TRADE BRIEFS

TRADE BRIEFS

US UNSURE OF RESPONSE

TO JAPAN SOFTWARE PLAN

WASHINGTON - The United States is still undecided whether it will complain about a Japanese proposal to register all imports that contain computer software, U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor said Tuesday.

Mr. Kantor told reporters his office is still examining a complaint from the American Electronics Association.

AEA is angered that Japan in October wants to force all foreign companies that sell products in Japan containing software to register with the Japan Accreditation Board.

Japanese officials said the measure will improve the quality of Japanese software sold in the country.

However, U.S. computer game, computer chip and aircraft officials said the measure is unnecessary and would give Japanese firms an unfair market advantage. It could also raise the cost of software development by 20 percent and give the Japanese access to U.S. technological secrets, AEA members said.

FOREIGN BANK BRANCH

OPENS IN BEIJING

BEIJING - China's capital city opened to foreign bank branches on Tuesday when Beijing Mayor Li Qiyan cut the ribbon for Japan's Bank of Tokyo, 40 years after China's rulers threw out all overseas capitalists.

China's central bank, the People's Bank of China, relaxed restrictions on foreign bank branches in inland cities last year, inviting applications to set up in the capital for the first time since Beijing's communist rulers expelled foreign capitalists in the 1950s.

The Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corp. plans to revive in early August the branch it operated in Beijing from 1885 to 1955, chief representative Maurice Lee said.

The central bank said in May that it had approved a first batch of four foreign pioneer banks. The other two are Citicorp's Citibank NA, and Compagnie de Suez's Banque Indosuez.

KUWAITI CAMEL-SKINNERS

STIR ANIMAL-RIGHTS FUROR

KUWAIT - Traders skinning camels alive at a Kuwaiti market may be prosecuted for cruelty, an animal-rights group said in remarks published on Tuesday.

Salah al-Hashem, a lawyer for Animal Rescue Kuwait, said he had asked Attorney General Mohammad al-Banai to prosecute the workers for violating a ban on cruelty to animals, the English-language Arab Times reported.

Al-Qabas newspaper last week published photographs of traders peeling skin off live camels at a livestock market in Kuwait's Shweikh district.

The Arab Times said the al-Qabas photographer, Mohammad Qamiha, had agreed to testify in any court action.