China’s gold firms advised to “dig gold” along “Belt and Road”

TIANJIN, Oct. 28 (Greenpost) — Despite challenges including slowing economy, sluggish prices, environment and resources worries and fiercer competition, China’s gold enterprises should seize the opportunities brought about by the “Belt and Road” initiative to tap international markets for higher-level development, experts suggest at the recent 2015 China Mining conference.

The “Belt and Road” initiative is a golden opportunity for domestic gold industry, they say.

It is reported that countries along the “Belt and Road” initiative boast gold reserves totaling about 21,000 metric tons (tonnes), accounting for 41.5 percent of the world’s total. In 2014, gold output in those countries amounted to about 1,116 tonnes, accounting for 35.6 percent of the world’s total. Gold jewelry consumption in those countries stood at 2,025 tonnes, representing 82.4 percent of the global consumption and demand for physical gold investment amounted to 778 tonnes, accounting for 77 percent of the world’ total.

As one of the largest gold consumers of the world, gold enterprises in China, with relatively strong advantages in exploration and mining technologies, can contribute to those producers in countries along the “Belt and Road”.

The implementation of the initiative has brought about a new historic opportunity to China’s gold industry, said Song Xin, president of the China Gold Association (CGA) and General Manager of China National Gold Group Corporation. Measures rolled out by the Chinese authorities to transform economic growth pattern and adjust the economic structure have offered broad space for the industry’s growth. Implementation of “Internet Plus”, “Made in China 2025”, Equipment “Going Global”, and International Capacity Cooperation are all releasing reform bonus, with “Internet Plus” and Intelligent Manufacturing in particular to help the industry to make technological breakthroughs and innovate marketing models that can hugely promote the development of the industry, said analysts.

The Chinese authorities are also making efforts streamlining governance, delegating power downward, etc., which have increased approval efficiency and simplified procedures for gold mining projects. On gold import and export, the authorities also loosened restrictions on gold trading qualification by introducing a much more friendly version of gold import and export management methods. Enditem

Source   Xinhua

Editor   Xuefei Chen Axelsson

News Analysis: China five-year plan to chart reform, growth path

BEIJING, Oct. 28 (Greenpost) — China is mulling the 13th five-year plan, which will chart its reform and growth path, when the country is entering a “new normal” of slower growth and boosting re-balancing towards consumption and services.

The new five-year period from 2016 to 2020 will be key for reforms, which can facilitate economic growth, including reforms on tax and fiscal policy, state-owned enterprises and finance, according to China International Capital Corporation (CICC), one of China’s leading investment banks.

Leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC) met in Beijing on Monday for a four-day meeting to discuss changes, while the fifth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee will review proposals for the five-year plan. After taking into account the proposals, a final plan will be ratified by the annual session of China’s top legislature in March 2016.

The biggest challenge for the 13th five-year plan may be capping the runaway financial sector without hammering growth, according to Bloomberg research.

More financial market reforms are expected to be included in the new plan to encourage risk-taking and stoke growth for small and medium businesses.

Non-traditional financial services may be allowed a greater role in the economy to cut reliance on the state-owned mega-banks and their traditional deposit taking and lending function, it forecast.

Newly-packaged financial intermediation services such as peer-to-peer lending, crowd funding, Internet-based financing, asset securitization, derivatives and corporate bonds are likely to be a regulatory focus and encouraged, it said.

The more meaningful function of the meetings is prioritization of various policy targets, especially considering China’s economic growth has continued to decelerate, settling at 6.9 percent during the third quarter of this year, said Zhu Haibin, chief economist for J.P. Morgan China.

Like in previous five-year plans, a GDP growth target is likely to be included. The market estimates the growth target for 2016-2020 will be put between 6.5 and 7 percent.

The market interprets the growth target as an important indicator of how leaders will prioritize growth and structural re-balancing, Zhu said.

If the growth target is lowered to 6.5 percent, it implies the government will tolerate slower growth to leave more room for structural re-balancing. Accordingly, there will be less stimulus efforts by the government. If the target is left unchanged at 7 percent, it implies the government will have to maintain its loose policy stance and do more easing, and perhaps at the cost of structural re-balancing, Zhu said.

Not surprisingly, no one seems to consider a growth target below 6.5 percent, as China’s target to double GDP between 2010 and 2020 will require the average GDP growth in 2016-2020 to be 6.5 percent, he added.

