BRIEFS

BRIEFS

BRITISH MPS: EU BIASED

AGAINST LIFTING BEEF BANLONDON - British members of Parliament Tuesday accused European nations of maintaining a ban on British beef imports for their own commercial interests.

Parliament's agriculture committee said scientific assessments on the safety of British beef were taking second place in the European Union to political and other considerations.

''The history of the BSE (mad cow disease) crisis has shown the integrity of scientific assessment of the safety of British beef undermined time and again by political and commercial considerations in other EU member states,'' the committee said in a report.

CHIHUAHUA FORD WORKERS

WIN 19 PERCENT WAGE BOOST

MEXICO CITY - Some 1,000 workers at Ford Motor Co.'s plant in the northern state of Chihuahua received a 19 percent wage increase retroactive to Feb. 1, the Labor Secretariat said in a statement.

Ford is the second vehicle manufacturer, after Consorcio Dina, a truck and bus maker, to negotiate a new contract with the union this year. Dina workers also got a 19 percent wage hike.

Last April, the Chihuahua plant workers had a three-day strike to demand profit sharing, which the company had denied.

The Chihuahua motor plant is one of three plants Ford has nationwide.

The largest of the three is in Cuatitlan, state of Mexico, and another is in the city of Hermosillo, in the northern state of Sonora. Both of them do auto assembly.

IMF: ASIAN CRISIS TO SAP

LATIN GROWTH BY 1 PERCENT

QUITO, Ecuador - Asia's financial crisis will slow Latin America's growth this year by about 1 percent, said the International Monetary Fund's director of the Western Hemisphere department, Claudio Loser.

''We see growth in the region this year at about 3.5 percent to 4 percent,'' Mr. Loser told reporters at an Andean Community conference here. ''That's compared to the 5 percent and more growth we saw in 1997.''

Mr. Loser said Asia's problems had already had an effect on capital flows to Latin America and are likely to have a negative effect on trade in coming months.

CLINTON TO VISIT CHILE,

ATTEND AMERICAS SUMMIT

WASHINGTON - President Clinton will travel to Chile in April for a state visit and to attend the Summit of the Americas with heads of state and government from 34 Western Hemisphere democracies.

The White House announced Mr. Clinton will be in Santiago on April 16-20.

The summit meeting will address major regional issues, including education, economic integration, ways to strengthen democracy, and measures to combat poverty.

The first such gathering of the region's democracies was held in Miami in December 1994.

CUBA HAILS FISH EXPORTS

BUT UNPAID DEBTS QUERIED

HAVANA - Cuba's state-run fishing sector has more than doubled its earnings in the last four years, to $200 million, and is seeking to expand its export markets in Europe and the Far East, official Cuban newspapers reported.

But some foreign diplomats and businessmen in Havana gave a slightly different picture of the Cuban fishing sector, saying that companies under its responsibility had been notoriously and inexplicably slow in paying back debts to foreign suppliers totaling several million dollars.

MAN ACCUSED OF SEEKING

MISSILE PARTS FOR IRAN

NEWARK, N.J. - An aviation vendor tried to sell Iran about 20 batteries for long-range missiles used by its fighter jets, federal authorities said.

Daniel Malloy planned to buy the batteries from their U.S. manufacturer in Missouri, then export them to an ally in Singapore, who was to send them to Iran, according to a complaint filed by the U.S. Customs Service that was unsealed Tuesday.

The batteries, which are specifically for the AIM-54 Phoenix missile used only on F-14A Tomcat fighter jets, require a military export license from the State Department, which does not allow such products to go to Iran.

Mr. Malloy, 40, president and owner of International Helicopter Inc. of Northvale, was arrested Monday.

Prosecutors asked that he be held without bond, saying he poses a risk of flight and danger to the community.