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More agri reform in EU

MUCH more effort is required to implement agricultural reform in the European Union, according to Trade Minister Mark Vaile.

Commenting on the revised proposals on the mid-term review of the Common Agricultural Policy, Mr Vaile said he was pleased with suggestions to separate payments from production quantities, and supported the reduction in farm-payments.

“Although the proposal is not a major advance over the July 2002 draft, we are encouraged that the commission has maintained a level of ambition for reform,” he said.

The proposals will form the backdrop to Europe’s approach to negotiating agricultural reform at the World Trade Organisation.

Newton with AACCI

THE Australian Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA Chapter has appointed the Western Australian International Business Office, run by chamber executive officer Marilyn Newton, to take over the full secretariat and documentation stamping facility from this week.

The chamber has 400 members nationally. Growth in each State has averaged between 7 per cent and 9 per cent annually. In WA, growth last year was 54.7 per cent.

According to the chamber’s national annual report, documentation and certification fees represent the largest revenue contribution. In the 2001-02 year, the chamber collected $250,180 of these fees, up from $216,000 the previous year, on total revenue of $432,584.

BHP China exemption

CHINA has decided to exempt BHP Steel’s Zincalume and Clean Colorbond steel from measures that restricted access to the Chinese market.

BHP Steel will be allowed to increase its volume of painted steel exports to China from 60,000 tonnes in 2002 to an expected 100,000t in 2003.

Trade Minister Mark Vaile said the decision assured the future of BHP Steel business in China. BHP is developing two new production facilities in Beijing and Chengdu to complement existing plants in Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Philippine budget woes

THE Philippines Government recently announced a record blow-out in the budget. It has revised the 2002 budget deficit at 213 billion pesos, or about 5.4 per cent of gross domestic product, compared with its initial target of a PHP 130 billion deficit for 2002. This, in turn, has increased the public sector debt burden, which now stands at well over 80 per cent of GDP.

The Export Finance and Insurance Corporation says the sizeable fiscal deficit and the growing debt burden leave the economy vulnerable to an adverse swing in investor confidence.

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