BRIEFS

BRIEFS

FLORIDA SENDS DELEGATION

TO WIN LATIN DESIGNATIONMIAMI - Florida Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles will lead a business delegation to Costa Rica for next month's fourth Business Forum of the Americas, with an eye toward winning a special designation for the state.

The business forum on March 16-17 preceeds by two days the meeting of hemispheric trade ministers, who must hammer out a final negotiating structure for a Free Trade Area of the Americas.

That hemispheric effort will formally be launched April 18-19 in Santiago, Chile, at the second Summit of the Americas.

Mr. Chiles will lead the Team Florida mission with a twofold goal. He will try to solidify ties with Latin American and Caribbean leaders and businessmen, since both regions are the top trading partners for Florida. But he will also add his voice to those calling for Miami to be designated as the site for hemispheric negotiations and a secretariat.

MEXICAN-FRENCH TEAM

WINS GAS PERMIT RIGHTS

MEXICO CITY - A Mexican-French consortium has won the natural gas distribution permit for the northern region of border state Tamaulipas.

The group is formed by Gaz de France International (26 percent), Mexican construction firm Bufete Industrial Construcciones (49 percent) and Mexigas (25 percent), a Gaz de France Mexican affiliate.

The consortium presented an offer of an average rate of 0.954 cents per gigacalorie, and plans to reach 36,447 customers within five years, the Energy Regulatory Commission said.

The winners pledged to invest $21.5 million over the next five years. They will serve the border communities of Reynosa-Rio Bravo, Matamoros and Valle Hermoso.

TAIWAN AGREES TO GIVE

US ACCESS TO RICE MARKET

WASHINGTON - Taiwan has agreed to give limited access to its rice market to U.S. exporters, said an aide to Taiwan negotiators who have been in talks with their U.S. counterparts here since Feb. 9.

He said Taiwan Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Chih-Kang will sign the rice agreement, even if no other farm trade issues being discussed are solved in the present round of negotiations.