TRADE BRIEFS

TRADE BRIEFS

2 CURRENCY EXCHANGES

OPEN DOORS IN CUBACuba opened its first two foreign exchange houses offering hard currency transactions and credit card services, banking officials said Wednesday.

The exchange houses will buy and sell foreign currencies for U.S.

dollars, the officials told the Cuban domestic news agency AIN. They will also cash travelers' checks and process cash withdrawals by holders of Visa and Mastercard, the only two credit cards accepted in Cuba.

Credit card withdrawals can be made only from bank accounts outside the United States because of the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba that bans trade or financial transactions with the communist-ruled Caribbean island.

Cubans were allowed to use dollars for the first time in late 1993, a move that increased the turnover of hard currency shops to about $1 billion a year.

KIA MOTORS UNIT PLANS

TO BUILD BRAZIL PLANT

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - The Brazilian subsidiary of Kia Motors Corp. of South Korea confirmed Wednesday its plans to build an assembly line in Brazil.

The initial investment is estimated at $100 million and is to reach $500 million in five years, Luiz Augusto Landi, Kia Motors official, told Kyodo News Service.

The Brazilian plant is to assemble 40,000 vehicles in the first year of operation, Mr. Landi estimated.

Kia Motors will assemble Besta vans, Ceres pickups and K-2400 trucks, he said.

Kia Motors eyes supplying vehicles to Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, which, together with Brazil, make up the Mercosur free-trade zone.

INDIAN STATE LEADER

PLANS TO VISIT US

NEW YORK - Chief Minister Hiteswar Saikia of the northeastern Indian state of Assam is planning to visit the United States later this fall to seek investment in the state's gas and coal-based projects, infrastructure, communications, agroindustry and tourism.

Rich in resources, but troubled by ethnic strife, Assam hopes to broaden its industrial base, which is now heavily dependent on tea and petroleum.

The government believes it has brought public security under greater control, and is willing to offer incentives, especially in the energy and petrochemicals sectors. Mr. Saikia's visit is slated for the third week of October.

The most promising areas for U.S. investment, according to Indian sources, are gas and coal-based projects, road and bridge construction, inland waterways, hydroelectric power, urban infrastructure, food processing, mining and telecommunications.

CHINA PLEDGES $7 BILLION

TO ELECTRONICS SECTOR

BEIJING - China's electronics industry has so far been promised $7 billion of foreign investment and actually used more than $4 billion, the Ministry of Electronics Industry said Thursday.

It projects electronics exports will be some $13 billion in 1995, an increase of 30 percent on a year earlier, with imports showing similar growth to $15 billion.