The previous five-year plan in 2011-2015 set an average annual growth target of around 7 percent. Between 2011 and 2014, the economy expanded by an annual rate of 8 percent. Enditem

Source Xinhua

Editor  Xuefei Chen Axelsson

China Focus: Full steam ahead for China’s cruise market

TIANJIN, Oct. 28 (Greenpost) — On Friday, Royal Caribbean’s multimillion-dollar cruise liner, Quantum of the Seas, arrived at northern China’s Tianjin port, where it will embark on the first of four round-trip voyages scheduled to last until mid-November.

Not even the approaching cold weather could hinder the international cruise line’s efforts to enter China’s booming leisure market.

China’s cruise market is developing quickly despite an economic slowdown, with the number of passengers growing from several thousand in 2005 to 1.72 million in 2014, figures from the China Communications and Transportation Association showed.

By 2020, the cruise industry is expected to contribute 51 billion yuan (8.30 billion U.S. dollars) to the country’s economy, the association said.

“China’s cruise market has expanded from one ship with 900 cabins in 2006 to eight liners with 18,000 cabins in 2014,” said Zheng Weihang, vice president of the China Cruise & Yacht Industry Association. “And it will continue to grow.”

Royal Caribbean’s business in China has achieved twofold growth nearly every year since entering the market in 2009, said Liu Zinan, president of north Asia and China at Royal Caribbean International, adding that the company is tailoring its onboard restaurants and activities to Chinese customers’ tastes.

The company will send a larger ship, Ovation of the Seas, next year to Tianjin after it is put into service, according to Liu.

Costa Cruise Lines has also seen sharp business increases in the past three years since entering China 10 years ago, according to Huang Ruiling, General Manager of China Costa Group Asia Pacific & China.

The company is continuing to increase its cruise capacity by 50 percent annually, she said.

Yue Tong, a 30-year-old white-collar worker from Tianjin, said he enjoyed spending an afternoon on the cruise reading poetry with free pizza and coffee available.

“There are many things to do, activities to participate in, and performances to watch on the cruise, and you can choose either to have some quiet time or join the crowd,” he said. “Life is really colorful on the ship and you’ll never be bored. However, the on-shore activities are less wonderful.”

The growing popularity of cruises has attracted domestic investors.

In October 2014, the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) announced its plan to form a joint venture with American cruise company Carnival Corp. to build China’s first luxury cruise ship.

The plan aims to develop the country’s cruise industry and foster new growth areas for the Chinese economy, said Hu Wenming, chairman of CSSC.

Hu said China currently needs about 50 luxury cruise ships, and the number is expected to rise in coming years.

The booming industry is also helping to transform China’s ports.

So far, China has seven international cruise home ports, with two in Shanghai and one each in Tianjin, Sanya, Xiamen, Zhoushan and Qingdao. Another three international cruise ports are being built in Shenzhen, Haikou and Dalian.

Zhang Zhendong, general manager of the Tianjin international cruise home port, said that so far this year, the port has received 340,000 passengers on 74 cruises, and the port is expected to receive 650,000 visitors on 150 cruises in 2016.

The transformation from a single port to a comprehensive terminal will be crucial for the future development of China’s cruise industry, he said. Enditem

Source  Xinhua

Editor  Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Interview: China-Germany ties facing new development opportunities: ambassador

BERLIN, Oct. 28 (Greenpost) — “The Chinese-German relations are facing new development opportunities, and are expected to continue a stable development at a high level and to play a leading role in China-Europe ties,” said Chinese Ambassador to Germany Shi Mingde.

Shi made the remarks in a recent interview with Xinhua, ahead of an official visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to China from Oct. 29 to 30.

Since 2005, Merkel as chancellor has paid seven visits to China, the most among all German chancellors. She has also kept a record among leaders of European countries regarding the visit frequency. Her predecessors, including Helmut Kohl and Gerhard Schroeder, also have visited China many times as chancellor.

“Developing relations with China is the consensus of major political forces in Germany. The bilateral ties between China and Germany have a solid political foundation. Chinese leaders also attach great importance to developing relations with Germany,” said Shi, noting that mutual trust and frequent exchange of visits between leaders of the two countries are of significance for promoting bilateral ties.

