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The Star Online: Business

No final deal on TPP next week: US official

Posted: 13 May 2014 07:14 PM PDT

WASHINGTON: Pacific trading partners are not expecting to reach a final agreement on an ambitious free trade pact at a ministerial meeting in Singapore next week, a senior US official said on Tuesday.

A US-Japan summit last month had shaken the two countries free of a stalemate over access to Japan's farm and auto markets in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but more work was needed before a broad agreement could be reached, the official said.

The deadlock between Japan and the US, the biggest economies in the 12-nation TPP, has held up progress on the wider trade agreement in recent months as other countries awaited the outcome of the negotiations.

TPP negotiators, from countries including Canada, Australia, Mexico and Malaysia, are in Vietnam this week for another round of negotiations and ministers will meet on May 19-20 in Singapore.

"We will make sure we are on the same page and then give instructions to our teams to get back to work and work through the remaining issues," the senior official said.

"This is a check-in meeting. This is not a ministerial where we expect to reach a final agreement."

The senior US official, who asked not to be named, said the next stage of TPP negotiations involved other countries also sitting down to work out market access issues with Japan.

Once it was clear what each country could get from the deal in terms of exports, it would be time to focus on setting common rules on issues such as labor, the environment and intellectual property, he said at a briefing for journalists.

The US official also urged China to show leadership on an agreement to eliminate duties on billions of dollars of technology products, which will be under discussion at a meeting of Asia-Pacific trade ministers in China this weekend.

The US, China, the European Union and nearly two dozen other countries are negotiating an expansion of the World Trade Organization's Information Technology Agreement (ITA), a 16-year-old pact that eliminated duties on a long list of products including personal computers, laptops and telephones.

The US and Europe have blamed China, the world's biggest exporter of IT products, for derailing the technology talks by asking for too many exemptions from the deal.

A positive attitude from China toward the ITA could help convince critics of the merits of a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with the US.

"If you are China and you are interested in having a bilateral investment treaty, you want to have strong constituencies of support, and a positive outcome on ITA is a potential positive contributor to that outcome," the official said.

But there was still a long way to go on the investment treaty negotiations, given China's list of sectors it wanted to be exempt.

"Right now the negative list is enormous and they know that it's got to be shrunk to be meaningful," he said. – Reuters 

Berjaya Corp shares up on Vietnam lottery project

Posted: 13 May 2014 06:56 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Berjaya Corporation's shares rose in active trade on Wednesday on firmer investor interest after it had beaten five rivals to invest and undertake a computerised lottery system in Vietnam.

At 9.45am, it was up 1.5 sen to 50.5 sen. There were 20.34 million shares traded at prices ranging from 50 sen to 52 sen.

The FBM KLCI rose 9.87 points to 1,875.95. Turnover was 389.13 million shares valued at RM325.15 million shares. There were 338 gainers, 114 losers and 239 counters unchanged.

Last Monday, BCorp said the lottery system would be undertaken under a business cooperation contract with Vietnam Lottery Company.

"BCorp will undertake the Vietnam lottery business via Berjaya Gia Thinh Investment Technology Co. Lt (Berjaya GTI), a company incorporated in Vietnam," it said.

Berjaya GTI is 51% owned by Berjaya Lottery Vietnam Ltd and it is in turn 80% owned by BCorp and 20% by BToto.

KLCI surges nearly 10 points in early trade

Posted: 13 May 2014 06:17 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's blue chips index jumped nearly 10 points in early Wednesday when trading resumed on some fund buying of plantations, Petronas stocks and UMW but selling of Tenaga Nasional curbed its gains.

At 9.06am, the FBM KLCI rose 9.31 points to 1,875.39. Turnover over was 69.34 million shares valued at RM77.28mil. There were 207 gainers, 55 losers and 141 counters unchanged.

BIMB Securities Research expects the current market's high valuation to be the main impediment for the KLCI to move up and also because earnings for the first quarter so far have not been impressive.

However, it expected a firmer regional performance might see the index testing the 1,870 on Wednesday.

KL Kepong rose 28 sen to RM24.68 but with 100 shares done but PPB Group fell 18 sen to RM16.20 also with 100 units traded. Sawarak Plantations fell seven sen to RM2.44.

Petronas Gas rose 28 sen to RM23.76 and Petronas Dagangan 14 sen to RM27.16.  UMW, HL Industries and DiGi added 10 sen each to RM10.80, RM6.65 and RM5.65 respectively.

Daiman jumped 21 sen to RM3.66 in active trade.

Tenaga fell 14 sen to RM11.84, Dialog six sen to RM3.70 and Westports four sen lower to RM2.81.


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