend in our exports.”

http://www.joc.com/international-trade-news/indias-export-growth-slows-three-year-low_20150316.html

New Guangdong FTZ set to boost investment

The newly approved Guangdong Pilot Free Trade Zone will offer preferential policies for investment from the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao, according to a top provincial official.The zone, covering an area of more than 116.2 square kilometers, will include the district of Nansha in Guangzhou, Hengqin New Area in Zhuhai, and Qianhai and Shekou areas in Shenzhen.”The FTZ will further open up to Hong Kong and Macao investors under the CEPA (Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement) framework,” said by Zhu Xiaodan, governor of Guangdong province

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2015-03/13/content_19800235.htm