China's tax revenue rises
China's tax revenue rose 26 percent last year from a year earlier as the country's fast economic growth lifted corporate profits and spurred foreign trade, the State Administration of Taxation said. The government collected a record 2.57 trillion yuan (US$311 billion) in taxes last year, doubling the figure from 2000, the taxation bureau said in a statement on its Web Site. China's economy, the world's seventh largest, expanded by 9.1 percent in the third quarter last year and 9.5 percent in the first nine months of the year, the National Bureau of Statistics said in October.
■ Auto Industry
Chinese carmaker eyes US
A Chinese automaker will begin exporting cars to the US, with a goal of selling 250,000 in 2007, according to the head of the company that plans to market them. Chery Automobile Co (吉利), owned by the Chinese government, has signed a deal with the privately held Visionary Vehicles LLC of New York to sell the cars in the US, said Malcolm Bricklin, Visionary's chief executive. It would be the first-ever deal to import Chinese-made cars to the US, the Detroit News said in its Sunday editions. Chery is China's eighth-largest auto-maker. Founded in 1997, it sold about 90,000 vehicles in China last year. "We have an exclusive North American distribution agreement with Chery to bring in five brand-new models for delivery next year, to go on sale in January of 2007," Bricklin said. Chery and Visionary reached the agreement on Dec. 16 at Chery's corporate head-quarters in Wuhu in China's Anhui province, Bricklin said.
Japan expects slow growth
A majority of chief executives at big Japanese companies predicted the country's economy would not improve this year due largely to a possible US economic downturn, an opinion poll showed yesterday. The survey was conducted by the Kyodo news agency in mid-December on CEOs at 105 companies. Kyodo said that 20 percent of the business leaders forecast the world's second-biggest economy to slow down gradually while 32 percent predicted it would remain flat. They cited a possible downturn in US economic activity as the number one reason for their concerns about Japan's economic outlook, Kyodo said. The yen's appreciation and higher prices of crude oil and raw materials are also among matters of concern. On the other hand, 44 percent expected the Japanese economy to con-tinue its moderate expan-sion into this year.
US-Aussie FTA takes effect
A US-Australia free trade agreement took effect on Saturday, eliminating tariffs on the overwhelming majority of goods sold between the two countries, US officials said. The deal survived months of wrangling in Australia and opposition from some sectors in the US, and a late amendment negotiated to address US concerns about pharmaceutical patents. The US Trade Representative's office (USTR) said that more than 99 percent of US manufactured goods exports to Australia are now duty free. Manufac-tured goods account for 93 percent of US exports to Australia. "As President Bush said when he signed the agreement, `the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement is a milestone in the history of our alliance,'" US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said.