Recent updates

Read the latest news from Germany, Europe and the world. Ernst Russ brings the news of the day & top breaking headlines on shipping, real estate and economy.

Piracy Incidents Down Off Nigeria

(maritime-executive) The number of hijackings and armed attacks on ships sailing off Nigeria has dropped according to new figures from the International Piracy Reporting Centre, IMB.

Baltic Index at 5-1/2 Year Peak as Capesize Demand Soars

(maritimeprofessional) The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index hit a five-and-a-half-year high on Monday on the back of strong demand for capesize vessels shipping iron ore.

China Unveils World’s 1st Smart Oil Tanker

(World Maritime News) China has launched the world’s first intelligent very large crude carrier (VLCC) at the country’s shipbuilding major, Dalian Shipbuilding Industry (DSIC).

Drewry: Shipping Industry’s Benefits from US-China Trade War

(worldmaritimenews) Escalating trade hostilities between the US and China spells bad news for the Transpacific container trade but should also result in higher volumes of intermediate goods, according to shipping consultancy Drewry.

Massive Explosions Rock Philadelphia Refinery

(gcaptain) Firefighters were working to bring under control a massive fire at Philadelphia Energy Solutions Inc’s refinery on Friday that has resulted in damage that could keep the affected unit shut for an extended period, according to Philadelphia city officials and company sources.

London cargo insurers take extraordinary measures in wake of Hormuz attacks

(splash247) After an extraordinary meeting of the London Joint Cargo Committee to discuss the present situation in the Gulf where six tankers have been attacked in the past six weeks, a number of London cargo insurers have taken the rare decision to issue seven-days’ Notices of Cancellation for the War element of their policies.

Report: Shipowners Ready for IMO 2020, But Bunker Market Lags

(gcaptain) The bunker market is far from ready for the substantial switch in demand to low-sulphur fuel, when the IMO’s 0.5% cap comes into force on 1 January next year, according to the Marine Bunker Exchange (MABUX).

Pompeo Pledges Action Against Iran

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo said of course a military response will be considered after two oil tankers were crippled in attacks in the Gulf of Oman last week.

Container Shipping: The many pitfalls in the coming months will decide the fate of the year

(hellenicshippingnews) As weak demand growth is forecasted for the coming quarters, the container shipping industry is set to return to negative margins.

Dry Bulk: A Struggling Market Gets All Hyped Up By Capesize Volatility

(hellenicshippingnews) Fleet growth expected to outstrip demand growth in 2019 and 2020, making the near future look unappealing.

IMO 2020 to Boost Diesel Prices for At Least a Year -Analysts

(gcaptain/Reuters) – Global prices for diesel and marine fuels should rise by October ahead of a January switchover to new, very low-sulfur marine fuels, and remain higher for at least a year as refiners shift production to make more of the new fuels, analysts said.

German exports in April 2019: -0.5% on April 2018

(maritime-executive) Germany exported goods to the value of 109.7 billion euros and imported goods to the value of 91.7 billion euros in April 2019. Based on provisional data, the Federal Statistical Office reports that German exports declined by 0.5%, while imports increased by 2.1% in April 2019 year on year.

Researchers: Recycle CO2 in Floating Methanol Power Plants

(maritime-executive) Huge floating solar, methanol islands on the ocean could produce enough energy to enable CO2-neutral global freight traffic, says a group of researchers.

Sailing into a climate-challenged future – is shipping able to cope?

(hellenicshippingnews) 2018 can be viewed as the year of pivotal climate action when the world started demanding change.

Sulphur cap claims stack up six months ahead of implementation

(splash247) At a conference held in town downtown Oslo today organised by class society DNV GL, delegates were warned of the likely huge volumes of claims that will emanate from next year’s global sulphur cap on bunker fuel.

Trump’s Mexican Tariffs Could Hit U.S. Refiners Hard

(gcaptain) U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats to tax Mexican imports could disrupt a long-standing cross-border energy trade, hitting U.S. refiners that use Mexican oil by boosting prices, and raising concerns about potential retaliation by the world’s biggest buyer of U.S. energy products.

ifo World Economic Climate Recovers Slightly

(ifo) The ifo World Economic Climate has recovered somewhat. In the second quarter, the indicator rose from -13.1 points to -2.4 points, having previously fallen four times in a row. Expectations for the coming months have brightened considerably. In contrast, the assessment of the current situation has deteriorated only slightly. This means the global economy should gradually strengthen again over the course of the year.

