NE Asian treaty planned
China, Japan and South Korea will sign a treaty in May to boost cross--border investment and better protect intellectual property, a report said yesterday. The deal is expected to be sealed when leaders of the three countries meet in Tokyo, four years after negotiations were launched, the Nikkei Shimbun said, stepping up cooperation between nations that have not always enjoyed easy ties. Under the existing Japan-China investment accord, Japanese companies have to rely on Chinese laws to protect their intellectual property. The deal would enable settling intellectual property disputes under international frameworks, the newspaper said. It would also allow companies to demand a clear explanation when the Chinese government applies or changes its law in an opaque manner, the Nikkei said.
MerchantBridge CEO dies
The chief executive of private equity group MerchantBridge and two JPMorgan executives were among seven people killed when a small plane crashed in northern Iraq, officials said on Saturday. The plane went down shortly after takeoff on Friday from an airport at Sulaimaniya in Iraq’s semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region. MerchantBridge chief executive officer Basil al-Rahim and Abdallah Lahoud, a partner in the company, died in the crash, MerchantBridge said in a statement. Airport officials said the businessmen had flown to Sulaimaniya to visit the offices of AsiaCell, one of Iraq’s major mobile phone service providers, which is partially owned by Qatar Telecommunications. Rahim was a member of the AsiaCell board of directors, AsiaCell said in a statement. JPMorgan executives Murad Megalli and Javier Zurita also were killed in the crash, along with the three crew members, it said.
Iran selling oil to Afghanistan
Iran said yesterday it has reached an agreement with Afghanistan to supply fuel to the war-torn country and has started supplying the products to its neighbor’s private sector. Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi said: “Afghanistan’s private sector buys all its needed products from Iran,” the oil ministry news service Shana reported. “Oil products were already transited to Afghanistan and we hope from now on this country makes all its [fuel] purchases from Iran as there has been an agreement with Afghan officials,” Mirkazemi said. About one-third of Afghanistan’s fuel transits through Iran, which has become a sensitive issue as the Islamic republic has prevented trucks carrying it to Afghanistan.
Investors protest crash
Angry investors took to the streets of the capital yesterday after the national stock exchange suffered another dramatic fall, in the latest of a series of collapses that forced trading to halt several times last month. The benchmark Dhaka Stock Exchange index shed 5.7 percent yesterday, the first working day of the week, following a 2.5 percent slide on Thursday. Hundreds of disgruntled investors demonstrated and chanted slogans outside the Dhaka Stock Exchange building, bringing traffic to a halt, witnesses said. The Dhaka index has lost more than 24 percent since Dec. 5.
Electricity may rise 10-20%
The disruption in gas supplies from Egypt to the country may result in a rise of 10 percent to 20 percent in electricity prices, Israel Electric Corp deputy chief executive officer Moshe Bachar told Army Radio yesterday.