“The VAT reduction policy strongly indicates the government’s determination to improve the problems associated with rare diseases,” Kevin Huang, founder and president of the Chinese Organization for Rare Disorders (CORD) told the Global Times.

CORD, a non-governmental organization, is committed to promoting cooperation between rare diseases patients, medical professionals, pharmaceutical companies and government departments. It also works on strengthening public understanding of rare diseases, improving access to medication to treat rare diseases and promoting policies.

Huang said the policy will surely attract more attention to rare diseases, and he expects more policies to be introduced following these initial steps.

On February 15, the National Health Commission (NHC) announced the establishment of a national cooperation network for the diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases to improve the diagnosis, treatment and management of rare diseases.

Led by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, 324 hospitals nationwide which specialize in rare diseases will be involved in the network.

“Orphan drugs should be given priority for examination and approval, and effective drugs should be recommended for sale both in China and overseas simultaneously,” Jiao Hong, head of the National Medical Products Administration told China Youth Online on March 7.

“The market price of drugs depends on the selling price of pharmaceutical enterprises, import tariffs and the profits of drug distributors. The VAT reduction policy actually benefits pharmaceutical enterprises directly. At present, it is hard to say how much cheaper it will be for patients,” Huang said.

David Malpass, undersecretary for international affairs at the US Treasury Department, was selected as president of the World Bank Group for a five-year term beginning on April 9, 2019, the World Bank Group said in a statement Friday.

Malpass, 63, was chosen by US President Donald Trump in early February as the US candidate for the post, and has secured approval from the World Bank’s board after a campaign without competition.

The Board expressed its deep gratitude to Interim President Kristalina Georgieva for her dedication and leadership in recent months, the World Bank Group said in the statement. Former World Bank chief, Jim Yong Kim, abruptly announced his resignation in early January.

Candidates picked by the United States, the World Bank’s largest shareholder with 16 percent of its voting power, have all ended up assuming the leadership post since the institution’s inception in 1944.

This long-held tradition has put the credibility of the organization into question, given that emerging markets’ and developing economies’ total contributions to global economic growth have far outweighed those of the advanced economies in recent years.

Malpass, who once criticized the World Bank, has raised concerns within the international development community over his skepticism about the role of the bank and multilateralism.

In February, Malpass thanked the US president for selecting him to lead “the world’s premier development institution.”

Highlighting the 13-billion-US dollar capital increase and other reforms that the World Bank shareholders endorsed in April 2018, Malpass said, “With shareholders and dedicated staff, there is a great opportunity now to implement these constructive reforms that will lead to faster growth and greater prosperity.”

The US envoy for Venezuela will meet with Russian officials on Venezuelan crisis, said the US State Department on Saturday.

Elliott Abrams, the US Special Representative for Venezuela, will meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and other Russian officials in Rome, the capital city of Italy, on March 18-19, said the State Department in a statement.

The two sides will discuss “the deteriorating situation in Venezuela,” according to the statement.

Following its recognition of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the nation’s “interim president” in late January, the Trump administration has kept piling up pressure on incumbent Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro through sanctions and other measures.

In response to Washington’s support for Guaido, Maduro announced that he was severing “diplomatic and political” ties with the United States.

Moscow has condemned Washington’s threats against the legitimate Venezuelan leadership, calling them “blatant interference” in Venezuela’s internal affairs and a “flagrant violation” of international law.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier this month that Russia is ready for consultations on the Venezuela crisis with the United States in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter.

During a meeting with the US delegation in Beijing following the sixth round of trade talks, Xi once again highlighted the role of cooperation in resolving the economic and trade differences and frictions, and urged negotiators of the two sides to “make persistent efforts” to reach a mutually beneficial deal.

“Cooperation is the best choice for both sides,” Xi said, adding that “of course, there are principles in cooperation.”

For his part, Trump on Friday met with Liu at the White House, noting that the US-China relationship is extremely important.

He added that “great progress” has been made in the past two days of talks, while there is still work to be done.

Also on Friday, the two sides decided to extend the talks by two days till Sunday.

Trump tweeted on Sunday that he “will be delaying” the increase of tariffs on Chinese imports scheduled for March 1, citing “very productive” trade talks between the two countries.

BEIJING, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) — China on Tuesday strongly urged the United States to stop the unreasonable suppression of Chinese companies, including Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., according to a Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

The U.S. Justice Department reportedly unsealed criminal charges against Huawei, and continues to seek extradition of Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou from Canada.

“China highly concerned about those criminal charges,” said spokesperson Geng Shuang.

The Chinese government always demands its enterprises conduct economic cooperation on a legal basis, and requires all countries to create a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for the legitimate operations of Chinese enterprises, said Geng.

“For some time, the United States has used its state power to discredit and suppress a specific Chinese enterprise and attempted to interfere in the legitimate operations of enterprise. Those act contained strong political intentions and manipulations,” he said.

