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IN BRIEF (Page: 6, Date: 05/09/2002)
Machinery fairs to open in June
The fifth China International Machinery & Equipment Symposium (CIMES 2002) and the sixth China Machine Tool Fair (CMTF 2002) will be held at the China International Exhibition Centre in Beijing from June 19 to 23. The events will aim to promote trade and economic co-operation between Chinese and foreign firms.
Xing Min - president of the China National Machine Tool Corporation, the organizer of the two fairs - said over 600 companies from 19 countries and regions will take part. The exhibitions will occupy a total floor space of nearly 30,000 square metres. More than 70 per cent of the exhibits will be CNC (computer-numerical-controlled) machine tools, indicating a high-tech level of exhibit.
Software group urges piracy fight
Jeffrey J. Hardee, vice-president of the Business Software Association (BSA) Asia, urged China to continue its efforts to fight against software piracy through legislation, law enforcement and education.
The association has worked with the Chinese Government to stop piracy through education on copyright policies, and the collection of information on illegal software producers and users through its hotline and website. Hardee said piracy, especially by business users, made it difficult for the software industry to grow.
US firm aids diabetic children
The Johnson & Johnson Lifescan Company, a United States-based leading producer of blood-glucose monitoring systems, has set up China's first fund to support children with type-one diabetes, in co-operation from the China Youth Development Fund. Lifescan will donate a total of 1 million yuan (US$120,000) to the fund over five years to organize diabetes education and summer camps.
City bans medical advertisements
Shanghai commerce chiefs have banned all medical advertisements after a spate of misleading adverts in the media.
All media and medical organizations have been given three months, starting on Tuesday this week, to stop publishing and issuing medical advertisements, said Wu Min, an official from the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Industry and Commerce.
Household goods exhibition starts
The 89th Chinese Everyday Consumer Goods Trade Fair opened on Tuesday in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province.
Over 400 enterprises from around the country are participating in the fair, where 20,000 different types of household goods in 10 general categories will be displayed.
Business people from the United States, Canada, Japan and other countries and regions have also come to seek business opportunities.
Federal Reserve makes no move
Federal Reserve policymakers opted on Tuesday to keep US interest rates steady at four-decade lows in a bid to keep an uneven economic recovery rolling with cheap credit for consumers and businesses.
Citing uncertainty about the outlook for growth in consumer and corporate demand - deemed vital to prolonging economic growth - policymaking members of the Federal Open Market Committee voted unanimously to keep its trend-setting federal funds rate for overnight loans between banks at 1.75 per cent.
Productivity up 8.6 per cent
US businesses cranked up productivity by a near 19-year record 8.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2002, the government said on Tuesday, dramatically improving the outlook for profits and a powerful economic recovery.
It was the fastest rise in business productivity - output per hour worked - since the second quarter of 1983, easily beating Wall Street analysts' expectations of an increase of 7 per cent.
ROK threatens bankruptcy for Hynix
The government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) yesterday threatened to impose a fast-track bankruptcy on debt-stricken Hynix Semiconductor Co unless it accepts creditors' plans to sell its core assets to a foreign company.
Creditor banks are pushing for the company to be broken up into profitable and non-profitable units. These will either be sold or the profitable operations retained and the rest liquidated, said Financial Supervisory Commission head, Lee Keun-young. The "pre-packaged bankruptcy" system can cut the time required for the procedure, from up to a year, to about three months.
Malaysia hints new auto duties
Malaysia may introduce measures such as new duties to protect local carmakers when the sector is liberalized in 2005 under a regional free trade plan, a report said yesterday.
Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz was quoted by Business Times as saying that the government would not impose non-tariff barriers for imported vehicles but may seek other measures allowed under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Free Trade Area.
Citigroup to buy Singaporean bank
US financial services giant Citigroup is eager to acquire a Singapore bank to consolidate its already strong position in the city-state, an executive said in remarks published yesterday.
Country officer for Singapore Sunil Sreenivasan, said Citigroup "would be very interested" if authorities lift curbs on foreign banks taking controlling stakes in local players.
Soya bean ban
China said yesterday it would prohibit the discharge of any foreign soya bean cargo until June 1 under new rules on genetically modified crops.
An official at the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said: "According to Chinese quarantine rules, they have to get quarantine certificates before signing contracts and delivering cargoes."
The comment shocked the oil seed market, as traders expect China to use up all its imported and domestic soya beans in May after months of trade stagnation. No soya bean cargoes have arrived since March 20, when the rules took effect. More than 1.5 million tons of soya beans landed in China each month before that.
Viet Nam trade
The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation is due to hold talks with its Vietnamese counterpart this weekend on a US$800 million aluminium project in Viet Nam's Central Highlands.
The state-run Viet Nam National Mineral Corporation (Vimico) signed a memorandum of understanding with China's Non-ferrous Metal Corporation last year to study the possibility of tapping bauxite and producing alumina in Daklak province.
Tran Minh Huan, head of the Vietnamese Industry Ministry's international co-operation department, said the Chinese corporation had completed a pre-feasibility study for an alumina plant in Daklak's Dak Nong district capable of producing one millions tons annually.
The Bank of China said its domestic operations made an operating profit after provisions of 5.89 billion yuan (US$711.6 million) in the first quarter of this year.
This was up 60 million yuan (US$7.25 million) from a year earlier, an increase of 1 per cent year on year. The bank's overseas operations made a pre-tax profit of US$133 million, the bank said. The bank did not give a breakdown or comparative figures.
The Beijing-based refrigerator distributor Greencool Technology Holdings <8056.HK> said yesterday the Hong Kong stock exchange is probing a 230 million yuan (US$27.8 million) advance payment it made to a related firm last year.
The other firm, Tianjin Greencool Factory, is the company's sole refrigerator supplier and is controlled by Greencool Technology Chairman Gu Chujun, the company said in a statement. Gu is also the chairman of Chinese appliance maker Guangdong Kelon Electrical Holdings <0921.HK> <000921.SZ>. Greencool Technology said its directors considered the pre-payment part of the "usual course of business" because the amount did not exceed an annual purchase cap of 250 million yuan (US$30.19 million) specified by a waiver in its listing prospectus dated July 2000. But the company said the exchange is looking into whether Greencool Technology complied with all the terms of the waiver.
Peking University said it has joined hands with Singapore's Informatics Holdings - an information-technology training and education firm - to run an English-language school. The firm and the university have invested 4 million yuan (US$483,000) in the school.
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