TRADE BRIEFS

TRADE BRIEFS

CANADA'S TRADE SURPLUS

WAS HALVED IN AUGUSTCanada's merchandise trade surplus was cut in half in August as imports rose to a record level, the government said Friday.

The surplus shrank to US$450 million from $990 million in July, against analysts' expectations of a surplus of around $830 million. It was the lowest monthly surplus since July 1992, the government agency Statistics Canada said.

However, during the first eight months of the year the surplus remained strong at $5.82 billion, up almost two-thirds from $3.58 billion in the same period in 1992.

JAPANESE DROP PROJECT

FOR UNIVERSITY IN VA.

LEESBURG, Va. - The Japanese investors backing an ambitious plan for a large international university in Loudoun County, Va., defaulted on a $4.6 million mortgage and walked away from the project.

The university's Japanese backers included many prominent political and business leaders who were tarred by that country's recent real estate and bribery scandals. Among them were flamboyant developer Harunori Takahashi, dubbed by the Japanese press as the Donald Trump of Japan, who has seen his empire crumble under a load of debt.

Another investor, former labor minister Toshio Yamaguchi, has been implicated in a real estate stock scandal.

The investor group has signed away control of its site at Lansdowne, a huge commercial and residential project under construction.

JAPAN MOVES TOWARD

OLDER RETIREMENT AGE

TOKYO - Japan's Ministry of Labor has asked the employment council, an advisory body to the labor minister, to consider raising the recommended retirement age to 65 years, a ministry official said.

The ministry plans to revise the Senior Citizens Basic Employment Stability Law to enable employees to work until the age of 65, the official said.

The panel wants to submit a report by the end of 1993.