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export markets

Troubles roiling
export markets

Mexico–The Mexican peso crisis continues to loom large, spurring President Bill Clinton last week to tap$20 billion from the U.S. Treasury’s exchange-stabilization fund to spearhead a package of loan guarantees and direct loans to that country.
Since Dec. 20, the peso has lost more than 30 percent against the dollar. At midweek, the peso stood at 5.3 pesos per dollar, down from some 3.5 pesos in early December.
Despite worries that the devalued peso is bruising business–particularly for companies like Eastman Kodak Co. and Bausch & Lomb Inc. that sell consumer goods–local trade experts say the currency crisis does not threaten gains made by the North American Free Trade Agreement.
China–Bickering with China threatened to erupt into a trade war, but the two countries have agreed to meet next week in an attempt to resolve the conflict. The dispute centers on China’s ineffective enforcement of laws protecting intellectual property.
Frustrated by months of negotiations, the United States on Feb. 4 imposed 100 percent tariffs on more than $1 billion of Chinese exports. China responded by tacking sanctions on U.S. exports of compact discs, video games, film, cigarettes and alcohol. Both sets of sanctions are scheduled to take effect Feb. 26.
South Korea–Non-tariff barriers are causing friction between the United States and South Korea. The U.S. government claims Korea discourages imports of agricultural goods, computer software and telecommunications equipment by imposing opaque, often arbitrary regulations on those products.
Bilateral discussions last month failed to resolve the dispute. South Korea, which imported over $19 billion in U.S. goods last year–up from some $18 billion in 1993–may face sanctions under U.S. trade law.

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