Global Freight Demand to Triple by 2050

(maritime-executive) Global demand for transport will continue to grow dramatically over the next three decades, with global freight demand expected to triple by 2050, according to projections by the International Transport Forum (ITF), an intergovernmental think tank.

U.S.-China Trade Sanctions Will Be Costly But Likely Ineffective

Embargoes are rarely effective in compelling a change in diplomatic behavior because they create substantial incentives to circumvent the blockade by switching trade, building indigenous capacity or changing technology.

China uniquely placed to ‘green’ shipping

(hellenicshippingnews) The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, said last month that his country’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to stimulate global trade and integration must be “green and sustainable”.

India and Japan to Make Colombo Mega-Ship Ready

The governments of Japan, India and Sri Lanka have struck a deal to jointly develop a terminal at the Port of Colombo in order to meet the growing importance of the Indian Ocean to world trade, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

China's Imports of Solid Waste Continue to Decline

China’s imports of solid waste have continued to decline this year with imports of plastic, paper and metal waste amounting to 4.74 million tons, down 33.1 percent from January to April in 2018.

Dry Bulk: Capesize Market Fails to Find Support

(hellenicshippingnews) The market continues to ebb and flow with a generally positive up trend.

German exports in March 2019: +1.9% on March 2018

(destatis) Germany exported goods to the value of 118.3 billion euros and imported goods to the value of 95.6 billion euros in March 2019. The Federal Statistical Office reports that German exports were up by 1.9% and imports by 4.5% in March 2019 year on year. After calendar and seasonal adjustment, exports increased by 1.5% and imports by 0.4% compared with February 2019.

Japan rules out scrubber ban

(dredgingandports) Several port authorities from around the world have sent no-objection letters and approvals regarding the use of open-loop scrubbers in their waters to the Clean Shipping Alliance 2020 (CSA 2020), indicating they have no intention of banning them.

China stepped up imports of Australian steelmaking coal in March

(hellenicshippingnews) China stepped up purchases of Australian steelmaking coal in March after customs delays earlier this year, Australian government data showed on Tuesday, but exports of thermal coal to the world’s biggest consumer continued to fall.

ifo World Economic Climate Recovers Slightly

(ifo) The ifo World Economic Climate has recovered somewhat. In the second quarter, the indicator rose from -13.1 points to -2.4 points, having previously fallen four times in a row. Expectations for the coming months have brightened considerably. In contrast, the assessment of the current situation has deteriorated only slightly. This means the global economy should gradually strengthen again over the course of the year. The experts expect the global economy to grow by 3.4 percent this year.

Drought forces further draft restrictions on the Panama Canal

(splash247) The unprecedented drought hitting Panama has forced authorities to make a sixth draft restriction change this year. Effective from May 28, ships transiting through the new neopanamax locks will have a maximum authorised draft of 13.11 m, shaving another 30 cm off from the last restriction issued at the end of last month.

Product Tanker Could Soon Be Used for Storage

(hellenicshippingnews) Product tankers could soon be used for floating storage units, as the market is starting to exhibit certain undeniable trends supporting the case for using ships for storage of fuel oils. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Gibson said that “much of the current market focus is on crude supply, with sanctions, outages and unplanned disruptions impacting on supply.

Drewry: World Container Index Up 2.7% on the Week

(hellenicshippingnews) The composite index increased 2.7% this week but, 2.6% down as compared with same period of 2018.

Changes to credit in bunker industry gain traction as IMO 2020 nears

(hellenicshippingnews) Momentum is building behind changes in the bunker credit industry, as impending changes in marine fuel sulfur content signal higher Costs.

BIMCO: Rising Capesize Deliveries Imperil Fragile Market Balance

(worldmaritimenews) Demolition of dry bulk ships in the first four months of 2019 surged by 120% compared to the same period of 2018, according to international shipping association BIMCO.