China and Germany have witnessed all-around and rapid development of their relations in recent years, the pragmatic cooperation between the two countries has achieved fruitful results, Shi said.

According to the ambassador, the trade volume between China and Germany has reached 177.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2014, accounting for around 30 percent of China-EU trade volume. China is Germany’s largest trading partner outside the European Union. For China, Germany is its largest trading partner as well as the most important source country of technology transfer and investment in Europe.

Sino-German cooperation, said Shi, is not only in the interest of both countries, but also conducive to safeguarding world peace and promoting common development.

“Both China and Germany have significant international influence. The two countries have maintained close cooperation in international affairs and are both actively committed to addressing focus issues through political and diplomatic means,” he added.

China will hold the rotating presidency of the Group of Twenty (G20) in 2016. Shi said that China and Germany as G20 members would further strengthen coordination in macroeconomic policy within the G20 framework, and work together to construct and maintain an open world economy as well as promote the establishment of a more equitable global economic governance system.

At present, the Chinese-German relations are facing new development opportunities, raising hope that it will continue to develop stably at a high level and play a leading role in China-Europe ties, the ambassador stressed.

“Last year, China and Germany agreed on a leading role of innovation in the future bilateral cooperation. This is the first time that China has established a broad innovative partnership with a Western power,” he explained.

Secondly, bilateral cooperation has broad prospects and can achieve mutual benefit in the field of high-end manufacturing; In addition, the two countries can enhance their cooperation to jointly promote the “Belt and Road” initiative.

Speaking of the main challenges facing the ties between China and Germany in the coming years, Shi noted that the two countries should fundamentally promote mutual understanding between the two peoples.

He urged both sides to look at each other in an objective manner. “Especially the German society should further its understanding of China’s national conditions and development,” he added.

Besides, China and Germany should handle their differences properly and continue to tap new growth points of bilateral ties.

“As the Chinese saying goes, rowing upstream: not to advance is to drop back. China and Germany should have a long-term perspective, and continue to tap potential and step up cooperation in order to lift bilateral relations to higher levels,” the ambassador concluded. Enditem

Source  Xinhua

Editor  Xuefei Chen Axelsson


Chinese company to construct over 2,000 houses for Zambian police

LUSAKA, Oct. 27 (Greenpost) — Zambian President Edgar Lungu revealed on Tuesday that China’s Avic International has been awarded a contract to construct about 2,350 houses for police officers.

In remarks delivered during a ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the initial 48 houses for police officers in Lusaka, the country’s capital, the Zambian leader expressed optimism that the Chinese company will compete the project by the end of March next year.

The houses to be constructed at a cost of 320 million U.S. dollars will help address the current housing deficit for officers in the security wings, he added.

According to the Zambian leader, a review of the housing situation in the Ministry of Home Affairs indicate that it has a housing deficit of 12,000.

The security wings under the Ministry of Home Affairs include the Zambia Police, Immigration Department, Zambia Prison Service and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC).

The Zambian leader said lack of decent housing is a challenge for the entire country and that his government is determined to come up with initiatives to provide decent housing for the whole country.

Davies Mwila, the Minister of Home Affairs, said under the project 1,454 houses will be built for police officers, 677 for Zambia Prison Service, 117 for the Immigration Department and 102 for the Drug Enforcement Commission.

Gong Jiayan, AVIC International senior vice president said his company will ensure that it constructs houses of good quality and assured that the project will be completed within the stipulated period.

He said his company will work with local suppliers during the construction period for the project which he said will provide jobs for local people. Enditem

Source  Xinhua

Editor  Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Volkswagen recalls 5,906 cars in China

BEIJING, Oct. 27 (Greenpost) — German carmaker Volkswagen began to recall 5,906 vehicles in China over defective batteries, the nation’s quality watchdog said Tuesday.

Starting from Tuesday, Volkswagen will recall 5,906 imported 2012-2014 Flying Spur models and Continental models, manufactured between Feb. 5, 2011 and May 15, 2014, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

The battery nuts of those affected vehicles may become loose while driving and cause safety risks, said the AQSIQ.

The company will replace the faulty parts free of charge. Enditem

Source   Xinhua

Editor   Xuefei Chen Axelsson

China lodges protest with U.S. on warship patrol in South China Sea

BEIJING, Oct. 27 (Greenpost) — The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday expressed “strong  discontent” and “resolute opposition” over a U.S. warship patrol near Zhubi Reef, which is part of China’s Nansha Islands in the South China Sea.

This action by the United States threatens China’s sovereignty and security interests, endangers the safety of personnel and facilities in the reef, and harms regional peace and stability, ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in a statement.

Lu urged the U.S. to “immediately correct its wrongdoing.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the U.S. warship USS Lassen entered waters near Zhubi Reef without the permission of the Chinese government, according to Lu.

The U.S. warship was monitored, tracked and issued with warning, said the spokesperson, adding that China will continue to watch the situation and “do whatever is necessary.”

Stressing that China’s sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters is “irrefutable,” Lu said China is prepared to respond to any deliberate provocation by any country.

China respects other countries’ freedom of navigation in accordance with international law, Lu said, however, China is firmly opposed to any action that harms China’s sovereignty and security in the name of freedom.

The construction activities undertaken by China on its own territory is an internal affair and will not block the legal freedom of other countries, the spokesperson said.

The U.S. side should remember its commitment that it would take no position on territorial disputes, as this would damage China-U.S. ties and regional peace, said Lu.

Earlier Tuesday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in response to a question on the U.S. Navy’s intention at a seminar, warned the U.S. not to “make trouble out of nothing.”

“If it is true, we advise the U.S. to think twice before it takes any action,” he said, urging them “not to act in an imprudent way and not to make trouble out of nothing.” Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Editor: Xuefei Chen Axelsson


Big power diplomacy: China, Britain enhance trust and trade

BEIJING, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) — During what was dubbed as a “super state visit” to Britain, President Xi Jinping witnessed the signing of deals worth 40 billion pounds (61.5 billion U.S. dollars).

The most talked-about project will see China holding a one-third stake in Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation.

Observers are praising the China-Britain partnership as exemplary in China-Europe cooperation and beyond.


China’s approach to dealing with major powers was clarified by Xi during his visit to the headquarters of the United Nations; a relationship featuring non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.

His state visit to Britain was regarded as many as a test for China’s diplomacy with big powers, and it has proven to be fruitful.

Britain rolled out the red carpet for Xi, the first Chinese head of state to visit the country in a decade. Queen Elizabeth II hosted an informal lunch and formal banquet. While Prime Minister David Cameron took Xi to see that age-old British institution — the pub.

“The Financial Times” said Xi’s visit was the “most important diplomatic visit to Britain in several years,” and would recalibrate the UK’s great-power relations.”

During the visit, China and Britain issued a joint declaration on their “global comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st century,” which will usher in a lasting, open, win-win “golden era.”

“The new definition of bilateral ties reflects both countries expect to achieve win-win cooperation with each other, but not only at the bilateral level,” said Feng Zhongping, vice president of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

As globally-influential countries, the China-Britain partnership can set an example for China-Europe cooperation and at the global level, Chen Xin with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said.

“Though there are disagreements between China and Britain, both countries can learn to manage them. As long as Britain adheres to the consensus reached with China, the differences won’t affect bilateral cooperation,” said Cui Hongjian, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies.


Chinese and French companies signed an agreement to build an 18 billion pound nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C, with the CGN-led Chinese consortium holding a one-third stake.

China’s third-generation nuclear reactor design, known as Hualong One, is expected to be used, following British inspections.

Cameron described the Hinkley Point C deal as “historic” as the project would provide clean electricity to nearly 6 million homes and create over 25,000 jobs.

“Britain […] lacks the funds for the nuclear power plant due to the international financial crisis and the European debt crisis,” said Wang Yiwei, a professor of international relations at Renmin University.

For China, the gains from the project go beyond economics. More important is the knock-on affect the project will have for China in the overseas nuclear market.

“Investment into overseas nuclear power plant is usually more substantial than at home. We will get returns from electricity sales and equipment procurement, because a large amount of this will be done in China,” said Zhou Dadi, a researcher with the energy studies center of the National Development and Reform Commission.

“The nuclear power plants in Britain will be benchmark projects for Chinese companies to develop the global market and increase people’s confidence in Hualong One in emerging markets,” CGN chair He Yu said.

Other deals included an agreement for BP to sell Huadian up to 1 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year; and Carnival UK and CSSC agreed to build seven new cruise ships over the next 10 years, among others.

