Sun, Mar 11, 2018 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

TRADE

Canada, Mercosur in talks

Latin America’s Mercosur trade bloc countries on Friday formally launched negotiations on a free-trade deal with Canada. Paraguayan Minister of Foreign Affairs Eladio Loizaga said the first meeting would take place in Ottawa from March 20 to March 23. Ministers said in a joint statement that they aimed to conclude a “Canada-Mercosur Global Trade Agreement” with a “shared commitment to trade liberalization and opening markets.” Argentine Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Faurie said the two sides hoped to sign a free-trade agreement before the end of the year.

TAXES

EU to update haven blacklist

The EU is next week to add Saint Kitts and Nevis, the Bahamas and the US Virgin Islands to its new tax haven blacklist, European sources said. However, the blacklist will still number nine countries after finance ministers withdraw Bahrain, the Marshall Islands and Saint Lucia, according to an EU document. A European source said the new list would be approved by the 28-nation bloc’s finance ministers meeting in Brussels on Tuesday next week. Activists had sharply criticized the EU’s commitment to fighting tax avoidance after it withdrew Panama, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Mongolia, Macau, Grenada and Barbados from the list on Jan. 23.

SPAIN

Deal reached on wage hikes

Unions have reached a deal with the government to raise the salary of civil servants for the first time since 2009 after an economic crisis sparked drastic austerity measures, they said on Friday. The agreement allows for a 6.1 percent to 8.8 percent increase over three years, depending on the growth of the nation’s economy over the period, the Workers’ Commissions union said in a statement. Last year, the government had proposed a 1 percent increase, which was rejected by unions as inadequate.

INTERNET

Facebook to stream baseball

Facebook Inc has reached a deal with Major League Baseball for exclusive rights to stream 25 afternoon games on the social network in the US. It is the first time a major US sports league has agreed to show regular-season games exclusively on Facebook, which has been building a portfolio of live sports. MLB owners unanimously approved the move, the league said. Neither MLB nor Facebook disclosed the financial terms, although people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified, because the terms are private, put the price at US$30 million to US$35 million.

TELECOMS

AT&T slams anti-trust suit

AT&T Inc has lashed out at a US anti-trust lawsuit against its proposed takeover of Time Warner Inc, saying that the government’s own economic expert determined the deal would raise prices for pay-TV subscribers by just US$0.45 per month. The telecommunications giant derided the US Department of Justice’s case, saying that the government’s own analysis shows the deal would cause minimal consumer harm, according to a filing in federal court in Washington on Friday. AT&T said that the merger with the owner of CNN and HBO would allow it to more effectively compete against rivals such as Comcast Corp and Netflix Inc to the benefit of consumers.

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