It means that Hynix's Dram (Dynamic Random Access
Memory) chips will face extra tariffs of 44.7%, while importers of
Vietnamese catfish must pay a further 64%.Vietnamese-farmed fish has
captured a fifth of the US market for catfish fillets.
US catfish producers had complained that Vietnamese
farmed catfish fillets were being dumped on the US market at unfair
prices.The dispute is the most serious between the US and Vietnam since
the two former enemies normalised trade relations two years ago.
The USTIC upheld its earlier finding that the South
Korean government had unfairly subsidised Hynix's Dram — or Dynamic
Random Access Memory — chips.Defending Hynix, the South Korea Commerce
Ministry said: "It is unfair to hold Hynix responsible for the falls
in Dram prices, which were caused by a global market slump."
But rival US chipmaker Micron Technology, whose
takeover offer Hynix rejected in April 2002, has welcomed the
decision.Hynix was teetering on the verge of collapse when it turned down
Micro's takeover but was later bailed out by an alliance of South Korean
CALIFORNIA'S DEBT 'NEARLY JUNK'
The California's state debt has been downgraded to two
points above junk status by US credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's
(S&P).S&P slashed its rating on California's $27bn of debts as
Republicans succeeded in forcing a vote on 7 October on whether Democrat
governor Gray Davis should keep his job.
California, the richest state in the US, faces economic
turmoil unless it can pass a state budget.S&P managing director Steve
Zimmerman said: "This recall election just makes it more difficult to
focus on the job in hand."
"Today's S&P downgrade is our latest and
loudest wake-up call," Governor Davis said, urging lawmakers to
"pass a budget and pass it quickly".
The cut in California's credit rating — from A to
triple B — twists the screw on its economic woes as it is likely to make
it harder for the state to borrow money to cover the cost of services and
salaries to tide it over its budget crisis.
California has become less affluent since the collapse
of the dotcom boom in the late 1990s, though its economy remains roughly
the same size as the UK's.
Mr Davis has drawn strong criticism for California's
economic problems.California has a $38bn (£22.8bn) budget deficit, equal
to one-third of total state spending. Lawmakers are deadlocked over how to
"This will take us years to dig out from...this is
a very sad day for the state of California," the Wall Street Journal
quoted California state controller Steve Westly as saying.It is only the
second time in 47 years that S&P has rated a US state's debt so low,
the Journal said. Massachusetts also got a triple BBB ranking in the early
BIG MAJORITY FOR UK RATE CUT
The Bank of England's monetary policy committee (MPC)
voted by an eight to one majority in favour of cutting rates earlier this
month, the minutes of its latest meeting have shown.
The minutes show that the MPC came close to unanimity
on the need to cut borrowing costs in July, after voting by a slender
majority to leave rates on hold in each of the two previous months.
The eight MPC members who backed a rate cut did so
because of concerns about sustained weakness in the world economy, and the
knock-on effects this could have on the UK.
The sole dissenter was the Bank's new deputy director
for monetary policy, Rachel Lomax, who voted for no change because she saw
the outlook for the British economy as "benign."
It was Ms Lomax's first appearance at the MPC's monthly
rate-setting meeting, and the first MPC vote since Mervyn King succeeded
Sir Edward George as Bank of England governor.
UK INDUSTRY 'STILL SUFFERING'
The end of the Iraq war and a weaker pound have not
helped business pick up for British manufacturers, a survey has suggested.
Orders fell faster than expected over the past three
months and output is weak, a quarterly survey by employers' group the CBI
"Optimism is shown to have increased but it's hard
to see what manufacturers are optimistic about when orders are still
falling at a fast rate," economist Paul Dales from Data Response told
BBC News Online.
Of the almost 900 companies polled, 38% reported a fall
in domestic orders while just 14% saw a rise — which are worse figures
than in the last survey, in April.Export orders fell at their fastest pace
in 18 months — despite a weakening pound — as the slowdown in the
global economy continued.
TAIWAN TO BEAT GROWTH FORECASTS
Taiwan's economic growth will now beat original
forecasts for this year as the impact of the Sars virus declines,
according to the leading economic forecaster.The Taiwan Institute of
Economic Research (TIER) raised its growth forecast for 2003 to 3.53% from
the 3.02% it projected in April.
It said domestic demand had been increasing since the
Sars virus had been brought under control and more importantly, that
government spending was now also rising.The Sars epidemic, particularly
acute during April and May, killed 84 people in Taiwan.
But the Taiwanese economy also depends heavily on
factories in mainland China and regular travel by business people to visit
them, both of which were severely affected by Sars.
UK PLUNGES £10BN INTO RED IN JUNE
The UK's public finances were £10.1bn in the red last
month, the worst June figure on record, official data show.
The public sector net cash requirement — the
difference between government spending and receipts — was also the worst
since March's £10.9bn shortfall.And it gave a deficit of £16.1bn for the
first three months of the tax year compared with £7.1bn a year earlier.
The deterioration in public finances has come as
government spending surges despite lower tax receipts.
FRENCH PARLIAMENT BACKS PENSION REFORMS
The parliament in France has passed a controversial
plan to reform the pension system that provoked a wave of recent strikes
The law, which increases the number of years public
sector employees must work to earn a full pension, was ratified by the
upper house or Senate, soon after being passed by the National Assembly.In
the National Assembly, 393 MPs voted in favour and 152 against.
BOEING PUNISHED FOR SPYING
The US Air Force has punished Boeing for resorting to
industrial espionage in order to better its defence rival Lockheed
Martin.The Pentagon has barred Boeing from future rocket work and revoked
$1bn worth of contracts which will be re-assigned to Lockheed Martin.
