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EU Calls on China to Open Markets


The European Union has signaled that it intends to take a tougher line towards trade with China, and Australia's government says it is going to get tough with greenhouse gas emissions.

The European Union says China has to open its domestic markets further to international competition, and has warned that China will face a protectionist backlash in Europe if it does not obey the rules of international trade.

The EU, which recently surpassed the United States to become China's biggest export market, ran a trade deficit of more than $130 billion with China last year. The two also had disagreements over low-cost Chinese shoes and textiles.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson says China needs to fulfill its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization.

"As you will see when you look through the policy review, the EU intends to push China to fulfill its WTO obligations and continue to open its markets and liberalize trade in services and investment," he said.

The Australian government will contribute $57 million towards the world's largest solar power plant. The rest of the $319 million project, to be built in Victoria State, will be financed by private industry. Work is due to start in 2008 and to be completed by 2013.

The solar power plant is the first of a series of projects announced by the government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat global warming.

Faced this year with the worst drought in a century, the government is under pressure to address climate change. Australia, like the United States, did not sign the Kyoto protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

Hong Kong-based Oasis Airlines, Asia's first long-haul discount carrier, started flight service - just a little behind schedule - to London's Gatwick airport. The airline's maiden flight was delayed for a full day after Russia initially refused to give permission to fly over the country.

Between now and December, Oasis promotional prices will allow passengers to pay as little as $260 for a round trip between Hong Kong and London. By comparison, a discounted Hong Kong-London ticket on Cathay Pacific, another of Hong Kong's home airlines, costs about $754.

How much the Oasis price will rise after the promotional period has not yet been announced.

Vietnam's leading information and communication technology company, FPT, received an investment of more than $36 million from U.S. companies Intel Capital and Texas Pacific Group. FPT said the funding would help the company to add new products and services and to expand internationally.

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