During Xi’s visit, China’s central bank issued its first offshore renminbi note worth 5 billion yuan in London, and the two countries agreed to increase currency swaps.

These close economic and trade collaborations show that Britain is confident of China’s economic growth, and its leaders are aware of the opportunities emerging from China as it transitions from an economy driven by export and manufacturing to investment and services.

“By working with China to usher in a ‘golden era’, Britain has made it clear that they are willing to seize all the opportunities from China’s reform and growth,” Wang added.


The president often attends cultural activities during his foreign visits, his time in Britain was no different.

Cameron accompanied Xi to a pub and the two enjoyed a plate of fish and chips washed down with a pint of British ale. Xi also watched a performance featuring British and Chinese artists at an creative-industry exhibition.

Xi also addressed the opening ceremony of the annual Confucius Institute meeting, saying the essence of Chinese and British culture had sparked a fantastic “chemical reaction” into the thinking and lifestyles of both nationalities through people-to-people exchanges.

“Britain is the birth place of modern culture and sports. President Xi’s activities reflect this admiration,” said Cui Hongjian, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies.

Xi, a well known soccer fan, visited Manchester City Football Academy with Cameron. Xi called for more exchanges and cooperation between China and Britain on soccer as well as other sports.

For Britain, tourism has been pegged as an area that will generate more revenue. Britain announced that from 2016 the validity of new visitor visas for Chinese tourists will be extended from six months to two years.

For its part, during Xi’s time in Manchester, China announced that a direct flight linking Beijing and Manchester will be opened June 2016.

By strengthening people-to-people exchanges, China-Britain relations will have a more solid social foundation, analysts say. Enditem

Editor  Xuefei Chen Axelsson

China mulls routine navigation through Arctic to Europe

DALIAN, Oct. 26 (Greenpost) — Shipping experts are considering routine navigation through Arctic waters to link China and Europe, a shortcut to bypass the route that passes through the Malacca Strait and Suez Canal.

In October 2015, Chinese vessel Yong Sheng finished a record-setting round trip from Europe to north China by sailing through the Arctic waters of the Northeast Passage and docking at Tianjin Port.

The cargo ship operated by China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO), the country’s top shipping line, is the first Chinese merchant ship to sail from Europe to China via the Northeast Passage, an icy path north of Russia and Scandinavia.

Yong Sheng sailed nearly 20,000 nautical miles (37,040 kilometers) during the 55-day voyage, according to COSCO.

Many experts expect the Arctic passage to become the next “golden waterway” for trade between China and Europe, according to a seminar held last week in the northeast China port city of Dalian.

The seminar focused on the possibility of normalizing the Yong Sheng’s Arctic shipping route.

“The company is considering increasing the number of ships sailing via the new path,” said Cai Meijiang, general manager of the safety and technical supervision department of COSCO.

The 19,000-tonne vessel first started its journey from Dalian to Rotterdam on August 8, 2013, sailing through the Northeast Passage and shortening the traditional shipping time by nine days.

Global warming has transformed the Arctic in recent years, and its summer ice cover has dropped over the last few decades, making it possible to sail along the Arctic sea routes with comparative ease. Enditem

Source   Xinhua

New drugs help treatment of diabetes 2

STOCKHOLM, Oct. 31(Greenpost)–A new combination of drugs can help individuals with complex type 2 diabetes lower their blood sugar levels, reducing their weight and use fewer insulin doses. This is shown in a study published in The British Medical Journal.

According to a press release reaching here from Gothenburg, individuals with type 2 diabetes who are treated with basal and mealtime insulin injections have few treatment options if their blood glucose is increased, other than increasing insulin doses. This often leads to a downward spiral with increased weight, which can have a negative effect on blood glucose.

In this study Swedish researchers have evaluated the effect of adding liraglutide, a drug that can be used along with oral antidiabetic drugs and basal insulin that has shown positive effects on blood glucose levels, to individuals with type 2 diabetes treated with basal and mealtime insulin.

The study was performed at 14 clinics in Sweden and included 124 participants with type 2 diabetes, overweight and increased blood glucose levels in spite of treatment with basal and mealtime insulin. Participants were randomly assigned to liraglutide or placebo (an inactive substance), and used their assigned drug/placebo for 24 weeks without making other changes to their treatment regimen.

