Canada, EU start FTA talks
Canadian International Trade Minister Stockwell Day and EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton formally launched Canada-EU free trade talks on Wednesday. Canada and the EU announced last month their intentions to sign a broad trade agreement within two years. The EU is Canada’s second-largest export market, after the US. Last year, two-way trade in goods and services between Canada and the EU totaled US$114.6 billion, up 6.2 percent from 2007. Canada-EU free trade in aerospace, chemicals, wood products, automotive vehicles and parts, agricultural products, transportation and other sectors is forecast to increase trade by about 20 percent.
Luanda costliest expat city
Angola’s capital Luanda has again been rated the most expensive city in the world for expatriate workers, followed by Tokyo, Nagoya, Yokohama and Kobe, said the Cost of Living Survey by ECA International published on Wednesday. The survey, however, said Maseru in the small mountain state of Lesotho was the cheapest. Oil-rich Angola has enjoyed an unprecedented economic boom since a 27-year civil war ended in 2002, which has attracted an influx of foreign workers. The country’s war-damaged industry and poor infrastructure means the bulk of food, construction materials and other goods have to be imported, driving up costs.
Craigslist ad revenue up
Advanced Interactive Media Group (AIM) is predicting that revenue at popular online classified ad Web site Craigslist will surge to US$100 million this year. San Francisco-based Craigslist does not disclose revenue figures, but AIM estimates it took in US$81 million last year and that the figure would jump more than 23 percent this year. Craigslist Web sites localized to communities around the world act, in part, as online notice boards where people can post messages on a range of topics including apartment rentals, items for sales and jobs.
Larsen & Toubro buys stake
Larsen & Toubro Ltd, India’s biggest engineering company, sold its 11.49 percent stake in UltraTech Cement Ltd for 10.37 billion rupees (US$219 million), or 725 rupees a share. Larsen sold 14.3 million shares, UltraTech said in an exchange filing. UltraTech shares fell as much as 5.6 percent to 720.50 rupees in Mumbai and traded at 727.15 rupees, down 4.7 percent. The cement maker is 50.7 percent owned by Aditya Birla Group’s Grasim Industries Ltd, its Web site said. Mumbai-based Larsen sold the shares in blocks to local and overseas financial investors and the Aditya Birla Group didn’t participate in the sale, its CFO said.
Ex-financial advisers sued
Bank of America Co’s Merrill Lynch sued three of its former financial advisers in Florida over claims they engaged in an “unlawful campaign” to solicit customers to a competitor. In violation of their employment agreements, advisers Peter Weitz and Steven Weitz resigned and Eugene Morgia was fired from the firm last month. All three, based in Coral Springs, Florida, joined Fusion Analytics Investment Partners, a complaint Merrill filed yesterday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale. In violation of their employment agreements, the advisers took “confidential information of hundreds of Merrill Lynch accounts” worth US$130 million in an attempt to move the accounts to Fusion.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations