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Ex-CEO of Texas Tech Firm Admits He Was Russian Agent

Alexander Fishenko pleads guilty to illegal shipping of high-tech product to Russia

(Newser) - The ex-CEO and owner of a now-defunct Houston microelectronics company could be sentenced to more than 100 years in prison after pleading guilty yesterday to being an unregistered Russian agent, accused of illegally exporting high-tech product worth millions to his home country over a 10-year period, the Wall Street Journal ... More »

In 40-Year First, US Paves Way for Oil Exports

Administration allowing two firms leeway on 1970s ban

(Newser) - Since the 1970s, the US has largely banned the exporting of unrefined oil. But the rules put in place after that decade's Arab oil embargo are changing: The Commerce Department is allowing two companies to export condensate, a form of ultralight oil that can be turned into gasoline, diesel,... More »

Japan PM Chucks Ban on Exporting Weapons

Country looks to maintain regional power balance

(Newser) - In 1967, Japan banned weapons exports—first to selected countries, then worldwide. Now, PM Shinzo Abe is ditching those rules, the New York Times reports. A key reason: As China exhibits growing military strength, Abe wants "to maintain the balance of power in the region," an expert says.... More »

China Tops US in Global Trade

Chinese end America's post-war trading dominance

(Newser) - Hello, empire? China announced that it has surpassed the US in at least one economic category, becoming the world's top trading nation in goods. China says that last year its combined imports and exports barely edged out America's, $3.87 trillion to $3.82 trillion, the Guardian reports.... More »

Manufacturing Orders Slump in Asia, Plunge in Europe

Leading indicator reveals Western economies may be worse than thought

(Newser) - Purchasing Managers' Index reports from Asia and Europe—a critical economic indicator—showed big drops in June, in a strong sign that the economies of Europe and the US could be weaker than thought, the Guardian . Despite European leaders agreeing on a bank bailout scheme last week, Europe's PMI... More »

US, South Korea Cut Trade Deal

Could mean tens of thousands of jobs for US

(Newser) - The Obama administration has completed a free-trade agreement with South Korea that it expects to jack US exports by billions and create at least 70,000 jobs. The deal, the largest since NAFTA 16 years ago, was reached yesterday after trade reps for both sides reached a deal on automobile... More »

China Overtakes Germany as World's Largest Exporter

Rebound to spur calls for currency revaluation

(Newser) - China's exports rose 17.7% in December, ending a 13-month drop in trade and stealing the title of 'world's largest exporter' from Germany. The year-on-year surge is seen as a sign that China's hard-hit manufacturers have made it through the financial storm. But it's not all good news for China,... More »

China Accuses US of Dumping Chicken, Auto Parts

Latest targets: chickens and tires

(Newser) - US-China trade tensions escalated yesterday when Beijing announced it was investigating whether the US dumped auto parts and chicken products onto the Chinese market, the LA Times reports. An expert calls the retaliatory move, which comes days after the White House slapped a 35% import tariff on Chinese tires, "... More »

Economy Shrinks Faster Than Expected in 1st Quarter

6.1% pace fueled by biz cutbacks, export drop

(Newser) - The US economy shrank at a worse-than-expected 6.1% pace at the start of this year as sharp cutbacks by businesses and the biggest drop in US exports in 40 years overwhelmed a rebound in consumer spending. Today's Commerce Department report dashed hopes that the recession's grip on the country... More »

China-India Friction Rises Amid Downturn

But tensions persist between two boom economies

(Newser) - With US demand shrinking, China is looking to India to keep its exports buoyant and buy everything from iron ore to stuffed animals. But although China is its largest trading partner, India's not happy: this year it banned toy imports for safety reasons, and the country has lodged a dozen... More »

The Next Economic Victim: Globalization

Plunging exports, protectionism undercut 'golden age'

(Newser) - World trade has quadrupled since 1982, but economic woes are eating away at globalization’s “golden age” as exports fall, foreign workers head home, and governments seek to protect their own, the Washington Post reports. “The collapse of globalization is absolutely possible,” said a US economist. “... More »

Sony Swings to First Annual Loss in 14 Years

Global downturn, strong yen reverse earlier expectations

(Newser) - Sony announced today that it would go down to its first annual loss in 14 years, after having forecast just months ago that it would turn a profit. The Japanese electronics giant said it expected to lose $1.7 billion, the result of declining demand from the global recession. The... More »

Mexico Halts Shipments From Top US Meat Plants

Move is seen as retaliation for country-of-origin labeling initiative

(Newser) - Mexico has temporarily banned meat from 30 US plants run by some of the largest American meat companies, Reuters reports. The Mexican government says violations in standards of packaging, labeling, and transport conditions occasioned the ban, but many US analysts suspect Mexico is registering its dissatisfaction with an American law... More »

Plunging Exports Roil Asia

Declining global demand sends shock across the continent.

(Newser) - Asia, the manufacturing powerhouse of the last few decades, is experiencing a plunge in exports unprecedented in modern history, the Washington Post reports. Japan, the world’s second-largest economy, reported yesterday that exports dipped 27% in November, while Thailand’s exports shed 19%, the most in 17 years. Taiwan’s... More »

Surging Whiskey Sales Inspire Eco-Distillery

Demand for whiskey hits an all-time high

(Newser) - Worldwide demand for whiskey has prompted Scotland to start building a new eco-friendly distillery, the Guardian reports. The huge, industrial-scale plant will emit only 15% of the usual CO2 and recycle all of its water; its leftover liquids will be used to generate heat. "The important point is that... More »

Chinese Exports See First Drop in 7 Years

Unexpected 2.2% fall has analysts fearing major crisis for powerful economy

(Newser) - China’s exports have taken a sudden, unexpected hit from the global economic crisis, possibly an early indication that the world’s fourth-largest economy is on the verge of crisis. Exports, expected to rise at least 15%, shrunk instead by 2.2%, marking the first such fall in 7 years... More »

Detroit Collapse Would Fuel Mexican Crisis

Mexican auto industry, economy tied to America's

(Newser) - A Big Three collapse could spell disaster for Mexico, where the auto industry—and the economy—is tightly bound to America’s, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Mexico sends 80% of its auto-related exports to the US, and its auto industry employs more than 500,000 workers, many of whom... More »

Rally Fizzles Despite Oil's Drop

Traders becoming more focused on economic strength than fuel

(Newser) - An early rally faded today and the markets closed with mild losses, the Wall Street Journal reports. Oil fell $5.75 as Gulf Coast oil-production facilities appeared to have emerged mostly unscathed from Hurricane Gustav, but the news failed to give equities lasting momentum. The Dow closed down 26.63,... More »

GDP Grew More in Q2 Than First Reported

Commerce Department revision shows healthier growth

(Newser) - GDP growth was higher than initially reported in the second quarter, the Wall Street Journal reports. Commerce Department revisions put the increase at a seasonally adjusted 3.3% annual rate—the original estimate was 1.9%. Businesses decreased their inventories less than previously thought. At the same time, exports rose... More »

China Overtakes US as Top Market for Japan Goods

Exports to US from Japan fall for 11th consecutive month

(Newser) - China imported $11.8 billion in Japanese goods in July, MarketWatch reports, barely surpassing the US as the world’s largest importer of products and services from Japan for the first time. The 11.5% drop in shipments to the US was the 11th consecutive month of declines; exports to... More »

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