China and Chile Agree to Drop Most Duties

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Chilean President Ricardo Lagos agreed to end duties on most trade between the two nations. The two leaders signed an agreement at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders' summit in Busan, South Korea.

China is strengthening its ties with Latin America as the region supplies more commodities to its expanding economy, including copper, iron ore and soybeans. The total trade between the two countries last year was $5.4 billion, up 42 percent from the previous year.


VNU Calls Off Takeover of IMS Health

Dutch publishing company VNU called off its $6.8 billion takeover of IMS Health because of opposition from its shareholders. The deal had been in doubt since early October, when a group of investors said it would not endorse the acquisition because it was too risky and too expensive.

VNU said it would pay a $15 million termination fee to the Fairfield, Conn., medical-communications firm. It also said its chief executive, Rob van den Bergh, will step down as soon as a suitable replacement can be found.


Plans Outlined for Mexican Low-Cost Carrier

A joint venture to launch a new, low-cost airline in Mexico modeled after Brazil's successful Gol will begin next year with domestic flights and an eye toward expansion to U.S. destinations, executives said.

New details about the airline were presented at a meeting for Gol shareholders in Sao Paulo, where executives said they plan to mimic Gol's business plan of starting small and expanding as demand grows for cheap, no-frills flights. To start the airline, Gol will team up with Mexico's Inversiones y Tecnicas Aeroportuarias.


Starbucks Wins Back Its Brand in Russia

Starbucks regained the right to use its brand on coffee houses in Russia after a protracted legal battle with a trademark squatter who was asking for $600,000 for the logo, Russia's intellectual property agency, Rospatent, said. The case has been seen as a litmus test of Russia's commitment to fighting intellectual-property violations. A lawyer for OOO Starbucks, the Russian company that had held the trademark rights, said he would appeal.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.