“China will resolutely defend the legitimate rights and interests of its enterprises,” he added.

For Meng’s case, Geng said that China has repeatedly stated its “solemn stance on the matter.”

The United States and Canada arbitrarily misused the bilateral extradition treaty between them to unjustifiably take compulsory measures against a Chinese citizen, which has severely violated the Chinese citizen’s safety and legitimate rights and interests, Geng said.

“We once again urge the U.S. side to immediately withdraw its arrest warrant for Ms. Meng Wanzhou and stop seeking extradition for her so as to avoid steering on to the wrong course,” said the spokesperson.

China also urged the Canadian side to treat China’s stance seriously, immediately release Meng and protect her legitimate rights, and not be a cat’s paw for the United States, he said.

House of Commons, only three days before the prorogation, and in one of his most successful speeches. He was much assisted by the fact that the exports of all our staple manufactures had then greatly diminished, and of course he urged this point triumphantly. ‘If we had been indemnified for the dead loss of ?£650,000 on cotton wool by any great impulse given to our manufacturers, it would be a consolation which unfortunately we could not enjoy.’ He traced all the consumption to railway enterprise, and showed that it alone had compensated for the fruitless loss of revenue which we had incurred in vainly stimulating the exports of our manufactures, which had actually diminished. He was so impressed with the importance that, ‘on the eve of a dissolution, such a statement as that of Sir Robert Peel should not go forth to the country uncontroverted, as in that case the necessary result would be that the people would come to the opinion that they might abolish taxes altogether and yet maintain the revenue,’ that he sat up all night writing an address to his constituents, the electors of King’s Lynn, which took up nearly two columns of the newspapers, in which he presented his refutation to the public of the commercial manifesto of Tamworth, illustrated by the necessary tables and documents.
There is a sentence in this speech which, as a distinct expression of policy, should perhaps be quoted:
‘Sir, I am one of those who seek for the repeal of the malt tax and the hop duties. I am one of those who think that the excise duties ought to be taken off. But, sir, I do not pretend that you can repeal the malt tax or the hop duties, or remove the soap tax without commutation for other taxes. I will not delude the people by pretending that I could take off more than seven millions and a half of taxes without replacing them by others, and not leave the nation bankrupt. But I think these reforms of Sir Robert Peel have been in a mistaken direction; I think that revenue duties on all foreign imports ought to be maintained, and that a revenue equal to those excise duties which I have mentioned can be levied upon the produce of foreign countries and foreign industry, without imposing any greater tax than one which shall fall far short of Mr. Walker’s “perfect revenue standard of 20 per cent.” I say that by imposing a tax far less than 20 per cent. upon all articles of foreign import, a revenue might be derived far less burdensome to this country than that of excise, a revenue of which the burden would be largely shared in by foreign countries, and in many cases paid altogether by foreign countries.’

As I just said, there are mainly three problems. First, the production cost keeps surging. There are long-existing causes behind this. China has a large rural population, but the agricultural business every rural family conducts is on a small scale. It’s difficult for them to reduce costs. There are also new factors, such as rises in investment and workers’ wages, and the transfer of rural land use rights, which concerns a lot of people. Although the transfer of rural land use rights can enlarge the scale of farm operation, it will increase the cost of land use.

Over the past few years, the output of farm production has increased, but farmers’ gain from the harvests – especially harvests of grain, cotton and oil – has not increased much. To earn more money, farmers have had to raise the price of agricultural products. Since 2010, in particular, there were notable rises in major agricultural products. Take grains for example. The government buys wheat and rice at the minimum price. Compared with 2010, the minimum purchase price of wheat has increased by 60 percent. It took around six or seven years for the price of rice to increase by 100 percent.

The rise in price has caused another problem. In the international market, our agricultural products, including grain, wheat, corn, cotton and sugar, are more expensive than the foreign ones. So you can discover that although the supply of agricultural products has been increased, the domestic demand has been growing at a faster speed. Meanwhile, you can discover that the imports of agricultural products, including grain, cotton, oil and sugar, are rising, because for one thing, we indeed has a huge demand, and for another thing, our price is higher than foreign products, which makes our agricultural industry less competitive than the foreign ones.

In the past, we mainly pursued high output. We have been developing at the expense of natural resources and have left a bad impact on environment. Now, the issue has gained more and more public attention. For example, an increasing number of people are talking about heavy metal pollution and agricultural non-point source pollution now. The pursuit of high output has also imposed greater constraints on our agricultural development.

Against this backdrop, we must change the previous development model in order to maintain good momentum. Instead of mainly pursuing high output and relying on resources consumption, we should put equal emphasis on quantity, quality and benefits and rely on advanced technologies and more skilled labor. That’s the general trend of development.

