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Netherlands holds EU presidency for 6 months in 2016

From January 1 to June 30, 2016 the Netherlands holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and during this period will be able to steer the course of EU legislative and political processes. The Council is a gathering of ministers from the 28 EU member states, and their main purpose is to adopt proposals for new laws ... Read More »

South Africa agrees to US meat import demands

SOUTH AFRICA: Negotiations between South Africa and the US on key areas related to the importation of poultry, beef and pork from the US to South Africa were concluded at a meeting on 6 January 2016. Only a limited number of US poultry and meat products have been exported to South Africa in recent years, due to sanitary requirements by ... Read More »

Thailand’s Customs to cut 30% import duty on luxury items

BANGKOK:  In an effort to boost spending by tourists, Thailand’s Customs Department is poised to cut the 30 percent import duty being levied on luxury items, a media report said on Wednesday. The department will convene a meeting with the private sector this month to arrange the tariff reduction before forwarding it to finance permanent secretary Somchai Sujjapongse for deliberation, ... Read More »

Brazilian imports of carbon steel sheet products sink 29.6% YOY

BRASÍLIA: Brazilian imports of carbon steel sheet products sank 29.6% year on year to 800,205 mt in 2015, data from the foreign trade ministry showed Friday. In 2014, the country imported about 1.14 million mt of flat sheet goods. Imports of hot-rolled coil during 2015 totaled 28,095 mt, 13.7% above the 183,001 mt registered a year before. Cold-rolled imports fell ... Read More »

Indonesia’s raw sugar imports to rise to 3.2m tons in 2016

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s raw sugar imports will rise to 3.2 million tons this year from 2.88 million tons in 2015, a top industry association official told Reuters on Friday, which is likely to benefit chocolate and milk makers and potentially support global sugar prices. The country’s sugar industry is split in two and is tightly regulated. Households, retail and small-to-medium firms ... Read More »

UK’s trade deficit in goods, services narrows in Nov

LONDON: The UK’s trade deficit in goods and services narrowed in November after the value of oil imports fell. The deficit – the difference between the amount imported and exported – was £3.2bn in November, down from £3.5bn from October, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS put the narrowing deficit down to a £0.5bn fall in imports ... Read More »

Dar hails FBR for taking growth rate from 16 percent to 19 percent by December 2015

ISLAMABAD: Federal Finance Minister, Mohammad Ishaq Dar has appreciated the performance of FBR for achieving the revenue collection target in the October -December quarter of the current fiscal year and taking the revenue growth rate from 16% in end June to 19% by the close of December 2015. The federal minister was addressing the 2-day Chief Commissioners Conference which concluded ... Read More »

FPCCI announces election schedule for selecting Board of Director

SIALKOT: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCC) has announced the schedule of elections of the Board of Directors for its business councils. The business councils will be selected for different countries including Pakistan – Australia, Pakistan – Belarus, Pakistan – Bahrain, Pakistan – Bangladesh, Pakistan – Central African Republic, Pakistan – Czech Republic, Pakistan – China, ... Read More »

Argentina to unveil economic statistics timetable

BUENOS AIRES: After suspending the publication of Argentina’s economic data indefinitely to overhaul the staff and methodology, a timetable for the release of indicators should be announced in a month, said Jorge Todesca, the new chief of the statistics agency. It may take months to begin publishing credible economic data once again, Todesca, who was named to his post last ... Read More »

US: Airport to build new customs facility

NEW YORK: The Savannah Airport Commission voted to pay aviation consulting firm Reynolds, Smith and Hills $621,610 for the design and construction oversight of a new U.S. Customs Federal Inspection Services facility at the airport. The Jacksonville-based company provides architectural, engineering, planning and environmental services. The contract calls for programming, design, permitting, bidding assistance and construction oversight for the new ... Read More »

Canada to test facial-recognition technology at border

OTTAWA: Canada’s border agency plans to compare images of people arriving in the country with photographs of suspects on watchlists to keep out alleged terrorists and other criminals. The federal privacy watchdog has cautioned the agency that the scheme could ensnare the wrong travellers, resulting in unwarranted scrutiny for some people at the border. The Canada Border Services Agency wants ... Read More »

Ford, Toyota team up to counter Apple, Google in all-out dashboard war

TOKYO: Toyota Motor Corp (TM.N -1.24%) and Ford Motor Co (F.N 0.28%) said on Monday they will adopt the same software to link smartphone apps to vehicle dashboard screens and invited other automakers to join them to counter Apple Inc (AAPL.O 2.09%) and Google’s (GOOGL.O -0.73%) push to control cars of the future. Toyota, the world’s largest automaker by vehicle ... Read More »

Canada’s manufacturing activity hits record low in Dec.

TORONTO: Canada’s manufacturing sector contracted for the fifth consecutive month in December as activity fell to a record low, data showed on Monday, the latest indicator that the economy may have been weaker than anticipated in the final quarter of the year. The RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a measure of manufacturing business conditions, fell to a seasonally ... Read More »

Canadian producer prices drop for 4th consecutive month

OTTAWA: Producer prices fell 0.2 percent in November, their fourth consecutive drop, on lower prices for precious metals such as gold and silver, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday. Market operators polled by Reuters had forecast no change from October. Among the 21 major commodity groups, 11 rose, eight declined and two were unchanged. Prices for primary non-ferrous metal products dropped ... Read More »

Toronto deemed top global tourist destination for 2016

TORONTO: Toronto has made it onto the New York Times’s list of 52 top global tourist destinations for 2016, at No. 7. The publication says Toronto is “ready for its close-up”, and has been “quietly slipping out of the shadow of Montreal and Vancouver.” It singles out the public art, green spaces, bike paths and promenades of Queen’s Quay on ... Read More »

Canada adds 22,800 jobs in December

TORONTO: Canada’s job market added nearly 23,000 jobs in December, but the unemployment rate stayed level at 7.1 per cent. Ontario was the only province to post a jobs increase, according to Statistics Canada figures released. Everywhere else, the figure was either flat or declined. The strong figure was much better than what analysts polled by Bloomberg were expecting — ... Read More »

Diana Shipping Inc. signs loan facility with The Export-Import Bank of China

ATHENS: Diana Shipping Inc. a global shipping company specializing in the ownership of dry bulk vessels, announced that yesterday it signed, through three separate wholly-owned subsidiaries, a term loan facility for up to US$75,734,900 with The Export-Import Bank of China. The purpose of this facility is to partially finance, after delivery, the acquisition cost of two new-building Newcastlemax dry bulk ... Read More »

US corn steadies, gains capped by sluggish exports

NEW YORK: US corn futures steadied on Friday but remained in striking distance of the prior session’s seven-month low as sluggish exports and ample supplies continued to weigh. Chicago wheat and soybean prices edged up as the market began to focus on closely watched reports on grains stocks and winter wheat plantings to be issued by the US Department of ... Read More »

Canadian salmon production recovery pushes 2015 US imports past 400m pounds

OTTAWA: The return of Canadian whole salmon production and the growth of fresh Chilean salmon fillet exports to record levels has pushed US salmon imports over 400 million pounds for the first time, as of November. At the same time wholesale prices are near three-year-lows in 2015. An Urner Barry calculation of total fresh salmon imports to the US market ... Read More »

US producers turn down bird flu vaccine fearing trade ban

NEW YORK: Determined to avoid a repeat of the nation’s worst-ever avian-influenza outbreak, the US Department of Agriculture is stockpiling up to 500 million doses of a new vaccine – but many in the $48 billion poultry industry don’t want it. While turkey farmers hit hard by the most-recent outbreak support the shots, chicken producers say vaccinating even a portion ... Read More »