India invites FIs

NEW DELHI: India has invited domestic and international companies to take part in the next level of its liberal economic reforms, commerce minister Kamal Nath said on Tuesday at the inauguration of the India International Trade Fair (IITF)-2006. “After 15 years of economic reforms, we have moved towards the second stage of calibrated and comprehensive economic liberalisation programme,” Nath said. — HNS

B’desh economy hit

DHAKA: Three days of strikes, blockades and violent demonstrations to force electoral reform in Bangladesh have pushed the already impoverished country to the verge of collapse. Demonstrators have blocked main roads and rail lines, there has been practically no trade at any of Bangladesh’s sea or land ports, and the capital Dhaka has been cut off from the rest of the country since the protests began on Sunday. — AFP

US, Vietnam trade ties

WASHINGTON: The US administration formally endorsed a bill that would normalise trade relations with Vietnam, a move that reflects Vietnam’s status as a fast-rising Asian economy. A statement by the president’s Office of Management and Budget said the bill would allow the US and Vietnam to enjoy the benefits of Vietnam’s membership in the WTO, which accepted the nation as a member last week. — DPA

Super jumbo on test

SINGAPORE: An Airbus A380 arrived in Singapore on Tuesday in the first stop of a round-the-world series of test flights before the super jumbo can be certified as fit for commercial flying. The world’s largest passenger plane landed at Changi Airport after a flight of more than 12 hours from Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France. The plane, on the first of 10 stops over 17 days of technical tests, needs to complete 150 hours of flying time to simulate the pressures of a typical airline schedule. — DPA

$600m FDI in Taiwan

TAIPEI: Taiwan’s premier Su Tseng-chang said on Tuesday his cabinet has approved the investment by a government fund of $606 million in old-economy industries. The money will come from a national development fund and include $10 billion to be injected into small and medium-size companies. There are 1.22 million small and medium-sized companies, accounting for more than 97.8 per cent of all enterprises in Taiwan. — AFP

S’pore to hike tax

SINGAPORE: Singapore will raise its consumption tax next year to fund social programmes for its lower income households, prime minister Lee Hsien Loong said. Raising the goods and services tax (GST) from the existing five per cent to seven per cent will mean more money for new measures in education and healthca-re to help poorer Singaporeans. — AFP