EU uncovers fraud

BRUSSELS: The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) said that, in conjunction with Austrian authorities, it has uncovered a major fraud scheme involving imports of textiles and shoes from China. Following close cooperation between the Austrian finance ministry, the customs investigation services in Vienna and Wiener-Neustadt and OLAF, the cover was blown off a band of traders who have smuggled large quantities of textiles and shoes from China into the EU. The products involved were jeans, t-shirts and other clothes as well as various kinds of footwear including sports and casual shoes. — AFP

SKorea, China eye FTA

SEOUL: South Korea and China will hold a third round of preliminary talks this week on a possible free trade agreement (FTA). About 80 government officials and industry experts from the two nations will meet from Wednesday to Friday in the Chinese city of Weihai. The two sides aim to identify difficult issues. China is South Korea’s biggest trading partner with two-way trade worth more than $130 billion a year. — AFP

Global market beating

TOKYO: Asian stocks fell sharply on Monday as jittery markets took their cue from a slump on Wall Street, where lacklustre US corporate earnings rattled investors still nervous about a credit squeeze. Even a drop in oil prices failed to calm market nerves after the steep US decline on Friday, when worries about the outlook for the world’s largest economy grew on the 20th anniversary of the New York market crash. — AFP

China’s FAI increases

SHANGHAI: China’s overall fixed asset investment (FAI) rose by 25.7 per cent in the first nine months of 2007 from a year earlier, slightly slower th-an growth in the first half of the year. Growth in FAI for the period, which covers both urban and rural areas, was 0.2 percentage points lower than 25.9 per cent in the first half. — AFP

Tea report’s findings

Kathmandu: A recent study published last week on Nepal’s tea sector by International Trade Center identifies some major shortcomings and obstacles for exports of Nepali tea. One major shortcoming is that though production has increased in recent years, processing capacity hasn’t and this is forcing Nepali farmers to sell raw material to Indian factories instead of adding value to the product. The sector study on tea was published last week as a part of the Technical Co-operation Project. – HNS

Shift focus to exports

MANILA: Agricultural investments in the Philippines must shift to high-value export commodities to help lift millions of farmers out of poverty, the World Bank said. It said 40 per cent of the work force were in the farm sector even though it accounted for just 14 per cent of economic output. Like the rest of the developing world, the sector must be placed at the centre of the development agenda if UN millennium goals of halving extreme poverty by 2015 are to be realised. — AFP

Aussie inflation rises

SYDNEY: Wholesale price data shows Australia’s inflationary pressures are building, fuelling the possibility of another interest rate rise. The Australian Bureau of Statistics said the producer price index increased by 1.1 per cent in the third quarter, slightly more than the one per cent rise the market was expecting. While the data do not mean much for the third-quarter consumer price index (CPI) to be released on Wednesday. — AFP

Int’l financial centre

NEW YORK: India intends to make Mumbai an International Financial Centre with plans to turn financial services into the next growth engine for the country, according to Indian finance minister. As the economy becomes more open and trade intensity increases, giant financial flows will go through India, already a trillion dollar economy with outflows and inflows together accounting for nearly 106 per cent of the GDP, he said. — HNS

Taiwan’s jobless rate

TAIPEI: Taiwan’s unemployment rate fell to 3.99 per cent in September from 4.09 per cent in August largely on a decline in first-time job seekers. The September figure, however, was up from 3.96 per cent in the same month a year earlier. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the September unemployment rate came in at 3.89 per cent, up from 3.87 per cent in the previous month and up from 3.85 percent a year earlier. — AFP

Creating DFCs

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways progressed one step further in their endeavour to create Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs) on busy rail routes after a Japanese consulting body presented its final study report to the Ministry of Railways here. Japan International Cooperation Agency resident representative, T Fujii, along with other members of JICA study team handed over the report to Railway Board Chairman KC Jena. — HNS

India brings new rule

NEW DELHI: Aiming to ensure rapid expansion of tele-density in India and boost the explosive growth of the telecom sector, the government on Friday approved the industry regulator’s recommendation to remove the limit on the number of service prov-iders in a particular area. — HNS