TRADE BRIEFS

TRADE BRIEFS

MEXICO INCREASES

TAX-EXEMPTION LIMITStarting in November, Mexicans living in border regions will be able to bring in more products from the United States tax-free.

Up to $400 worth of basic goods every month will be tax-exempt, the Finance Secretariat said.

Mexicans living in the special customs zone - within 28 kilometers (17.36 miles) of the border - now enjoy a $350 per month exemption on goods brought back from the United States.

The exemption applies to basic consumer goods such as food, clothing, footwear, personal and home hygiene products and medicines.

Many Mexican families regularly cross the U.S. border to shop. The exemption-limit increase could help U.S. retailers, but it is not clear that Mexican shoppers will take advantage of the change because the weak peso has made U.S. prices too high.

WEST BANK, GAZA STRIP

GET INCREASED FUNDING

PARIS - Donor countries provided $500 million to the autonomous Palestinian regions of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the first 10 months of 1995 compared with $250 million in 1994, the World Bank said Friday.

Meeting in Paris last week, donor country representatives also gave an early $300 million commitment toward the estimated $550 million needed for a list of so-far unfunded core projects.

The meeting of the World Bank's West Bank and Gaza Strip Consultative Group noted that new infrastructure projects were central for the regions' future economic prosperity.

Programs in housing and the social sectors would also be given high priority in the development strategy for the next three years.

The group agreed to support the Palestinian Authority's development

plans in promoting a private sector-led approach to improve housing.

FORD MOTOR CO. PLANS

FACTORY IN PORTUGAL

DEARBORN, Mich. - Ford Motor Co. plans to build its first European plant for auto air-conditioning compressors.

The automaker said it will invest more than $150 million to build a factory near its current facilities in Portugal, creating more than 200 jobs by 1998.

Construction of the plant will begin this year at Ford's Palmela complex in Setubal, where audio systems, air bag components and other parts are currently assembled.

Palmela is a Ford Automotive Components facility. It's located near the AutoEuropa assembly plant, jointly operated by Ford and Volkswagen AG.

Ford said the compressor plant was designed to meet rising demand in Europe for air conditioning in cars.

JERUSALEM CONFERENCE

ON BUSINESS SCHEDULED

The Jerusalem Business Conference will give companies from around the world a chance to tap into infrastructure and other business projects in the Middle East region.

Sponsored for the fourth year by the Israeli financial daily the Globe, the conference is expected to draw 4,000 people from the United States, Europe, the Middle East and other regions.

The three-day conference will be held Oct. 28-30 in Jerusalem and will include talks by government officials and business leaders from the region and other areas.

Conference organizers say some of the biggest opportunities are in the infrastructure sector as the region tries to expand its system of airports, highways, and railways and build new power plants and water supply projects.

CHINA OKS MORE FIRMS

FOR OVERSEAS LISTING

BEIJING - China's securities regulatory agency said the number of companies waiting for an overseas stock listing stands at 19 after government officials approved seven more.

The seven are China First Automotive Group Co., Shenzhen Highway Development Co., Anhui Huantong Highway Co., Shandong Xinhua Pharmaceutical Co., Tianjin Chinese Medicine Group Co., Guangdong Kelong Electronics Co. and Beijing Beida Fangzheng Group Co.

They are the third batch of Chinese companies to be approved for overseas listing. Nine approved in 1992 have listed and 10 of 22 approved in 1994 have listed, the agency said.