WTO Allows U.S. Tariffs on Computer Chips

The World Trade Organization overturned a panel decision that U.S. tariffs on imports of computer memory chips from South Korea breached global trade rules. The appellate body ruled the earlier decision failed to take all evidence into account. The new ruling leaves U.S. measures in place, though it stopped short of saying they were legal.

In December's panel decision in favor of Seoul, the WTO dismissed U.S. claims that Hynix, the world's third-largest producer of memory chips, received illegal subsidies from South Korea's state-controlled banks.


Review of P&G-Gillette Deal Extended

European Union antitrust regulators said they have extended the deadline for an initial review of Procter & Gamble's $57 billion takeover of Gillette to July 15 from July 1 to take account of an offer to divest certain business units. E.U. officials said they received a proposal to ensure the takeover does not spark concerns about competition on the European market. The two companies are planning to sell some of their overlapping tooth-care product lines.

Groups Bid to Launch Satellite Network

European Aeronautic, Defense & Space and Alcatel won permission from the European Union for a joint bid to operate a satellite network that would vie with the U.S. system, ending a contest between groups led by the two companies. The ruling allows the two groups to share billions of euros in costs to launch and run the Galileo road, rail, ship and air-traffic control network.


Minister Favors AIDS Drug Price Challenges

Brazil's health minister encouraged other countries to use the World Trade Organization's rules on intellectual property to challenge pharmaceutical giants in their pricing policy on anti-AIDS drugs. The WTO allows governments to make generic versions of patented drugs under certain circumstances, including a public health crisis. Last week, Brazil threatened to break the patent on Abbott Laboratories' AIDS drug Kaletra on the grounds that the drug's cost was impeding the country's ability to treat people.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.