Three updated marine regulations you need to know about in 2019

(hellenicshippingnews) 2019 is a busy year in terms of adopted International Maritime Organization (IMO) Regulation.

Drewry: Boxship Scrapping to Rise Ahead of IMO 2020

(worldmaritimenews) More containerships are expected to be demolished ahead of IMO 2020 implementation date, but progress has been slow thus far, shipping consultancy Drewry said.

Beijing launches $30bn offshore asset management platform

(splash247) The central government of China has officially launched an offshore asset management platform to manage the $30bn worth of idle offshore asset owned by state-run companies.

Scrapping set to rise

(hellenicshippingnews) IMO 2020 is expected to increase the number of containership demolitions, but progress has been slow thus far.

China’s weekly export container shipping index edges up

(hellenicshippingnews) China’s container transport for export purposes increased for the week ending Friday, according to the Shanghai Shipping Exchange.

Alphaliner: Boxship Scrubber Retrofits to Surge Ahead of IMO 2020

(worldmaritimenews) The number of containerships taken out for scrubber retrofits is set to increase in the coming months as the date for the implementation of the IMO 2020 rule approaches, Alphaliner said.

A Trade Agreement Between China and US Could Boost Dry Bulk Market

(hellenicshippingnews) Things could start to improve in the dry bulk market in the months to come, should a trade agreement between the US and China materialize over the next few weeks.

New orders in main construction industry in February 2019: -2.0% on the previous month

(destatis) The Federal Statistical Office reports that price-adjusted new orders in the main construction industry in February 2019 decreased a seasonally and working-day adjusted 2.0% on January 2018. In building construction and civil and underground engineering, in establishments of enterprises with 20 or more persons, new orders increased by 8.2% in nominal terms compared with the corresponding month of the previous year.

Germany: ifo Export Expectations continue to Decline

(ifo) The business confidence of German exporters is becoming gloomier. The ifo Export Expectations in manufacturing fell to 1.1 balance points in April, down from 1.5 balance points in March.

ifo Business Climate Index Falls

(ifo) The mood among German managers became slightly gloomier this month. The ifo Business Climate Index fell from 99.7 points (seasonally adjusted) in March to 99.2 points in April. Companies are less satisfied with their current business situation. March’s gentle optimism regarding the coming months has evaporated. The German economy continues to lose steam.

Capesizes and Containers Heading for Recycling

(hellenicshippingnews) More and more Capesize dry bulkers, but also container ships are being sold for scrap, with ship owners looking to help alleviate each market’s fundamentals.

SEA Europe welcomes the agreement on Horizon Europe

(seaeurope) SEA Europe welcomes the partial agreement reached between the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on Horizon Europe on 18 April. Horizon Europe is the next 7-years European Research and Innovation Funding Programme and is part of the EU's proposal for a new EU budget for the period 2021 till 2027 (known as the Multi-Annual Financial Framework).

ECSA: EU Parliament Adopts Maritime Single Window

(worldmaritimenews) The EU Social Partners in the maritime sector, ECSA and ETF, welcomed the adoption of the proposal for a Regulation establishing a European Maritime Single Window Environment.

Global ship orders fall to lowest level in 15 years

(hellenicshippingnews) Ship orders world-wide have shrunk to the lowest level in 15 years as vessel owners struggle with excess capacity that has kept freight rates well below break-even levels.

EU Gives Green Light to Trump Trade Talks

(porttechnology) The US and EU could sign a new trade deal after the European Council, the body comprising of European member states, voted to resume talks over the Trans-Atlantic Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Potential US-China trade deal would boost US met coal exports, uplift global economic activity

(hellenicshippingnews) While a US-China trade deal might lead to a prompt response in met coal exports from the US to China, the larger outcome would be an improved global economy and boost to the steel market, a Seaport Global report said.

Dry Bulk Market: New Peaks a Thing of the Past as Harsh Reality Sets In

(hellenicshippingnews) With the first quarter of 2019 already past us, it’s now becoming increasingly obvious that the dry bulk market will find it hard to experience a third consecutive year of recovery, not to mention new peaks.

