TRADE BRIEFS

TRADE BRIEFS

JAPANESE CAR EXPORTS

PLUMMET IN FIRST HALF

TOKYO - Japan's vehicle exports in fiscal 1993's first half plunged by the biggest rate - 11.7 percent - for any April-September period since World War II, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said.

Exports in the period totaled 2.41 million vehicles, it said.

The sharpest previous first-half decline since the association began compiling statistics after 1945 was 7.4 percent in April-September 1987, when 3.25 million vehicles were exported, said an association official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He attributed the latest decline to a slump in the U.S. and European markets and an increase in production abroad by Japanese auto makers.

UK, CHINA TO DISCUSS

HONG KONG'S FUTURE

HONG KONG - The United Kingdom and China will meet Nov. 19-20 in Beijing for the sixteenth round of talks on Hong Kong's political future, the U.K. embassy in Beijing said in a statement.

The latest round ended in Beijing Thursday, with little progress reported. The U.K.-China negotiations are aimed at resolving a row over Hong Kong Gov. Chris Patten's plans to expand democratic representation in the colony before legislative elections in 1994-95.

Mr. Patten will meet with senior U.K. leaders Nov. 8-13. to discuss alternatives should the talks break down, according to press reports.

ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL

JOINS VENTURE IN CHINA

TROY, Mich., - Rockwell International Corp. said it formed a joint venture in China to develop and produce door systems and other products for cars.

Rockwell formed the venture with Zhenjiang General Equipment Factory to manufacture window regulators, door latches, hand brakes and other products for the emerging Chinese passenger car market.

Rockwell, the majority partner in the venture, will provide specialized technology, processing equipment, quality systems, management and technical expertise, as well as some investment capital.

NISSAN TO SPEED UP

ITS 5,000-WORKER CUT

TOKYO - Japan's motor giant Nissan Motor Co. said it will speed up a restructuring plan after reporting a first half-year current earnings loss of 28.93 billion yen (US$267 million).

Nissan will now cut its workforce by 5,000 within two years and will slash production costs even further, one senior official said. He gave no further details.

Nissan planned to shed 5,000 workers within three years under its original restructuring and suspend production at one of its domestic plants in 1995, reducing the number of assembly factories to four.

PYRAMID SCHEMES

PLAGUING ROMANIA

BUCHAREST, Romania - A pyramid investment craze has snowballed in Romania during the past week, despite warnings that a financial crisis may strike if the scheme crumbles and that shadowy nationalists are behind the scheme.

The trailblazer, a maverick company called Caritas in the Transylvanian city Cluj, opened a new branch at Petrosani in west Romania and local journalists said thousands of miners queued on Thursday to deposit funds.

Official and unofficial estimates say more than 4 million Romanians have millions of dollars worth, or more than half the nation's private savings, tied up in Caritas-style rackets.

The schemes - dozens have sprouted since July - return to depositors high multiples of their initial deposits, in some cases more than 10 times the invested sums, after just months.

INDONESIA EXPORT DRIVE

PAYING OFF, ANALYSTS SAY

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Indonesia on Friday lured overseas importers to exhibition halls lined with products ranging from grandfather clocks and helicopters to prefabricated log cabins in an export drive analysts said is paying off.

The Merchandise and Commodity Show will run for a week.

Long anxious to reduce its dependence on dwindling supplies of oil and gas, Indonesia has turned to manufacturing and commodities to sustain growth. Officials say it will remain the cornerstone of next year's new 25-year plan.

Non-oil and gas exports, which claimed only 20 percent of total export

revenues in 1982, accounted for nearly 70 percent last year, government figures show. A rash of government incentives and deregulatory measures has maintained the trend.