But it stopped short of banning all Boeing business
units from being awarded government contracts.Lockheed Martin sued Boeing
for acquiring about 25,000 confidential documents during a 1998 contract
That stolen information is thought to have helped
Boeing win 21 of the 28 tendered military satellite launches, part of the
Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) programme.
Online auction site eBay has enjoyed a surge in
profits, making more than $100m (£61.9m) in just three months.
A South African investment firm established to promote
black ownership has signed a deal with leading platinum producer Anglo
American Platinum to develop an area in the north-east of the country.
Under the deal, Khumama Platinum will gain a 50% stake in the Booysendal
project near Johannesburg.
AIDS 'ECONOMIC CATASTROPHE' LOOMS
The economic impact of HIV/Aids may be far worse than
previously thought and some African countries may face complete collapse,
a report has warned.
The study, jointly authored by economists from
Heidelberg University and the World Bank, models the impact of the virus
in various scenarios.
In South Africa, one of the countries worst affected by
HIV/Aids, a failure to fight the disease will cause incomes at least to
halve over the next three generations, the study predicts.
By 2080, full-time child labour will be ubiquitous,
with an inescapable descent into economic "backwardness" a
NETWORK RAIL NEEDS TO 'SAVE £2BN'
Network Rail needs to save £2 billion a year, the Rail
Regulator says.In a report published last week, the regulator Tom Winsor
said he wanted the company to spend less public money.
He proposes that Network Rail postpones improvements to
track on the west coast main line between London and Glasgow.There are
plans to spend £10bn on the west coast line, with work already begun to
make trains faster, cutting journey times.
SWISS BANKS FREEZE LIBERIA FUNDS
Swiss authorities have frozen bank accounts worth $1.5m
belonging to two associates of the Liberian leader, Charles Taylor.The
account holders and banks in Zurich and Geneva were not named — in
accordance with Swiss custom.
Officials from the Swiss Justice Ministry said no bank
accounts held directly by Mr Taylor have so far been discovered.The Swiss
authorities agreed to freeze accounts linked to the Liberian president
following a request by the United Nations-backed war crimes court in
Sierra Leone last month.
SONY PROFITS PLUNGE 98%
Japanese consumer electronics giant reported slumping
sales and profits for the three months to end-June.Sony said restructuring
costs were behind the 98% plunge in net profits to 1.1bn yen ($9.3m;
£5.8m) when compared with the same period of 2002.
CHIPMAKER PROFITS DISAPPOINT
STMicroelectronics, Europe's biggest chipmaker, has
reported a sharp fall in profits in the past three months, blaming pricing
The group said profits fell to $79.5m or 9 cents per
share for the second quarter of the year, down from $104.7m or 12 cents
per share a year before.
WORLD BANK PLEDGES KENYA AID
The World Bank has promised to restart lending to Kenya
after its president praised the country's renewed fight against
The Bank — and its sister body, the International
Monetary Fund — cut off the flow of money in 2001, after what it saw as
the refusal by the then government to take action against Kenya's
But after talks with President Mwai Kibaki, whose
National Rainbow Coalition government won a landslide election in December
2002, World Bank President James Wolfensohn said things had changed.
MEXICAN JOBLESS RATE SOARS
Mexico's jobless rate shot up in June to its worst
level in nearly five years, as the effects of the stubborn slowdown in its
massive northern neighbour hammered its economy.According to the
government, the base unemployment rate in June was 3.17%, up from 2.72% in
May and 2.39% in June 2002.
IMF IN ZAMBIA CRISIS TALKS
The Zambian Government and the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) have begun a week of talks, aimed at resolving a month-long
stand-off over fiscal policy.The IMF in June suspended a $100m (£63m)
poverty-reduction credit after Zambia unveiled an unexpected and
unexplained $125m budget deficit.
The Fund is concerned that Zambia's external position
could become unsustainable, given its $6.8bn of foreign debt.Without a
reconciliation with the IMF, Zambia will find it hard to keep on terms
with international lenders, many of which see the Fund as a benchmark.
BOEING FLIES IN $192M LOSS
Boeing, the US aviation giant, has reported a loss of
$192m (£119m) for the April-to-June period.
SK STRIFE SPREADS TO TELECOMS
South Korea's biggest mobile phone operator saw its
value slump by one eighth after a share deal embroiled it in a
long-running scandal.The deal saw SK Telecom spend 332.5bn won ($281m;
£176m) on 2.73% of the country's top steelmaker, Posco.
SEGA PLAN TO DOUBLE SALES
Sega, the games maker which crashed out of the hardware
market two years ago, has entered its second year in the black with a
bullish promise to double sales by 2008.
WEAK DOLLAR HITS GSK SALES
Europe's biggest pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline
has turned in weaker than expected sales, blaming a decline in the value
of the dollar against the pound.
The UK drugs firm said revenues for the three months to
late June came in at £5.3bn ($8.6bn), down by 1% on the same period last
year, and short of the £5.4bn forecast by analysts.
CZECHS MULL TOUGH TAX REFORMS
Cech lawmakers are voting on a complex and
controversial package of tax reforms, which aim to dig the government out
of its current fiscal difficulties.The government has proposed cutting
spending, raising some indirect and personal taxes, lowering profit taxes,
and closing many loopholes in an effort to reduce the state budget deficit
to 4% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2006.
This year, after strong increases in expenditure in the
past few years, the deficit is likely to hit 7% — more than twice the
level expected by the European Union (EU), which the Czech Republic is to
join in 2004.