EUROPE

4 Governments Pledge Aid to Airbus

Airbus's chief executive said four European governments have promised almost $1.8 billion in loans to help develop a fuel-efficient jetliner to compete with Boeing's new 787 model. Gustav Humbert said he has aid commitments from the British, French, German and Spanish governments for the new A350. He said Airbus could build the plane without the loans, yet it contends that Chicago-based Boeing is getting U.S. government aid for the 787.

ITALY

Finance Chief Quits; Predecessor Appointed

Economy minister Domenico Siniscalco resigned in a standoff with the Bank of Italy Governor Antonio Fazio. Siniscalco had tried unsuccessfully to persuade Fazio, who has been accused of discriminating against a Dutch bank in a takeover battle, to resign.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi named Siniscalco's predecessor, Giulio Tremonti, who had been forced to resign the post a little over a year ago, to replace Siniscalco. The center-left opposition to Berlusconi's government called for early elections.

TRADE

Brazil Protests U.S. Cotton Subsidies

Brazil accused the United States of noncompliance with a World Trade Organization decision requiring steep cuts in government subsidies for U.S. cotton producers and said it will seek permission to impose retaliatory trade measures.

ARGENTINA

IMF Willing to Discuss New Loan

The International Monetary Fund is willing to negotiate a new agreement with Argentina, Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato said.

The IMF and Argentina would have to resolve differences over economic policy before they replace a $13.3 billion loan agreement that was put on hold last year.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.