EXPORT BRIEFS

EXPORT BRIEFS

WORMALD INTERNATIONAL,

TYCO SET MERGER DEALEXETER, N.H. - Tyco Laboratories Inc. said Tuesday it has agreed to acquire all of the operating assets of Australia's Wormald International Ltd. fire protection group in a cash and stock deal worth more than $590 million.

Tyco, based here, said the deal is priced at $350 million in cash and five million shares of Tyco, worth $243.8 million based on Tuesday morning's stock price of $48.75 a share.

The maker of fire protection systems said the merger will create the world's largest fire protection group.

Sydney, Australia-based Wormald is a worldwide fire protection and detection company, with substantial operations in North America.

JAPAN BUILDERS' GROUP

SEEKS US MEMBERS

TOKYO - A leading Japanese construction association is asking U.S. companies to join it and is making the process easier by relaxing its rules.

The Japan Federation of Construction Contractors Inc. will send a letter in early June to 12 U.S. builders to invite them to join, a federation spokesman said Tuesday.

Japan has been under pressure from abroad, especially the United States, to open its construction sector to foreign firms. The U.S. government also asked for easier access to information on Japan's construction industry at a bilateral meeting in early May.

SOVIET REFORM PACKAGE

DELAYED BY PARLIAMENT

MOSCOW - The Soviet parliament agreed Tuesday to Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov's request to delay a vote on government measures designed to turn the ailing economy into a free-market system.

Parliament approved the one-week delay without a vote after deputies rejected by a 312-44 vote a move by radicals for a vote of no-confidence in the government over the reforms.

A four-day debate on the reforms generated heated objections to the price rises and unleashed a wave of panic buying in major Soviet cities.

EC, JAPAN TO STUDY

KEY TRADE DISPUTES

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Japan and the European Community agreed to boost trade and political cooperation and to study ways of reducing their commercial imbalances, but failed to make progress toward resolving key trade disputes.

"We had good talks. We have managed to hammer out a starting point on resolving bilateral issues," European Foreign Relations Commissioner Frans Andriessen told a press conference after talks between the EC Commission and a senior Japanese delegation.

But he acknowledged that the discussions, the first in over 3 years, had not gone into details of sensitive problems such as Japanese car exports to the EC or a recent ruling by the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade against anti-dumping measures instituted by the EC against Japan.

EC SEEKS PROTECTION

FOR ITS CHIP DESIGNS

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Community Commission Monday proposed a measure that would allow EC companies to copy semiconductor designs of U.S. chip makers.

The proposal, pending approval by the EC's 12 member nations, would drop protection of chip designs from non-EC countries that do not legally protect designs made within the EC.

Currently, the EC protects a third country's chip designs even if that country does not protect EC semiconductor designs, but those interim measures will expire on Nov. 7.

NEW ZEALAND CLEARS

WAY FOR TELECOM BID

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - New Zealand's Commerce Commission gave Southwestern Bell Corp. clearance Tuesday to bid for the state-owned Telecom Corp.

Bids close on June 6 for Telecom, which the government hopes will raise at least A$3 billion (US$1.7 billion) in the biggest sale of New Zealand's privatization program so far.