BRIEFS

BRIEFS

USDA, CHINA OFFICIALS

TO ADDRESS WHEAT BANWASHINGTON - U.S. agriculture officials will discuss China's phytosanitary ban on some U.S. wheat imports when they meet with Chinese farm officials in Beijing in May, according to U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky.

Since 1974, China has banned wheat imports from the Pacific Northwest, where the TCK Smut wheat disease is known to occur.

In two weeks, USDA officials and Peter Scher, USTR's special ambassador for agriculture, will discuss the issue in Beijing, Ms. Barshefsky said.

Other ''bilateral disputes that have remained unresolved for too long'' will also be discussed, she added, including Chinese import bans on certain U.S. meat, stone fruit and citrus products.

EU WARNS US TIES HINGE

ON CUBA, IRAN LAWS

LUXEMBOURG - The European Union Monday warned the United States that the future development of its trade relations were conditional on a satisfactory resolution of the dispute over U.S. legislation aimed at curbing trade and investment in Cuba, Iran and Libya.

The warning came as EU foreign ministers agreed to step up efforts to end the row in time for British Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Clinton to sign off on it at an EU-U.S. summit in Birmingham, England, on May 18.

''Settling this issue is a precondition for developing trans-Atlantic trade,'' a spokesman for the EU's British presidency said after the talks.

''We have been very patient,'' he said. ''But we have made it clear that there are elements of this legislation which make it extremely difficult to conduct the kind of relationship we want to have with the United States.''

The European Union regards the U.S. legislation as a breach of international trade law.

CHINA STEEL FIRM EXPECTS

DEAL WITH THYSSEN KRUPP

HONG KONG - China-owned Angang New Steel Co. is expected to conclude a $180 million deal for a joint galvanized sheet plant venture with Thyssen Krupp Stahl by the end of the year, the firm said Monday.

''If we can reach consensus by the year end, the joint galvanized sheet plant is likely to begin operations in 2000,'' said Mu Shicheng, deputy chairman of the Hong Kong-listed company.

The joint venture would be owned 50-50 by the two firms, said Mr. Mu, adding that talks were proceeding.

''The annual capacity of the joint venture will total 300,000 metric tons and then the new plant will become one of the most important production lines of Angang New Steel,'' Mr. Mu said.

NY FED GOVERNOR:

CHINA FIRM ON YUAN

SEOUL - Gov. William McDonough of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Chinese officials, in a recent meeting, made it clear that the government will maintain the yuan at its current rate.

The governor made the comments as he wrapped up a brief visit to Korea, preceded by a stop-over in China.