German seaports handle 1.7 percent more cargo in 2018

(hellenicshippingnews) A total of 304.7 million tons of seaborne goods was handled in German sea ports in 2018, marking an increase of 1.7 percent compared to the previous year, the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) announced.

Fewer Armed Robbery Incidents Reported at Indonesian Anchorages

(maritime-executive) ReCAAP ISC has released it's quarterly piracy report for Asia showing that there were 10 incidents of armed robbery against ships (including one attempted incident), a 52 percent decrease from the same period last year.

Rio Tinto Cuts Iron Ore Guidance After Cyclone Hits Shipments

(gcaptain) Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto Ltd on Tuesday reported a 14 percent drop in quarterly iron ore shipments and cut its 2019 shipments estimate on disruption caused by a tropical cyclone that hit its export terminal in Western Australia last month.

Maritime transport up 1.7% in 2018

(destatis) In 2018, the volume of seaborne goods loaded and unloaded increased by 1.7% compared with a year earlier. The Federal Statistical Office reports that a total of 304.7 million tonnes of goods were handled in German sea ports that year. In 2017, the relevant volume of freight was 299.5 million tonnes.

bremenports to Develop New Deep-Water Port in Iceland

(worldmaritimenews) German bremenports has reached an agreement with Icelandic partners to form a company with an aim of establishing a port and industrial location at Finnafjord.

10 shipping terms every international shipper should know

(hellenicshippingnews) COD, CYCY, DM, and DT. Say what? For an untrained ear, this is just gibberish. To international shippers, however, it is a different story.

Alphaliner: Largest Container Ports Handle 4.9 Pct More Volumes in 2018

(worldmaritimenews) The 120 largest container ports in the world have been busy in 2018, recording an increase of 4.9% in total volumes compared to 2017, according to data provided by Alphaliner.

Bulkers Are Now Headed for Recycling in Market Shift

(hellenicshippingnews) Last year, it was mostly tankers and containers which were the main candidates for ship recycling. As of late though and amid a growing unease regarding the dry bulk market’s immediate prospects, more and more dry bulkers are being considered for scrapping.

Leading maritime capitals 2019: Singapore still on top, Athens 11th

(hellenicshippingnews) Singapore maintained its top position at the head of the 15 leading maritime capitals. Despite a somewhat weak trade cycle in traditional shipping and offshore oil and gas markets yet to recover, Singapore was able to retain its lead in three of the five pillars of the ranking: Shipping, Ports and Logistics as well as Attractiveness and Competitiveness.

IMO 2020: What Shippers Need To Know Now

(hellenicshippingnews) While the world has been enthralled by the US-China trade war, another extremely pressing situation is happening in the logistics industry — the International Maritime Organization is preparing to roll out a landmark set of regulations that will cost carriers at least $15B per year.

Capesize values under pressure

(hellenicshippingnews) VesselsValue data suggests the value of a generic fixed age 15 year old Capesize Bulker has fallen 20% from 1st November 2018 to USD 12.2 million today. By contrast, other valuers are quoting figures or estimated ranges 15-30% higher.

IMB: Global Piracy Drops by 42 Pct in Q1 2019

(worldmaritimenews) The first quarter of 2019 saw fewer incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships, compared to the first three months of 2018, a report shows.

China Expects Over Six Percent Economic Growth This Year

(maritime-executive) China's economy will grow by an estimated 6.3 percent this year, according to a report by the Asian Development Bank.

Industry Optimism High as Seatrade Cruise Global 2019 Kicks Off

(maritime-executive) Having just completed another record year, optimism remains high in the cruise industry as the business leaders, port and government officials, suppliers and other vendors all gather for one of the industry’s largest business conferences – Seatrade Cruise Global 2019 in Miami, Florida.

EIA: U.S. High Sulfur Fuel Demand will Rebound in 2022

(maritime-executive) The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that the share of high sulfur residual fuel oil consumed as bunker in the U.S. will drop from 58 percent in 2019 to three percent in 2020, and then rebounds to 24 percent in 2022.

Baltic Exchange Keeps Shipping Indices Unchanged Ahead of IMO 2020

(gcaptain) The Baltic Exchange has opted to keep its benchmark shipping indices unchanged, despite calls from some market players for the data provider to include fuel cleaning systems that vessels can fit due to a major regulatory change next year.

RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index: World trade declines considerably

(rwi) The Container Throughput Index of the RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) fell to 133.9 according to the flash-estimate for February. Compared with (revised) January value of 138.2, this reflects the fourth-largest decline observed so far. Especially the Chinese ports experienced a decrease in container handling which corresponds to the festivities of Chinese New Year. In general, the computation accounts for this seasonal effect, however, its estimation still involves a higher degree of uncertainty.

Global energy demand rose by 2.3% in 2018, its fastest pace in the last decade

(iea) Energy demand worldwide grew by 2.3% last year, its fastest pace this decade, an exceptional performance driven by a robust global economy and stronger heating and cooling needs in some regions.

Chinese shipyard mega merger being fast-tracked

China’s two major state-run shipbuilding majors – CSSC and CSIC – are accelerating preparation for a potential merger, and a detailed merger plan is expected to be finalised this year.

Inmarsat Accepts $3.4 Billion Takeover Offer

(maritime-executive) Satellite communications company Inmarsat has recommended shareholders accept a $3.4 billion takeover offer from the newly formed Triton Bidco consortium.
Triton Bidco includes Apax, Warburg Pincus, Canada Pension Plan Investment and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board.

Record decrease in inland waterways transport due to low water levels

(Destatis) In 2018, the volume of goods transported on inland waterways decreased by 11.1% compared with the previous year. The Federal Statistical Office reports that a total of 198.0 million tonnes of goods were transported on German inland waterways. In 2017, the relevant volume of freight was 222.7 million tonnes.

COSCO’s 25,000 TEU Megaship Takes Shape

COSCO, the third largest container line in the world by market share, has had designs for its record-breaking 25,000 TEU vessel approved by China’s state-owned shipbuilding company.

Dry Bulk Market: Mid-Sized Bulkers Could Be Headed Towards Higher Ground

(hellenicshippingnews) Predicting the future course of the dry bulk market has proven to be more than difficult these days, with most estimates falling way off the mark given the unpredictability of freight rates and the effect of one-off events, like the recent Vale accident, which took out of the market a major part of dry bulk cargoes.

Italy Signs on for Chinese "Belt and Road" Port Investments

(maritime-executive) Italy's government is headed squarely for a deal with China on direct investment in as many as four major seaports, explicitly endorsing Beijing's "belt and road" economic development program.

As U.S. Oil Grows, So Does Its Influence on Global Prices

(gcaptain) For a glimpse into what the global oil price might look like one day, a good place to look is the Dutch port of Rotterdam.

Lianyungang port upgrades as part of Belt and Road

(destatis) Lianyungang port is continuing to expand to realise synergies from river-sea combined transportation.

U.S.-bound shipments fall for first time in 24 months in February, says Panjiva

(logisticsmgmt) February shipments, at 909,947, fell 4.5% annually, with containerized freight handled shipments down 4%. What’s more, this decline follows an aggregate increase of 5.5% over the previous three months.

Ship owners worry about clean fuel bill as ports ban ‘scrubbers’

(hellenicshippingnews) More ports around the world are banning ships from using a fuel cleaning system that pumps waste water into the sea, one of the cheapest options for meeting new environmental shipping rules.

Drewry: Sulphur Cap to Trigger Slow Steaming, Transhipment

(worldmaritimenews) The shipping industry could see more slow steaming and transhipment being triggered as part of the IMO 2020 sulphur rule, according to shipping consultancy Drewry.

Grain trades provide bulker hope

(splash247) Chief correspondent Jason Jiang writes that despite the ongoing China-US trade spat, 2019 looks set to be an improving one for the grain trades.

Port Growth to Level Off Over Next Decade

(maritime-executive) Volume growth will continue for ports throughout the world but at a more modest pace over the next 10 years, according to Fitch Ratings in a new report.

Trump Supports Charleston Deepening Project

The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) has announced that it will receive US$138 million in funding from President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2020 Budget for its 52-foot Charleston Harbour Deepening Project.

