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Thu, Feb 24, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Tourism

Visa fees waved for Expo

Japan said yesterday that it would waive visa charges for visitors to the six-month World Exposition, the international showcase of technology and innovation which opens next month in Aichi Prefecture. Japan said short-term, non-employment visas issued from tomorrow to Sept. 25, the last day of the World Expo, would be free if the trip included a visit to the event. Japan generally charges ?3,000 (US$29) for a single-entry visa and ?6,000 for a double-entry or multiple-entry visa. Japan already allows nationals of 58 countries to enter without visas and is specially exempting South Korean and Taiwanese tourists to encourage them to visit the World Expo, which opens March 25.

■ Banking

Red tape seen a threat

Overregulation has been singled out by banks worldwide as the biggest risk to the finance industry, a survey showed yesterday. It was the first time "too much regulation" was regarded as the greatest risk since the annual survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation started 10 years ago. It jumped from sixth last year. The poll of 440 bankers from 54 countries kept credit risks second, but corporate government emerged as the third-greatest fear, rising from eighth last year. Increased regulations raised entry barriers and could eventually "create significant market concentration and depress competitiveness," said the accounting firm and think tank.

■ Steel

Baoshan delays issue

China's largest steel maker Baoshan Iron and Steel Co (Baosteel, 寶鋼) has delayed its 22.5 billion yuan (US$2.7 billion) share issue due to weakness in the country's struggling stock markets, state press said yesterday. Baosteel's offer would have been be the largest single issuance on domestic markets but with indices slumped at near six-year lows the decision was taken to delay the listing, board chairman Xie Qihua was quoted as saying by the China Securities News. Baosteel Group spokesman Meng Haibiao refused to confirm the report. The company was given the green light by regulators to issue an additional 5 billion shares last month as part of an expansion strategy to fund the acquisition of over a dozen affiliated firms from parent Shanghai Baosteel Group.

■ Automobiles

Chinese want MG Rover

A deal for Shanghai Auto to buy a majority stake in stricken British carmaker MG Rover is days away from completion and is being strongly backed by London, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown said during a three-day visit to China. British authorities were also willing to sweeten the deal with tax breaks for the loss-making firm, Brown told reporters in Shanghai. Brown said he had discussed the matter in Beijing with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) and Finance Minister Jin Renqing (金人慶).

■ Aviation

KL getting new terminal

A new terminal for low-cost airlines will be built at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in a move that will help budget carrier AirAsia, the government said yesterday. The terminal would cost 100 million ringgit (US$26 million), Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy told a news conference. "The building of a dedicated terminal will make sure an aircraft can make a turnaround time of 20 minutes," he said.

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