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Voice of America, 00-03-31

Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Voice of America <gopher://>





    INTRO: Negotiations between China and the European Union on Beijing's accession to the World Trade Organization have been suspended, and no date has been set for their resumption. VOA correspondent Roger Wilkison reports even though an E-U spokesman noted some progress in the talks, he said an agreement was not possible after four days of negotiations.

    TEXT: The 15-nation E-U is China's only major trading partner that still has to sign off on Beijing's entry into the W-T-O. China has made W-T-O membership this year a priority because it believes its accession to that body will bring in badly needed foreign investment and, at the same time, force protected state-owned enterprises to become leaner and meaner so that they can compete internationally. But China will have to wait a while longer. E-U trade spokesman Anthony Gooch read a statement to reporters Friday, saying the latest round of talks between the two sides ended without agreement.

    /////GOOCH ACTUALITY/////

    Although the four days of talks were held in a constructive spirit with positive movement on both sides resulting in a certain narrowing of differences on the outstanding issues under negotiation, conclusion of a bilateral agreement was not possible at this stage.

    /////END ACTUALITY/////

    A statement by China's Foreign Trade Ministry put a positive spin on the talks, saying they had been positive, constructive and fruitful. It says the two sides hope to reach agreement as soon as possible and that the negotiations will continue in the future. But neither side has said when that will be. E-U diplomats in Beijing say the talks bogged down over China's refusal to accede to European demands for greater access to its telecommunications and financial services markets. The E-U had been holding out for a better deal in these areas than the one China granted the United States last year. Spokesman Gooch said E-U Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy insisted in his talks with Chinese Foreign Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng that Brussels' trading relationship with Beijing has its own characteristics.

    /////GOOCH ACTUALITY/////

    A final package should be balanced, taking due account of the specificity of the important trading relationship between the E-U and China.

    /////END ACTUALITY/////

    Though neither side would give details on the obstacles still remaining, Mr. Gooch said the E-U negotiators are not going home disappointed.

    /////GOOCH ACTUALITY/////

    We don't have a reason to be disappointed. We've made progress. As you know, the issues under discussion were wide-ranging and complex, and a complex negotiation requires due time.

    /////END ACTUALITY/////

    Although both sides express optimism about eventually striking a deal, the failure of the latest round of talks is a blow to China's aspirations to join the W- T-O this year. (signed)
    NEB/RW/FC/PLM 31-Mar-2000 03:12 AM EDT (31-Mar-2000 0812 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Another volatile week has come to an end on Wall Street, with mixed results. The "blue chips" slipped today (Friday), while the falling NASDAQ market regained some lost ground. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 58 points, one-half-of-one percent, to 10-thousand-921. Selling pressure came in the final hour of trading, which wiped out a modest rally for the "blue chips" (-- shares that have attracted high prices and a high degree of investor confidence). The Industrials are down almost 200 points for the week. The Standard and Poor's 500 index, which measures the broader market, closed up 10 points, less than one percent. The NASDAQ composite index ended a four-day losing streak with a two-and-one-half percent gain. But the technology-weighted index is still down about nine percent for the week. Big-name companies like Microsoft, Dell Computer and computer-chip-maker Intel led the NASDAQ higher, as investors bought shares of companies with proven earnings. And once again, investors showed concern over a lot of "dot-com" - Internet-based -- companies that still have no profits to report.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Sara Farley, an Internet analyst with the Paine Webber brokerage firm, says much of the recent jitteriness in the NASDAQ market has come from investors simply buying "growth at all costs," without considering a company's earnings:

    /// FARLEY ACT ///

    People have been buying just because it's there. And when somebody throws some uncertainty into the equation, people are finally forced to look at what are they actually buying and what are the long-term opportunities. And they all of a sudden have to be much more selective about where they're going to put their money because there's no question that there's still a lot of growth and opportunity out there.

    /// END ACT ///

    Market-watcher Michael Dubrow sees the adjustment in the NASDAQ almost as a dose of preventive medicine:

    /// DUBROW ACT ///

    There's some concern over which companies are going to be the winners here and which aren't. And I think this pull-back is probably a healthy thing, as investors digest what's going to happen in the next few months and few years.

