U.S. rebuffs EC on trade talksThe United States and the...

BUSINESS DIGEST

October 28, 1992

U.S. rebuffs EC on trade talks

The United States and the European Community have been unable to make progress this week in world trade talks because each demands that the other make the first move, U.S. and European officials said yesterday.

Ray MacSharry, the European Community's agriculture commissioner, has tried repeatedly in telephone calls from Brussels to persuade Agriculture Secretary Edward R. Madigan to hold another meeting aimed at resolving a trans-Atlantic impasse over farm subsidies. But Mr. Madigan rebuffed Mr. MacSharry again yesterday.

U.S. officials continue to insist that further discussions are futile until the European Community rescinds several proposals made last Wednesday to help its farmers at the expense of U.S. farmers.

Continental cuts more fares

Continental Airlines cut fares to several domestic cities yesterday, a day after lowering prices to its five European destinations: London, Paris, Frankfurt, Munich and Madrid.

American Airlines, the nation's largest carrier, said yesterday that it would go along with the European and domestic discounts. United Airlines said it would also match Continental on routes where they compete and would match the domestic fare cuts. Delta Air Lines said it would be competitive with Continental in Europe and in the 13 domestic cities.

Alexander & Alexander profits rise

Alexander & Alexander Services Inc., an insurance brokerage, risk management and human resource management consulting company, reported yesterday income of $8.8 million, or 22 cents a share, for the three months that ended Sept. 30, representing a 22 percent increase over the same quarter last year.

Canadian banks cut prime

Canadian banks cut their prime lending rates yesterday and the nation's currency perked up, removing concerns about financial chaos after rejection of a national referendum on unity. Despite a prediction by some that a rejection would lead to a sell-off of Canada's dollar and higher interest rates after a "no" vote, currency and credit markets actually rallied after the vote. Canadian banks jumped in line, cutting their prime lending rates to their best business customers by half a percentage point, to 7.75 percent.

German economy seen as weak

Germany's five leading economic research institutes said the economy would grow a slim 1 percent in 1993, matching the increase expected this year. "The economic situation in Germany is weak," said the institutes' report, released yesterday. The report also said inflation in Germany would reach 5 percent this year and drop to 4.5 percent in 1993.

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