Sun, Sep 16, 2007 - Page 11 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ AUTOMOBILES

Workers, GM take a break

Negotiators for the United Auto Workers and General Motors Corp (GM) ended a marathon bargaining session early yesterday, more than four hours after their contract was set to expire. Both sides, which agreed on Friday night to extend the contract while they continued negotiations, pledged to resume talks later yesterday, said GM spokesman Dan Flores, who did not know exactly when negotiators would return to the table. "The parties have agreed to take a break and resume later on this morning," Flores said. "Our bargaining continues, but both parties have agreed to take a short break."

■ FOOD

P&G moves against Kraft

Procter & Gamble Co (P&G) asked a judge on Friday to stop Kraft Foods Inc from continuing to manufacture and distribute its Maxwell House coffee in a plastic container that P&G has alleged infringes on a patent. The motion in US District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco follows a lawsuit that P&G filed on Aug. 27 in the same court. In the new motion, P&G charges that its Folgers brand faces irreparable harm from Kraft's continued use of the Maxwell House container and wants the judge to quickly intervene. P&G introduced a plastic container for its Folgers coffee in 2003.

■ CASINOS

Hong Kong opts out

Hong Kong will not build casinos to compete with its booming neighbor Macau, which recently surpassed the Las Vegas Strip in gaming revenue, an official said. Speaking to reporters after a banquet held by the hotel industry late on Friday, Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Frederick Ma (馬時亨) acknowledged the fast casino growth in Macau posed a challenge to Hong Kong. But he said the Hong Kong government would not consider building casinos. Ma said Hong Kong would build more convention space, invest in cruise ship terminals and expand Ocean Park, Hong Kong's leading local theme park.

■ PETROLEUM

Venezuela to face Exxon

Venezuela is prepared to face Exxon Mobil Corp in international arbitration to defend its nationalization of key oil projects, the country's energy minister said. "We're ready to face it," Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez told the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal in an interview published on Friday, saying the government was not surprised the Irving, Texas, oil company was turning to arbitration. Exxon Mobil said on Wednesday it filed a request for arbitration in the dispute over the nationalization of the Cerro Negro heavy oil project, one of four heavy oil projects in which President Hugo Chavez's government assumed majority control in May.

■ INVESTMENT

China's global reach grows

Chinese banks, manufacturers and other companies invested US$21 billion abroad last year as they rapidly expanded foreign operations, the government reported yesterday. Non-financial investment abroad rose 43.8 percent to US$17.6 billion, while financial investments rose 16.7 percent to US$3.5 billion, the Commerce Ministry said. China has long been one of the world's top destinations for foreign investment, but its own companies are now expanding abroad.

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