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It's the Law.

FINANCE

Chile ended the 15% capital gains tax on foreign portfolio investments and officially eliminated the lock-in which, until 1999, forced investors to deposit a percentage of investments with the Central Bank. Foreign portfolio capital can enter now without prior approval. www.minhda.cl; www.bcentral.cl

Argentina slapped a 0.25% tax on most financial transactions, including bank withdrawals and deposits (except direct deposit of paychecks). www.standardpoor.com; www.lanacion.com.ar

Argentina imposed a 35% tariff on consumption goods from non-Mercosur countries, the maximum permitted under World Trade Organization provisions, but ended a 13% tariff on imported capital goods. After criticism from Brazil, Argentina agreed to continue the 14% Mercosur Common External Tariff on telecom and computer equipment. www.wto.org; www.jb.com.br

ANTI-TRUST

PepsiCo went to court in Chile to block Coca-Cola's takeover of Cadbury Schweppes. The takeover would make Chile the only country--except for Panama--where one bottler serves both soft drink manufacturers. Pepsi fears Cadbury Schweppes could leak confidential Pepsi information to Coke.

TELECOMMUNICATION

Brasil Telecom sued Telecom Italia, claiming the European company led it to pay Spain's Telefonica an inflated US$800 million for Brazil's fixed-line phone company CRT. The lawsuit also says Telecom Italia and a subsidiary--the second-largest shareholder of Brasil Telecom--used confidential information from Brasil Telecom board meetings to win a wireless license in south central Brazil. Brasil Telecom had bid on the same license.

ANTI-DUMPING

International Paper Co. lost its challenge to dumping charges in Mexico. The company claimed it was not subject to punitive import duties for a 12-month period ending in November 1999. But Mexico's Ministry of Economy upheld a nearly 12% duty on bond paper imports. www.se.gob.mx

PRODUCT LIABILITY

A U.S. court threw out Ecuador's lawsuit against Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds and other tobacco companies, saying it had no jurisdiction in the case. Ecuador had wanted the tobacco companies to pay for the cost of treating sick smokers. Ten other tobacco lawsuits, including suits brought by Venezuela, Honduras and five states in Brazil, are still pending in U.S. courts.

SOURCE: National Law center for Inter-American Free Trade (natlaw@natlaw.com); Translegal Inc. (translegal@earthlink.net)
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Publication:Latin Trade
Date:Jul 1, 2001
Words:365
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