■ EconomicsMinister warns of tax hikes
Japan must increase tax revenues to pay for welfare and other such programs, Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki said. ``While efforts need to be made to cut back on spending, it's inevitable that tax burdens will need to be increased to boost revenue,'' Tanigaki said on Fuji Television's Hodo 2001 program yesterday. Japan's public debt, the heaviest among industrialized countries, is expected to reach ?719 trillion (US$6.78 trillion), or 144 percent of GDP, by March, the govern-ment has estimated. Policy makers including Tanigaki have said that the govern-ment could roll back tax cuts it implemented to 1999 to help boost revenue. Tanigaki said that the economy is in better shape than it was when the cuts were implemented to boost consumer spending.
Nike still showing ad in HK
Nike is continuing to screen a controversial TV ad in Hong Kong showing US basketball star LeBron James, after pulling the ad from China. Last week Nike issued a "deep apology to Chinese consumers" for the ad which shows James defeating a kung-fu master, two women fighters and a pair of dragons. China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television said the ad offended national feelings and stirred up "strong public indig-nation." Nike said it will continue to screen the ad in Hong Kong where it claimed reaction to the campaign had been entirely positive. The South China Morning Post said the ad will be aired during English Premier League and National Bas-ketball Association broad-casts. The Hong Kong Tele-vision Licensing Authority said it had received only one complaint about the ad.
Red tape slowing exports
India is witnessing an export boom with 24 per-cent growth this year, but businesses still often run into red tape, the commerce minister said on Saturday. India is bringing down tariff levels, cutting state sub-sidies and plans to double its 0.7 percent share of world trade by 2009 with export growth of more than 20 percent annually. Ex-ports in the eight months since April, when the finan-cial year began, were valued at US$46 billion, a growth of more than 24 percent over the same period last year, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath reported on Saturday in a meeting with top officials. Exports for this year and next are likely to reach US$75 billion, Nath was quoted as saying by the government's Press Infor-mation Bureau. The export boom is led by gems and jewelry, minerals, engineer-ing goods and chemical products, it said in a state-ment. The government projects that exports will grow to US$150 billion by 2008-2009.
Barbie complaint nixed
Germany's federal court of justice on Saturday ruled against giving Barbie a monopoly in the themed doll market, saying that a German rival called Steffi Love had every right to compete with her. Mattel Inc had sought an injunction against Simba Toys. Mattel said its good reputation was being exploited by Simba, which it accused of mis-leading consumers about the origin of its products. But the court said the con-cept of a doll with acces-sories could not be copy-righted. The court ruled that with 82 percent of the German market for Barbie-type dolls, Mattel could not prevent rivals from launching similar products.