    /// END ACT ///

    Xerox Corporation, the leading maker of business machines, says it can no longer conduct business as usual and expect to win. Xerox announced a global restructuring that includes cutting five percent of its work force -- about 52-hundred jobs. Xerox shares inched up in trading. Wall Street interprets "job cuts" as cost savings and increased profits. Xerox says it does expect double-digit earnings growth. And Yahoo has become the latest Internet company to come under scrutiny over its privacy policies. The U-S Federal Trade Commission wants to know how Yahoo collects consumer information. (Signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/WTW 31-Mar-2000 17:11 PM EDT (31-Mar-2000 2211 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: U-S newspaper editorials are dealing with a wide variety of subjects as the week draws to a close. Among the issues drawing comment are a new ruling in the anti-smoking campaign against U-S tobacco industries, fairness for Haitian immigrants, Vice President Al Gore's plans for campaign reform, and women's athletics in the United States. Now for a closer look and some excerpts, here is ____________ with today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The U-S Supreme Court sent a powerful message to the Food and Drug Administration (F-D-A) this week when it ruled that the agency overstepped its legal authority to regulate tobacco products. The decision concluded that while tobacco products are harmful, they are not illegal and the F-D-A should not be allowed to enact advertising restrictions on a legal product. The New York Daily News says the court's decision puts the issue back in the hand of Congress where it belongs.

    VOICE: Smoking is a documented public health problem, one that kills 400-thousand a year. And yet smoking is legal to adults, and Congress to this day subsidizes tobacco farmers. This is a political problem that requires a political solution, hopefully one that recognizes that this is still a democracy and people should be given the freedom -- and information -- to make their own choices .... More effective than outright prohibition is the information that allows people to make their own informed choices ... The Supreme Court made the correct ruling. Smoking is a big health problem. But the country needs a policy, not moral pieties or an administration that doesn't understand its constitutional limitations.

    TEXT: Thousands of U-S Haitian immigrants could be deported if they are left out of an immigration amnesty that expires today. The Haitian immigrants received guidelines on how to apply for the amnesty only 10 days ago, and the Miami Herald in Florida says President Clinton and his administration should give them more time.

    VOICE: While the administration waits to find whether there's support for a legislative fix, Mr. Clinton should relieve anxiety in the Haitian community by granting those immigrants Deferred Enforced Departure. It's a special provision in the law allowing immigrants facing deportation to remain in the United States until conditions in their home countries improve. ... Ms. Reno must not force 10-thousand people to face the prospect of returning to Haiti and leaving behind their U-S born children. Moreover, her failure to act will add to the perception that Haitian immigrants are treated more harshly -- some say because most are black -- than others. ... If the Administration is to demonstrate that black immigrants aren't subjected to more arduous requirements than white immigrants, it will grant the deferral.

    TEXT: The Chicago Tribune is turning its attention to Vice President Al Gore and his proposed seven-point- one-billion dollar plan to deal with U-S election campaign finance abuses. "There's a better way", says the Chicago Tribune.

    VOICE: ...The wisest reforms, instead of constructing yet another layer of government rules and bureaucracy, would take the restrictions off contributions and simultaneously require full, immediate disclosure [EDS: of campaign contributions]. That way, nobody would be squelched, but voters would get the information needed to assess whether a candidate is being bought or selling to deep-pocket contributors. In the age of the internet and other information technologies new and not yet dreamed of, there is no reason why voters should not be provided with full and immediate information on who is bankrolling the campaigns for all candidates seeking public office. And it shouldn't cost anywhere near seven-point-one-billion dollars.

    TEXT: And lastly, The Philadelphia Inquirer in Pennsylvania is celebrating women's athletics as the city prepares to host the National Collegiate Athletic Association (N-C-A-A) Women's Final Four basketball tournament. voice: Tonight the nation will be reminded what basketball is really about -- passing, play- making, teamwork -- as the N-C-A-A Women's Final Four tournament opens in Philadelphia. ... For the most part, the women play more of a purist's brand of basketball than the men, which promises an exciting weekend. ... Women still have a long ways to go in sports. Women athletes receive less scholarship money, their coaches less pay. Except for big tournaments, media coverage is minuscule. But every big events draws in more fans, support and future stars. So there's much to celebrate this weekend in Philly [EDS: Philadelphia].

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Friday's U-S press.
    NEB/ENE/JP 31-Mar-2000 13:31 PM EDT (31-Mar-2000 1831 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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