Victoria Beckham looked back to the 1970s at London Fashion Week on Sunday, while Vivienne Westwood turned her catwalk into a stage to protest issues ranging from climate change to Brexit.

In front of an audience including Beckham’s husband David and their children, models wore dresses and skirts slim fitted over the knee, some with abstract chain patterns.

In a collection rich in vibrant colors and patterns, Beckham stuck to her signature silhouette of fitted skirt suits, which were checkered, and wide-leg trousers.

The former Spice Girl turned fashion designer used to present her line in New York during the catwalk season, but moved to London in September to celebrate the 10th anniversary of her eponymous brand.Models present creations at the Victoria Beckham show during London Fashion Week Women’s A/W19 in London, Britain February 17, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

“For Autumn/Winter 2019 I have been thinking about what women want, about modern femininity and about how to curate those ideas into a collection for today,” Beckham said in a statement.

“There are touches of retro, pinches of the ‘70s. Yet it’s all brought together into something encapsulating what we call the modern feminine alphabet.”

The designer used colors such as lipstick red, teal, pink, absinthe and lilac and her footwear consisted of high-heeled stretch open toe boots, in vibrant blue, red or leopard print. Heels came in hot pink or yellow.

In honor of the 60th anniversary of the democratic reform in Tibet, Tibet Buddhism College in Lhasa, Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region has organized more than 900 students including Buddhist monks and nuns to visit the Tibetan serf liberation museum for patriotic education.

The event was to educate the monks and nuns to remember the contribution of the Communist Party of China for Tibet and to confirm their confidence of following the Party, as the museum showed the dramatic changes in the region before and after democratic reform in 1959, Zhang Liangtian, Party secretary of the college, told the Global Times on Monday.

Many students were born after the Tibet’s democratic reform and the visit could inform them about Tibet before the reform and enhance their patriotism, according to Zhang.

The museum opened on March 28, the Tibet Serf Emancipation Day, with 165 precious historical documents, 299 historical objects, 331 pictures and 4 large scenes, to show the dark history before the reform and the achievements that Tibet has made since 1959.

According to the report of Tibet Satellite Television on Monday, Buddhism students were filmed taking photos of the historical relics and documentaries in the museum.

“When I saw the display of three clay-sculptured people live in a dark and narrow room, I felt the contrast with old Tibet. Our life now is happy. I can feel the warmth of the Party and our country,” said Choskyi Nyima, a student of the Buddhism college, said in the report.

Another student named Cuocheng Zama said thanks to the Party carrying out the democratic reform, nuns can enjoy the chance of learning Buddhist knowledge, noting that before reform men and women in Tibet were unequal in many aspects.

The government has supported monks and nuns with preferential policies in many fields including endowment and medical insurance, and minimum living subsidy, student Tenzin Wangmo was quoted by the media as saying.

“I’ll study harder the ‘four standards’ (which asks them to love the Party and China) to be a good nun,” said her.

Every student wrote an article after visiting the museum, with most expressing their loyalty to the nation and the Party, and firm opposition to splitting the country, said Zhang.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the opening of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) on Friday. He introduced measures China will take to further expand its opening-up. Apart from widening access to capital markets and strengthening protection of intellectual property rights, China will not seek a trade surplus, will import more agricultural products and services and will not pursue currency devaluation that harms others.

President Xi put forward the high-standard and high-quality development of the Belt and Road, emphasizing the importance of sticking to a green and clean approach. This shows the construction of the Belt and Road will be upgraded.

The BRF is the largest event in the world that focuses on development. It responds to the development needs of countries and confronts various issues in international economic cooperation. Both the forum and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are becoming more attractive.

All major powers in history, guided by geopolitics, realized national expansion through expanding spheres of influence. Based on their own experiences, the US and some other Western countries believe the BRI carries China’s geopolitical ambitions as the Marshall Plan did. They believe obstructing the BRI could be an effective way to contain China’s rise.

China is rising in a way different from that of other powers. China’s approach is to continuously expand its opening-up to the world and share its quality resources, such as the market, with the world, so as to build win-win cooperation.

Italy and Switzerland recently participated in the BRI. A NATO member state and a country surrounded by US allies, can they become China’s “sphere of influence?”

There are shortcomings in the construction of the Belt and Road, and adjustments and improvements are needed. This is a normal process that such a grand and large-scale international cooperation project has to undergo.

The BRI will establish an effective platform to meet the development needs of the world. It’s not a place for empty talk, showcasing values or playing political games. Putting one construction project after another into practice, bringing benefits to all parties involved and promoting the economic development of participating countries are the value orientation of the BRI.

One of the reasons why the US doesn’t support the BRI is it spends too much on defense, and its ability to build bridges and roads and develop industries has been weakened.

The BRI has no purpose to confront others. Its openness is unprecedented in the history of international multilateral cooperation. Even if there is some confusion and criticism with it, China doesn’t respond with confrontation.