Mon, Oct 10, 2011 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

CHINA

Top steel firms audited

The National Audit Office said it is auditing the country’s top three steel companies to ensure they have implemented a two-year-old steel industry plan, Xinhua news agency reported. The three are Baosteel Group Corp (寶鋼集團), Wuhan Iron and Steel (Group) Corp (武漢鋼鐵集團) and Angang Steel Co (鞍山鋼鐵集團), Xinhua said. All three rank among the world’s top 10 steel producers in terms of output, the report said. The audit office started on-site audits of the three firms in June and plans to complete them “soon,” Xinhua said.

UNITED STATES

Teva acquisition approved

Regulators said they would give Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the world’s biggest generic drug maker, a conditional green light for its US$6.8 billion acquisition of competitor Cephalon. The Federal Trade Commission said on Friday it would allow the deal, which it had feared could reduce competition in the multi-billion-dollar market, if Teva sells the rights to two generic drugs ahead of the company’s Friday target date for the transaction. The generic treatments — a cancer pain compound and a muscle relaxant — have combined domestic sales of about US$300 million a year. Israel-based Teva first announced in May its intent to acquire Pennsylvania-based Cephalon for US$6.8 billion.

SAUDI ARABIA

Inflation ‘not worrying’

Inflation levels are not a concern and will continue to decline, central bank Governor Muhammad al-Jasser said on Saturday. “Inflation levels are not worrying. Inflation has become stable since the beginning of the year between about 4.6 and 4.9 [percent] ... I expect it to continue its decline,” al-Jasser told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Riyadh. Al-Jasser also said that lending levels had risen by more than 9 percent this year. “In reality, lending has risen by more than 9 percent this year ... an excellent level,” he said.

ENTERTAINMENT

Gibson backs conservation

Gibson Guitar chief executive Henry Juszkiewicz said he strongly backed conservation as well as US federal enforcement of laws meant to protect the tropical hardwoods the firm uses to make instruments. Gibson is facing allegations that it uses wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers — a potential violation of the Lacey Act. Juszkiewicz told reporters on Saturday, after a Tea Party-sponsored, pro-Gibson rally, that he supports the intent of the act. However, he called the requirement for Indian workers to finish the wood a “misuse of environmental law.” Federal agents raided Gibson factories in Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee, in August, seizing more than 10,000 fingerboards from imported Indian rosewood.

TRADE

Georgia blocks WTO entry

Talks between Georgia and Russia over the latter’s bid to join the WTO ended without agreement on Saturday, and Georgia said it would block accession unless Moscow’s position changes. The failure to resolve a dispute rooted in a 2008 war between the two countries undermines Russia’s chances of joining the WTO this year, a target set by Moscow and the US, and could worsen relations with the West. Because the WTO, a 153-nation trade rules body, makes decisions by consensus, Georgia has an effective veto over membership for its much larger neighbor.

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