TRADE BRIEFS

TRADE BRIEFS

KOHL TO VISIT S. AFRICA

IN BID TO BOOST TIESChancellor Helmut Kohl will visit South Africa Saturday determined to offer German support for the country's new democratic path and boost economic ties, officials said Thursday.

His delegation will be bolstered by some of the biggest names in German industry, including Daimler-Benz Chairman Juergen Schrempp and Siemens Chairman Heinrich von Pierer.

Germany is South Africa's biggest trading partner and most of its investment there, estimated at around $1.7 billion, dates from before the reform process was in full force.

While big U.S. firms such as Coca Cola and IBM withdrew from South Africa during the apartheid era, many German businesses stayed on.

The two countries will sign an investment protection accord, as well as treaties on technical aid.

MCI JOINT VENTURE

LICENSED IN MEXICO

MEXICO CITY - Avantel SA, a joint venture between MCI Communications Corp. and Grupo Financiero Banamex-Accival is being awarded the first license to compete in the Mexican telecommunications market.

In a news release, MCI said Avantel expects to invest $600 million over the next three years to build and operate a 12,000-mile network of digital fiber- optic cables and advanced switching capable of voice, data and video communications.

The first phase will consist of 3,200 miles of cables connecting 33 cities in Mexico, with additional connections to the U.S.

Avantel expects to invest more than $1.8 billion over six years to build and operate its network.

The long-distance monopoly in Mexico held by Telefonos de Mexico SA expires in January 1997.

HURRICANE LUIS SPARES

US APPAREL COMPANIES

U.S. apparel companies escaped the wrath of Hurricane Luis this week as the storm headed out over the Atlantic after battering several small Caribbean tourist islands, including Antigua, St. Maarten and Guadaloupe.

The offshore assembly operations of most U.S. apparel companies that are in the Caribbean are based in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, sources said. While company officials took precautions to protect their buildings and many factories closed down by noon on Wednesday, production didn't suffer as employees returned on Thursday.

Sources said U.S. companies operating in Puerto Rico, closer to the storm than the Dominican Republic or Jamaica, also weren't hurt by the heavy rains and winds.

HITACHI TO PRODUCE

SUPERH CHIPS IN TEXAS

NEW YORK - Hitachi Ltd. will invest $400 million to construct a manufacturing line for its SuperH computer chips at its Hitachi Semiconductor (America) Inc. plant in Irving, Texas, the company said Thursday.

The Japanese electronics giant said it expects to add about 200 full-time jobs to the local community and about 400 temporary jobs during construction.

Construction is scheduled to begin in October and be completed in

December 1996.

The plant is set to start up in April 1997, with full production of 2 million chips a month in 1998.