Auto tax increase postponed
The government postponed until next year increases in taxes on the sale of cars and trucks in a bid to stimulate demand for manufactured goods and spur economic growth, the Finance Ministry said on Saturday. Finance Minister Guido Mantega said the government wanted to “avoid the risk of a drop in sales throughout the year.” “The car industry is very important for Brazil’s economy, it accounts for 25 percent of industrial production,” Mantega said on Globo TV. “So, to keep industrial output growing, it is important that the auto industry keeps growing.”
Offshore gas delivered
The government announced on Saturday it had begun delivering gas from a major northern offshore drill toward its shores, a move officials say will diminish the state’s dependency on foreign gas imports. Tamar, which has reserves of up to 238 billion cubic meters, lies 130km off the Mediterranean port city of Haifa. Tamar, which was discovered in 2009, is jointly owned by US company Nobel Energy and three Israeli firms — Delek, Isramco and Dor Alon.
Firm welcomes use of yuan
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd, Australia’s third-biggest iron ore producer, said it welcomes policies that promote the use of China’s yuan in global trade, following a report Australia was set to sign a conversion deal.
“Fortescue welcomes the ongoing internationalization of the yuan, which is becoming an increasingly important currency in global trade,” the Perth-based company said yesterday in response to a Bloomberg request for comment.
Court to rule on patent case
The Indian Supreme Court is to rule today on a landmark patent case involving Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG that focuses on demands by major companies that their investments be protected, against Indian companies that say they should be allowed to continue producing cheaper generic versions of many lifesaving medicines. A decision in the seven-year legal battle is keenly awaited by the two most interested parties — big pharma companies and health aid groups — with both sides saying the outcome will set a precedent with far-reaching consequences for the future availability of the drugs.
Ford dismisses accusations
US automaker Ford, which faces a lawsuit over claims its vehicles accelerate without warning, dismissed the accusations on Saturday as unscientific. Ford said it had addressed the issue with US regulators, whose work is “far more scientific and trustworthy than work done by personal injury lawyers and their paid experts,” an e-mail from a company spokesman said. On Friday, vehicle owners in 14 states filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of “potentially millions of purchasers and lessees of Ford vehicles manufactured between 2002 and 2010.”
Investment scam queried
People are questioning how a North Carolina man operated a US$600 million fraudulent investment scheme that attracted 1 million investors, even though regulators had received dozens of complaints about the company. Authorities say Paul Burks is the mastermind of one of the biggest investment scams in US history. His online company ZeekRewards was based in Lexington, North Carolina. Burks has agreed to pay a US$4 million penalty.