Drewry: Rising Demand to Push China’s Chemical Freight Rates Up

(worldmaritimenews) China’s increasing domestic demand for chemical shipping is expected to strengthen coastal freight rates, according to shipping consultancy Drewry.

Dry Bulkers Head to the Scrapyards, While Tankers are Being Kept in Service

(hellenicshippingnews) The tide has shifted when it comes to demolition activity so far in 2019.

Labour costs up 2.3% in 2018

(Destatis) In Germany, labour costs per hour worked rose a calendar adjusted 2.3% in 2018 compared with a year earlier. The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) also reports that the costs of gross earnings increased by 2.4%, while non-wage costs were up 2.0%.

Australia Confident of Mining Future

(maritime-executive) Australia's coal exports to China could face a continued slowdown as Chinese authorities step up their campaign to reduce air pollution, but the Australian
government remains confident of the nation's mining future.

ICTSI Increases 2018 Profit, Cautiously Optimistic for 2019

(worldmaritimenews) Philippines-based port management company International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) has increased its 2018 profit on the back of a six percent increase in TEU volume and inclusion of new terminals.

As China Growth Slows, U.S. Companies See Falling Profits

(hellenicshippingnews) Beijing’s movers and shakers are meeting for the so-called “two sessions” this week, where they will discuss things like trade wars and economic development. The first order of business for the market: a new GDP target range that puts guidance as low as 6% to as high as 6.5%.

World’s First Mega-Container Vessel LNG Retrofit Contracted

(maritime-executive) The 15,000 TEU Hapag-Lloyd container ship Sajir will be the first mega-container vessel to be converted to dual-fuel operation.

Jaxport Approves New Container Terminal

The Jacksonville Port Authority (Jaxport) Board of Directors has unanimously approved a long-term agreement with terminal operator SSA Marine for the development and operation of a new $238.7 million international container terminal at the port's Blount Island Marine Terminal.

U.S. Maritime Workforce Grows to 650,000

The Transportation Institute, a maritime association that promotes the Jones Act in the U.S., has published details of a PwC report that demonstrates a 30 percent increase in domestic maritime job creation enabled by the Jones Act. The industry now employs nearly 650,0000 Americans across 50 states and contributes $154 billion to the nation’s economic growth annually.

Dry Bulk Market: Capesizes Still Under Pressure, While Smaller Classes Improve

Vale’s ongoing absence from the Brazil spot market continued to have a negative impact on sentiment.

Drewry: World Container Index Down 8%

The composite index is down 8% this week, but 1% up as compared with same period of 2018.

Virginia to Become US Hub for Reefer Imports

The Port of Virginia has completed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) “Southeast In-Transit” Cold Treatment pilot programme, increasing its capacity for refrigerated imports by 66%.

Panama Canal Connects 1,700 Ports

For more than 100 years, the Panama Canal has improved global commerce, transportation and connectivity, enabling growing opportunities for countries around the world. The waterway currently serves 140 routes, connecting 1,700 ports and 160 countries.

Classic panamaxes under severe pressure in Asia, scrapping on the cards

The sudden large volume of classic panamaxes struggling to find employment again could make owners think about a renewed batch of tonnage to scrap.

China’s LNG Imports Rise To Record High

China’s liquefied natural gas imports in January rose to a record as an increase in residential heating demand during the winter after the country’s shift to gas heating spurred higher shipments, customs data showed on Saturday.

IMO Finalizes Sulfur Cap Consistency Guidelines Draft

The IMO Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 6) met last week and finalized draft guidelines for the consistent implementation of 2020 sulfur cap.

Positive Changes to the BVI Merchant Shipping Legislation

The recently published Merchant Shipping Act, 2018 became law on 18 January 2019 and includes some salient and welcome maritime developments in the British Virgin Islands (“BVI”).

Drewry: Iron Ore Inventories Threaten Capesize Demand

Demand for Capesizes is being threatened by high iron ore inventories at Chinese ports and looming uncertainty in the global economy, according to shipping consultancy Drewry.

Trump Delays Tariff Hike

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he would delay his planned increase in tariffs on Chinese goods after “productive” talks in China. Trump had planned to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent on March 1 but now hopes to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to finalize a deal.