Among all participants, 122 had enough data to be analysed. The main focus was the effect of liraglutide on HbA1c, weight and insulin doses. HbA1c is a test used to indicate blood glucose levels over the last three months. Results after 24 weeks showed that the liraglutide group reduced their HbA1c much more than placebo, with an average difference of 12.3 mmol/mol.

– In earlier studies, an Hba1c reduction of this magnitude has been shown to be associated with a considerablipal investigator Dr. Marcus Lind.

Results also showed that the liraglutide group had weight reductions averaging 3.8 kg, while there was no change in the placebo group. The liraglutide group also had insulin doses that were lowered by 18.1 units, as compared to only 2.3 units in the placebo group.

These results are positive news for people with type 2 diabetes, as it provides another treatment option for those using a complex regimen consisting of basal and mealtime insulin injections. Treatment alternatives conforming to international clinical diabetes guidelines for these types of complex patients are sparse today, according to Dr Lind.

-In contrast to many other studies of novel glucose lowering agents, this study was performed independent of the manufacturer. Study coordination was performed by the NU Hospital Group in Uddevalla, according to study coordinator Sofia Dahlqvist.

The article Liraglutide in people treated for type 2 diabetes with multiple daily insulin injections: randomised clinical trial (MDI Liraglutide trial) was published in BMJ 28 October.


 2015年10月30日 20:04:49 来源: 新华网








Two children policy is the right choice for China

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Stockholm, Oct. 29(Greenpost)– The fifth plenary session of the 18th CPC Congress has approved the 13th five year plan.

In a report issued by the Congress, China has decided to allow all couples to have two children.

In 2013, China began to allow only children couple to have two children. But not many people follow the call.

Why? Zhang Hao’s wife said she had to go to work after giving birth for four months. Chen Qiang’s wife said it was difficult to raise the child. It cost a lot to raise a child. So they are not encouraged to have a child.

Therefore, there was no effect even if one allows couple to have a second child. Thus, it announced that one more child can be born by any couple.

It is right to allow families to have two children. It is not just a policy to deal with elderly society phenomina, but to make children feel healthy.







Finland’s traffic accidents reduced after lowing speed limit

Stockholm, Oct. 29(Greenpost)–A new study from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland shows that Finland’s policy of enforcing lower speed limits during the dark winter months reduces the number of traffic accidents.

Statistics indicate that some 36 accidents leading to personal injuries are avoided each year, as are eight deaths, according to a report by Alaska Dispatch News.

Most countries do not change their speed limits for the colder months. In Finland, however, the combination of snow, ice and very dark conditions forces a lower speed limit during the winter. As of Friday, motorway speed limits will drop to 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour, while other major roads will see an 80 kilometer-per-hour (49 mile-per-hour) limit enforced. Both are 20 kilometer-per-hour (12 mile-per-hour) decreases from the  summer limits.

In some 80 kilometer-per-hour areas with large amounts of heavy traffic and roadside dwellings, the speed limit will be lowered to 70 kilometers (43 miles) per hour.

Those motorway sections with a variable speed limit that allows them to adjust the limit to suit weather and road conditions have a maximum 100 kilometer-per-hour (62 mile-per-hour) speed limit from the start of November to the end of February. The speed limit reverts back to 120 kilometers (74 miles) an hour on these roads in early March, if the weather and road conditions cooperate.

According to Finnish law, vehicle owners must also fit winter tires to their vehicles by Dec. 1 and keep them in use until the end of February.

Lower speeds save lives

The new study from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland shows that Finland’s policy of enforcing lower speed limits during the dark winter months reduces the number of traffic accidents.

“A reduction in speed allows more time to react in unexpected situations and shortens the stopping distance when an elk appears on the road, for instance,” says Tuomas Österman, a traffic control expert at the Finnish Transport Agency.

Even so, in some situations, the reduced winter speed limits may not be enough. Österman advises motorists to adjust their driving speed according to weather conditions.

“During a snow storm, for example, visibility and driving conditions may deteriorate to the point that it becomes necessary to lower your driving speed to far below the appointed limit,” he says.

Lower winter speed rates also reduce the amount of fine particles released in the air from traffic and slow the wear on road surfaces, particularly when studded tires are in use. Depending on the weather, officials usually change the winter speed limits back to the higher summer limits sometime in late March-early April.



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