Sat, Feb 24, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Business Briefs

AGENCIES

■ Aviation
Airbus compromise mulled

Airbus SA was discussing a compromise on aircraft production aimed at breaking a deadlock over job cuts ahead of a summit meeting between French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday, a union source said on Thursday. The source said the proposal drawn up by Airbus chief Louis Gallois would offer Germany a greater share of work on the next generation of A320 single-aisle jet in exchange for toning down a demand for more work on the upcoming 10 billion euro (US$13 billion) A350 plane. "The Germans were pushing for too much on the A350, it would have meant the end of the Saint-Nazaire and Nantes plants [in France]," said the source.

■ Innovation

EU closing in on US

The EU is narrowing its innovation gap with the US and Japan, although performances vary widely among the bloc's members, a study found on Thursday. "The US and Japan are still ahead of the EU-25 in terms of innovation performance, but the innovation gap between the EU-25 and Japan, and in particular with the US is decreasing," the study for the European Commission found. Denmark, Finland, Germany and Sweden won the highest marks for innovation in the latest annual scoreboard, prepared by the Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology. The four were considered to be "innovation leaders" along with Switzerland, it said.

■ Retail

Coles up for sale again

Australia's second largest retailer Coles Group put itself back on the market yesterday, saying it was considering selling the business after several informal approaches were made to its advisors. Coles said it would review the options for the company and its businesses, which include supermarkets and department stores, during the next six months. Chairman Rick Allert refused to name any parties which had approached Coles but said the company had received advice that the company's value remained above A$15.25 per share.

■ Markets

Tokyo, London in alliance

The Tokyo and London stock exchanges said yesterday that they had agreed to work on a business alliance aimed at boosting their international presence. The two exchange operators said they would consider creating new jointly traded products and schemes to encourage access by member firms to each other's markets with the eventual aim of round-the-clock trading. They will also share information on technology. "Taking into consideration the environment surrounding market operators, it is critical for us to explore satisfying [the] exchange's various stakeholders," Tokyo Stock Exchange chief executive Taizo Nishimuro said in a statement.

■ Piracy
China WTO filing possible

Washington might file a case with the WTO unless China takes more action soon to reduce piracy and counterfeiting of US goods, the top US trade official said on Thursday. "We are all going to run out of patience at some point and that will be, I suspect, sooner rather than later," US Trade Representative Susan Schwab said in an interview taped for C-SPAN's Newsmakers programs. Earlier this month, the International Intellectual Property Alliance -- a coalition of US industry groups -- estimated they lost US$2.2 billion in China last year because of piracy.

■ Trade

Wei heads to new WTO post

Taiwan's outgoing deputy representative to the EU and Belgium will soon leave for Geneva to assume his new post as deputy representative to the WTO. Wei Ko-ming (魏可銘), a seasoned trade negotiator who served as deputy head of the Board of Foreign Trade, was scheduled to depart Brussels yesterday, ending more than four years as Taiwan's second highest-ranking official stationed in the EU and Belgium. Wei will fill the post left vacant by John Deng (鄧振中) who has been serving as Taiwan's deputy representative to the US since late last June.

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