China rejects U.S. concerns, pledges to boost imports

A Chinese official defended the country’s trade record Monday as a top economic adviser to President Obama visited Beijing amid renewed pressure by American lawmakers over Chinese currency controls.

China’s deputy trade envoy, Chong Quan, rejected complaints that Beijing intentionally boosts its trade surplus by promoting exports while holding down imports. At a trade forum, Chong repeated promises to boost imports of resources and high-tech equipment and to ease costs for importers, but announced no new initiatives.

Chong spoke as U.S. National Economic Council Director Larry Summers was in Beijing to meet China’s top trade official, Vice Premier Wang Qishan. No agenda was announced, but their talks were likely to include U.S. complaints that a weak yuan gives Chinese exporters an unfair price advantage.

European Union officials to discuss new bank levy

European Union finance ministers are set to discuss the possibility of introducing a levy on banks as they gather today in Brussels in an atmosphere more benign than when they last met in July.

Worries about the European economy have been eased by a run of better-than-expected economic data, progress by Greece in strengthening its bailed-out government finances, and the results of stress tests on 91 EU banks.

The most apocalyptic scenarios openly discussed a few months ago, such as the collapse of the euro currency, have been put on the back burner. But policymakers remain wary that the debt crisis could flare up again, particularly as the 16 governments that use the euro are set to issue more debt this month than in August in a continuing test of how bond markets view government finances.

 

Ousted HP exec considered for No. 2 position at Oracle

Mark Hurd, ousted a month ago as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co., the world’s largest computer maker, is being considered for the No. 2 job at software giant Oracle Corp.

Although the details are still being finalized, Hurd is likely to join his longtime friend and sometime tennis partner, Larry Ellison, the outspoken CEO of Oracle who blasted HP for the move, according to several people knowledgeable about the discussions.

Hurd had been credited with nearly doubling HP’s market value to $100 billion. But his record became tarnished after an HP contractor accused him of sexual harassment and the company found that some of his expense reports were inaccurate.

Reliance, GTL call off deal to create new telecom firm

A deal that would have more than halved the debt of Reliance Communications Ltd. and created an $11 billion independent telecom tower company in India has fallen through, Reliance and GTL Infrastructure Ltd. said Monday.

In June, India’s GTL agreed to buy the phone towers of Reliance Communications subsidiary Reliance Infratel Ltd. But in filings to India’s stock exchanges Monday, GTL and Reliance Communications — India’s second-largest mobile phone company — said they have called off the transaction.

Company officials declined to say why.

 

Toyota Prius once again top-selling car in Japan

Toyota’s Prius was the top-selling car in Japan during August – the 16th straight month – as incentives for green vehicles continued to boost sales of the hybrid.

Toyota sold 22,263 of the cars during the month, enough to secure the top spot ahead of Honda’s Fit compact at 17,258 vehicles, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said Monday.

But it was the lowest monthly total this year for the hybrid, sales of which may fade once government tax breaks and incentives run out at the end of September.