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Fri, Jun 03, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Beef
Japan might raise tariffs

Australia's drive to sell more beef to Japan amid a ban on US imports could be the victim of its own success as Tokyo may be forced to hike tariffs, an official and a report said yesterday. The Asahi Shimbun, quoting an anonymous senior agriculture ministry official, said Japan will automatically raise tariffs on chilled beef imports from all countries' from the current 38.5 percent to 50 percent from August if imports for the three months to June show year-on-year growth larger than 17 percent. The figures show the trend is intact. The taxes would go up if Japanese imports of beef hit 61,468 tonnes for the three-month period.

■ Insurance

AIG withdraws China bid

US insurer AIG has withdrawn an application to add group insurance to its business in China because its Hong Kong agents violated rules by selling policies to mainland Chinese customers, the company said in a filing with US stock regulators. Foreign insurers are banned from selling insurance to visiting mainland Chinese citizens in Hong Kong, but it is reportedly a common practice. AIG Inc said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it needs to resolve "regulatory issues" before seeking approval to sell group insurance in China. AIG said it pulled its application in March.

■ Telecoms

New firms to enter market

Japan's government is set to allow new entrants into the cellular phone service market for the first time in 12 years, a report said. The communications ministry will give priority to newcomers when it allocates frequency spectrum for third-generation cellphones later this year, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported without citing sources. The move would pave the way for those companies to start providing services as early as the year starting April next year, the business daily said, adding Japanese Internet investor Softbank Corp was among candidates. Three companies currently provide mobile phone service in Japan are NTT DoCoMo Inc, Vodafone KK, and KDDI Corp, which offers services under the au and Tu-Ka brands.

■ Auto industry

GM to produce mini-cars

General Motors Corp said yesterday that its joint venture in China has agreed to take over a disused automobile plant in Qingdao to increase production of mini-cars. The SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co (上汽通用五菱汽車) joint venture will purchase Etsong (Qingdao) Vehicle Manufacturing Co (頤中青島運輸車輛製造), which ceased production several years ago, with operations due to begin in the second half of this year, GM said in a statement. The new plant will have an annual production capacity of 60,000 to 70,000 units, it said. The new company will be called SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Qingdao Branch Co and will be a wholly owned subsidiary of SAIC-GM-Wuling, it said.

■ Aircraft

Boeing to buy from China

Boeing Co said yesterday said it will buy US$600 million worth of aircraft parts from China in years to come, including some parts for its new 787 Dreamliner. The purchases will be spread out over more than a decade; one of the contracts will run until 2021, Boeing officials said. Over the last 30 years, Boeing has bought US$550 million of parts from China. Parts to be sourced in China include vertical fin rudders, doors and flight decks.

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