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China to appeal WTO rare earth ruling

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Thursday it would appeal against a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that found it violated global trade rules with its export limits on rare earth minerals used in defense and technology products. China lost a WTO dispute in March, handing Europe and the United States a victory over what they see as China's unfair trade practices. "China will make the utmost efforts in the appeals process," Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang told reporters at a monthly briefing.

China to appeal WTO rare earth ruling

China will appeal a ruling by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that its export restrictions on rare earths and other resources broke international rules, the commerce ministry said on Thursday. The WTO's disputes settlement body decided last month that China's export duties and quotas, plus limits on who could trade in the rare earths tungsten and molybdenum -- which are key raw materials for hi-tech goods -- skewed global commerce against other nations.

Polls open in Algeria presidential election

The polls opened in Algeria's presidential election on Thursday with the incumbent Abdelaziz Bouteflika seeking a fourth term despite his chronic health problems. More than 260,000 police have been deployed to protect the 50,000 polling booths set up across Africa's largest country, where 23 million Algerians are eligible to vote in a contest between six candidates after polling opened at 8:00 am (0700 GMT).

Jan-March foreign direct investment in China up 5.5%

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China increased 5.5 percent in the first three months of the year despite faltering in March, the government said Thursday, though outbound investment slumped. FDI, which excludes investment in financial sectors, totalled $31.55 billion in the March quarter, the commerce ministry said in a statement. However, investment in March declined 1.47 percent to $12.24 billion, it said. "Major Asian countries' and regions' investment in China generally maintained a steady growth momentum," ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said.

West, Russia trade UN barbs over Ukraine rights report

Western diplomats called on Russia to stop interfering in Ukraine on Wednesday in a stormy Security Council meeting dominated by a row over a UN human rights report. The United States, Britain and France called on Moscow to refrain from getting involved in eastern Ukraine following the report, which said there was no evidence of widespread abuses of ethnic Russians in the region.

Japan to cut tariffs on Australian chicken, pork

Japan will apply a tariff-quota system on such products as chicken and pork from Australia to allow set quantities of imports with low duty rates under a bilateral free trade deal, the Japanese farm ministry announced Thursday. Tokyo and Canberra reached a substantive free trade agreement on April 7 after seven years of negotiations, but the details had not been announced.

Obama to visit Asia with commitment to region as main focus

U.S. President Barack Obama is set to visit Asia next week on a tour aimed at allaying any doubts about his commitment to the region. The trip, which will take him to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines, is unlikely to result in remarkable outcomes but taking clear positions on North Korea's nuclear programs and China's maritime presence should be a priority, commentators in Washington say.

Japan, U.S. trade ministers resume talks to bridge tariff gaps

Japan and the United States resumed their ministerial talks Wednesday trying to make progress in protracted negotiations over tariffs exceptions to a Pacific free trade pact. The ministerial meeting on the Trans-Pacific Partnership initiative was a follow-up session to the previous round in Tokyo last week in last-minute efforts to make headway prior to President Barack Obama's arrival in Japan on April 23.

Japan, U.S. trade ministers resume talks to bridge tariff gaps

Japan and the United States resumed their ministerial talks Wednesday trying to make progress in protracted negotiations over tariffs exceptions to a Pacific free trade pact. The ministerial meeting on the Trans-Pacific Partnership initiative was a follow-up session to the previous round in Tokyo last week in last-minute efforts to make headway prior to President Barack Obama's arrival in Japan on April 23.

NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 309 (April 17, 2014)

TOPIC OF THE WEEK (Part 1) Diplomatic efforts under way for resumption of six-party talks SEOUL (Yonhap) -- Amid prolonged tension on the Korean Peninsula, a flurry of diplomatic moves have been under way to resume the six-party talks to end North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Specifically, Seoul, Washington and Beijing are intensifying diplomatic efforts as they wrestle to rein in North Korea's nuclear threats and find middle ground in reopening the long-stalled six-nation forum.
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