TRADE BRIEFS

TRADE BRIEFS

MEXICAN EXPORTS RISE,

ECONOMY SHRINKS

MEXICO CITY - The Mexican economy shrank 5.8 percent in the first six months after a peso devaluation sent the nation into an economic tailspin, according to government data released late Tuesday night.

In a Tuesday report to the Mexican legislature, the Finance Ministry did, however, hold out optimism that the worst of the recession was over.

The cheaper peso did boost exports, which rose 32.8 percent over the same period last year. Imports, principally from the United States, dropped 6.5 percent, in part because of increased purchases of intermediate goods Mexican manufacturers use to make products for export.

Consumer prices increased 32.9 percent over the first six months of 1994.

Mexico enjoyed a $3.09 billion trade surplus in the first half of 1995, compared with a $5.85 billion deficit in the comparable period last year.

CUBA SEEKS STRONGER

TIES WITH NEIGHBORS

HAVANA - Cuba plans to open an embassy in the Caribbean state of Trinidad and Tobago as part of a policy to strengthen ties with its Caribbean neighbors, Foreign Trade Minister Ricardo Cabrisas said Tuesday.

Mr. Cabrisas, quoted by the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina from the Trinidadian capital Port of Spain, said he had discussed Cuba's intention to open a mission with Gordon Draper, Trinidad and Tobago's foreign minister.

The Cuban minister also talked with Trinidad and Tobago's Industry and Trade Minister, Kenneth Valley, and invited him to attend an international trade fair in Havana this year.

Since the collapse of its trade and aid ties with the former Soviet bloc, Cuba has made it a foreign policy priority to strengthen political and trade ties in the Caribbean.

INDONESIA RELEASES

KEY POLITICAL PRISONERS

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Indonesia marked 50 years of independence Wednesday by freeing its top three political prisoners after decades in jail.

The government said it also plans to rehabilitate 1.3 million former political prisoners jailed since the failed 1965 coup attempt that led to 300,000 deaths and brought President Suharto to power.

The prisoners freed Wednesday, elderly former top officials in the regime of President Sukarno, were jailed by a military tribunal in 1966 for their alleged role in the coup attempt.

Suharto, a former general who seized power from Sukarno that year, ordered them freed on "humanitarian grounds" in time for Thursday's celebration of the end of 350 years of Dutch colonial rule.

SARA LEE PURCHASES

COMPANY IN URUGUAY

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay - Sara Lee Corp. purchased Nuvo, an Uruguayan company that sells $23 million a year worth of cosmetics and ladies apparel.

The sales price was not disclosed.

Nuvo sells cosmetics, women's clothing, home products and toys. The company, which has grown by 40 percent in the past two years, has 200 employees and nearly 10,000 independent salesmen.

SIEMENS IN CHINESE

AUTOMOBILE VENTURE

SHANGHAI, China - Officials said Siemens AG of Germany has tied up with Dongfeng Motor Corp. to set up Shanghai Siemens Automobile Motor Co. in the city's Pudong development area.

With total investment of $14 million, the joint venture will produce automobile micro motors.