JAPANESE WHISKEY ROW
TO BE REFERRED TO WTOThe European Union, the United States and Canada have informed Japan they will ask the World Trade Organization to set up a panel to resolve disputes over liquor taxes in Japan, the Kyodo news service reported finance ministry officials as saying Monday.
The disputes center on the Western demand that Japan revise its liquor-tax law to correct a gap in the tax rates between shochu, a Japanese distilled spirit, and whiskey.
The EU, the United States and Canada had complained to the WTO that the high levy on whiskey impedes exports to Japan. Bilateral talks have failed to resolve the matter.
Under WTO rules, if a trade dispute is not solved in bilateral talks, a request may be made to create a dispute-settlement panel.
The WTO is expected to set up the panel in a meeting scheduled for Sept. 27.
PHILIPPINE LEADER SLAMS
EU EXPORT DIRECTIVE
MANILA, Philippines - President Fidel Ramos denounced a European Union directive that would restrict the Philippines' food exports to Europe, and said Manila would rally its Southeast Asian allies to fight the measure.
Mr. Ramos said the directive, issued in June 1993, would require all foodstuffs in liquid, granular or powder form to be transported to the EU only in containers used exclusively to carry such cargo.
"The Philippine government considers this directive to be unfair, unjustified and unnecessary since it imposes stricter measures than those prescribed in existing international standards for transport . . . ," Mr. Ramos said in a statement Sept. 13.
He said the directive would hurt the country's food exports to Europe, which has bought 40 percent of the Philippines' coconut oil exports in the past five years.
LOANS TO HELP RESCUE
VIETNAM TRADING FIRM
HANOI, Vietnam - Authorities are trying to rescue one of Vietnam's biggest state-run companies from crippling debts, despite an official policy of reducing state sector enterprises' dependence on government support.
The Vietnam Bank for Foreign Trade and the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City plans to provide the equivalent of $20 million to Imexco, the city's largest trading company, to help it cover a cash shortfall and avoid bankruptcy. Imexco amassed $59 million in debts while doing business with the committee's full approval, the Saigon Newsreader reported.
NISSAN TO INCREASE
ITS INVESTMENT IN UK
LONDON - Japanese carmaker Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. said Monday it will invest another UK250 million ($387 million) at its plant in Sunderland, in northeast England.
The spending is for its new Primera mid-size model, to be launched in summer 1996.
The investment will increase the company's total commitment in Britain to UK1.25 billion.
Nissan will build a plant for robot welding of rear axles and assembly of diesel engines. The engines will be produced beginning in 1997 and will include a high level of European components, Nissan said.
Design and development of the new Primera is being completed at technical centers in Britain and Belgium. It will go on sale after the Paris motor show in fall of 1996.
It will be the fourth model produced at Sunderland. Nissan employs about 5,500 people in Britain.
JAPANESE WHISKEY ROW