TRADE

U.S., China Near Agreement on Textiles

Negotiators are close to a comprehensive agreement to limit imports of Chinese clothing and textiles into the United States, said David Spooner, the administration's special textiles negotiator.

U.S. clothing and textile manufacturers are pushing for an agreement to halt a surge in Chinese imports that began with the lifting of quotas that had been in place for three decades.

BRAZIL

U.S. Orders Tariffs on Orange Juice

The U.S. Commerce Department imposed tariffs of up to 60 percent on orange juice imports from Brazil, agreeing with Florida growers that some Brazilian producers are selling orange juice below market value.

VENEZUELA

Oil Company Plans to Spend $56 Billion

Petroleos de Venezuela, South America's largest oil company, said it expects to spend $56 billion on the country's oil and natural-gas industry through 2010, almost doubling oil production capacity. The government-owned company previously estimated that $37 billion would be spent. The company did not give any reason for the increase.

Planned investments include building three refineries and expanding two.

AUSTRALIA

Plan Would Improve Rural Phone Access

Lawmakers endorsed a multibillion-dollar plan to improve telephone service to rural customers when former monopoly Telstra is sold, Prime Minister John Howard said.

Opponents of Telstra's $23 billion sale say getting a reliable phone or Internet line in remote settlements might be more difficult if the company is fully privatized. Members of Parliament in the governing coalition agreed to a $2.4 billion package to improve rural Internet and phone connections.

Nestle said first-half profit increased 32 percent, to $2.93 billion, as it cut costs and sold more ice cream and Purina pet food in the United States and Latin America. Revenue rose 2.4 percent, to $34.61 billion.

Compiled from news service reports.

Sun Jiwen of China's foreign-trade department, left, and U.S. negotiator David Spooner at a meeting in San Francisco.