|B U S I N E S S||
Thursday, August 19, 1999
|G-15 nations oppose non-trade
BANGALORE, Aug 18 The G-15 developing nations today unanimously opposed attempts by industrialised nations to erect non-trade barriers under the garb of new trade issues and resolved to press for eliminating implementation delays in the existing WTO agreements
MOSCOW : Airfield crew pulls a World War II Po-2 biplane at the international MAKS-99 air show outside Moscow, Tuesday. Over 300 Russian firms set up booths at the air show, and were joined by dozens of companies from 28 other countries. AP/PTI
ICICI forays into housing finance
Aptech enter into market truce
Bains removed from 3 companies
farmers succumb to gold glitter
orders refund of payments
G-15 nations oppose non-trade barriers
BANGALORE, Aug 18 (PTI) The G-15 developing nations today unanimously opposed attempts by industrialised nations to erect non-trade barriers under the garb of new trade issues and resolved to press for eliminating implementation delays in the existing WTO agreements.
Briefing reporters at the end of the two-day G-15 ministerial conference to coordinate the developing nations approach at the forthcoming WTO meeting at Seattle, Commerce Minister Ramakrishna Hegde said there was a sense of unity among the member States.
There was a new awareness of the pitfalls ahead if developing nations rushed in for fresh trade negotiations, he said.
Given the urgency of finding effective solutions to the implementation problems, a need was felt for adoption of a mutually supporting position by the G-15 nations through their permanent representatives in Geneva to ensure that corrective measures are taken by the Seattle meeting in November.
While unanimously opposing linking of social clauses with trade, the conference registered a protest against moves by developed countries to bring in anything that would result in prevent market access to developing nations.
Hegde said all the delegations disfavoured overloading of the Seattle agenda and many felt that mandated negotiations and reviews must constitute the core agenda, though some were prepared for limited add-ones like tariff negotiations.
Clarifying that the chairmans summary was not in the form of a resolution, Hegde said it reflected the views of member States and the kind of consensus that was reached among the 17 members of this developing nations bloc.
The delegates recognised three facets of implementation issues and concerns relating to removal of inequities in the existing agreements, non-realisation of benefits by several developing nations in areas of interest to them and special and differential provisions in the Uruguay Round agreements that have remained unimplemented, he said.
The two-day meeting was held following the decision of the trade ministers of the group at Montego Bay (Jamaica) in February to evolve a coordinated approach to issues likely to crop up at the Seattle conference, especially with developed nations insisting on a fresh round of trade talks.
There was a view that
benefits of tariff reduction commitments undertaken in
the last round had not accrued to the developing
countries to the extent that it should have in view of
the tariff peaks, escalations and non-tariff barriers
imposed by developed nations.
Fiat launches two new Uno models
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 (UNI) Fiat India today announced the launch of a special edition of its popular Uno Uno Jubilee priced in the range of Rs 3.44 lakh.
Two variants of the special edition car have been introduced to mark the 100 year of Fiats formation in Italy, a statement issued here said.
Uno Jubilee ac will be priced at Rs 344,784 (ex-showroom in Delhi) while the Uno DS Jubilee ac metallic sports a price tag of Rs 417,434.
The special edition comes packed with additional features like a rear window wiper and washer, a two-in-one stereo music system. It also comes in two special colours, including regency gold.
Maruti Udyog Limited has decided to price its 1600cc Baleno at Rs 7.25 lakh, making it the costliest car in the countrys largest automobile manufacturers stable.
Baleno, which would roll on to the city streets in November this year, is the first of the three new models that Maruti is rolling out to stave off competition. The rest of the new models Wagon-R and Altowould be priced below the Rs 4 lakh barrier.
ICICI forays into housing
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 ICICI has formally made a foray into the housing finance sector in Delhi by launching ICICI Home Loans.
ICICI Home Loans are being provided for purchase, construction and extension of residential premises and also for the purchase of residential plots. Currently ICICI Home Loans are available in Nasik, Pune, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Chennai and Mumbai and it will be extended to other cities in the next few months, a release said.
ICICI Home Loans is being delivered through ICICIs Direct Marketing Associates. These Associates provide the convenience of doorstep service to the customer. These loans are also being marketed by ICICI Bank which is offering these loans to existing customers. The Doorstep Services will be available to customers at Delhi and also surrounding areas.
NIIT, Aptech enter into market truce
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 (UNI) NIIT Ltd and Aptech Ltd, by far the top two players in Indias Rs 1200-crore computer education industry, today admitted they have an underlying agreement not to disclose which one of them is the countrys number one training company.
The two companies, which claim over 55 per cent of the market share accounting for education revenues exceeding Rs 658 crore between them, do not divulge the vital information to media, market research or ranking agencies, spokespersons of both Aptech and NIIT told UNI.
Unlike in the rest of the information industry where the employee turnover ratio is the highest among all industries, Aptech and NIIT have also this arrangement of not poaching on each others professionals.
It is like Pepsi and Coke reaching an agreement and calling a marketing truce, the Editor of another IT journal said.
A NIIT spokesman tried to justify the arrangement saying perception is very important in this industry and the perception of any one of us being number one would severely damage the other.
An Aptech spokesperson talked in a similar vein and admitted that even on the pricing package there is not too much of a difference. The NIIT spokesman, on the other hand, insisted they compete fiercely in all other respects.
While the two companies do not disclose the figures, it is estimated that Aptech has more centres and students and NIIT grosses in more revenue. NIIT also has software development business combined in its total revenue whereas almost 100 per cent of the Aptech business comes from the training business.
K.S. Bains removed from 3 companies
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 (UNI) The BIFR has removed Mr K.S. Bains, a Former Chairman of Punjab and Sind Bank, from the special directorships of three companies as the latter is facing a CBI probe relating to corruption charges.
The board bench comprising members Mr N.P. Singh and Mr N.P. Bagchee ordered recently that Mr Bains would cease to be the Special Director on the boards of three companies, including Delhi-based Montari Industries Limited.
Mr Bains was the BIFRs representative to monitor the implementation of the revival scheme on two other companies Punjab Power Generation Machines Limited and Indian Plywood Manufacturing Company from where too he has been dismissed.
In mid-April, 1999, the CBI had registered a case against Mr Bains for allegedly siphoning off about Rs 5 crore from two companies, CBI sources told UNI confirming the corruption charges.
The Punjab cadre IAS officer, after retirement, had joined as the Chairman of Punjab and Sind Bank. when he was the chairman of the bank, a loan of about Rs 5 crore was given to two companies by the names of Arneka Exports and Arco Exports, they added.
The loan to the firms allegedly facilitated by Mr Bains from the Green Park branch of PSB while he was the Chairman of the bank. The loans were given against stocks of the two companies. The loan was given to Gaurav and Anuj Aggarwal, two active partners of the company. Another passive partner of the firms was Parneet Bains, son of Mr K.S. Bains.
When the loans
were not paid back, the bank started its recovery process
and found that the stocks against which the loan was
forwarded, did not exist at all. Moreover, the firms
which had taken the loans, declared bankruptcy, the
Cash-rich farmers succumb to gold glitter
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 (PTI) Buoyed by a bumper agricultural production and increase in rural income, Indias gold demand registered a 6 per cent increase to 218.4 tonne in April-June compared to last year, World Gold Council (WGC) said today.
However, the total demand for gold during the first six months of 1999 was down 10 per cent to 414.4 tonnes as against 459.2 tonne in the same period last year, WGC said in its quarterly publication Gold Demand Trends.
Good performance of the agricultural sector had a very positive impact on incomes in the rural areas and contributed to the rise in demand, the report said.
The fall in the rate of inflation reduced the prices of basic household goods, a major factor that had diverted spending away from gold in the previous year, WGC said.
The global demand for the yellow metal increased 16 per cent to 810 tonnes during the second quarter of 1999 compared to the year-ago period, a record for the second quarter and a new all time high for any three month period, the Council said.
WGC attributed the strong demand pick-up to a 32 per cent increase in investment over the same period last year and to a 13 per cent increase in jewellery demand worldwide.
Broader appreciation worldwide for the role of gold as a monetary asset brought strong gains in the demand for the yellow metal as an investment in countries like the USA, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, WGC said.
The increased demand witnessed in some Asian countries badly hit by the recent economic and currency crisis only validate peoples faith in gold, MWGC Financial Institution Manager Derrick Machado said in a statement.
He said the worldwide increase in demand for gold as an investment reaffirmed the fact that gold was still valued as an asset that assured safety and security in adverse times.
Machado claimed that the actual gold imports into India during the month of June was only 57 tonnes and not 80 tonnes as was reported in certain sections of the press.
The council, however, made no reference to the impact of sale of 27.5 tonne gold by the Bank of England last month on worldwide demand.
A major highlight in the second quarter gold demand trend was the more than 90 per cent increase in demand for yellow metal over the pre-crisis levels in the South-East Asian region.
TRAI orders refund of payments
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 (PTI) Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today directed the Department of Telecom (DoT) not to charge e-mail and Internet service providers for fixed phone access and refund all payments received on this count so far.
Under Section 13 of the TRAI Act, the authority directed DoT to withdraw the circular of January 14 last which levied a charge of Rs 15,000 for fixed phone access to all Internet service providers.
TRAI also directed the department to take all necessary consequential action to refund all payments that have been received from Internet service providers through the issuance of the circular, according to a TRAI release here.
SBP adopts girl child
PATIALA, Aug 18 Mr A K Batra, Managing Director, State Bank of Patiala, distributed artificial limbs to physically handicapped persons on the occasion of Independence Day, at a function organised at head office of the bank.
A similar programme was
organised by the bank at SDKS Shakuntla Girls Higher
Secondary School, where the bank adopted a girl child and
handed over a cheque of Rs 7200 to the Chairman of the
Balniketan for the education of the child, which is to be
continued till her education is completed. They also
announced that the bank will bear an expenditure of Rs
20,000 at the time of the girls marriage.
Units denied supplies
LUDHIANA, Aug 18 Punjab has been denied the supply of M.S. round by SAIL from April to July 99. SAIL has allegedly diverted the supplies to other areas for getting better rates.
The President of the Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India, Mr Joginder Kumar, points out that the actual user lift the material from Dhandari Kalan station booked by PSIEC and there is always a shortage on account of direct supplies.
PSIEC has not lodged any
shortage claim with SAIL. The matter has been brought to
the notice of Mr G. Vajralingam, MD, PSIEC Ltd. PSIEC is
getting a rebate of Rs 470 per tonne from SAIL and passes
on only Rs 180 to the actual users.
US $ Rs 43.42/43
Stg £ Rs 69.68/71
Euro Rs 45.67/70
Jap yen (100) Rs 38.34/36
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