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China Expands Trade Ties in South America


Tighter competition in South Korea's telecommunications market hit S.K. Telecom's annual profit, which fell 23 percent to one-point-four billion dollars last year.

SK Telecom CEO Kim Shin-bae said his company - the country's largest mobile phone operator - had to spend more on marketing to lure more subscribers. Mr. Kim said the company faced "unprecedented challenges" last year after the government allowed subscribers to switch mobile phone operators without changing their phone numbers.

The company says it will spend as much as 18 percent of revenue on marketing this year.

South Korea's trade commission is slapping tariffs of up to 23 percent on Chinese-made chemical imports for use in paints and pigments. It says China is selling chemicals at below cost in South Korea.

China is boosting economic ties with South America. Beijing is looking to South America to help meet its increasing demands for energy and raw materials. Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong last week signed oil and gas exploration agreements with Peru and Venezuela.

Also, Chilean and Chinese trade officials kicked off discussions on a free trade agreement last week in Beijing. Copper is Chile's single biggest export to China.

Shareholders in the Chinese computer maker, Lenovo, have approved the $2 billion purchase of U.S. computer giant IBM's personal computer business. But some U.S. lawmakers are calling for an investigation on the grounds of national security risks, saying the deal might result in the Chinese government being involved in computer contracts with the U.S. government. Lenovo says it will cooperate with any review by U.S. authorities.

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