World Scene

CHINA

Aquino urges China to boost investment

BEIJING — The Philippine president urged Chinese companies on Wednesday to invest more in his country despite a territorial spat and pledged they would receive open and equal access.

President Benigno Aquino III, starting a weeklong visit to China, said the economic climate is ideal for Chinese companies to invest in the Philippines‘ growing tourism, agriculture and infrastructure industries.

China is an economic power. I now invite the Chinese business community to take part in this opportunity to invest in an emerging economic force in Southeast Asia,” Mr. Aquino told the Philippines-China Economic and Trade Forum.

About 300 business leaders joined Mr. Aquino on the trip to China, which lags the U.S. and Japan as the Philippines‘ third-largest trading partner.

The two sides signed an agreement Wednesday on a five-year plan to boost trade sixfold to $60 billion. They also agreed to promote tourism and language training.

PORTUGAL

Government cranks up debt-reduction effort

LISBONPortugal's government plans “unprecedented” spending cuts next year to meet debt-reduction targets agreed in return for a $112.7 billion bailout, the country’s finance minister said Wednesday.

Portugal has to abide by debt targets to qualify for bailout loans from its European partners and the International Monetary Fund, which are conducting quarterly reviews of the country’s progress before disbursing the money in portions.

The rescue package spared debt-heavy Portugal from bankruptcy, and aimed to ease Europe’s sovereign debt crisis, but Lisbon has struggled to keep its fiscal recovery plan on track.

It previously announced it is levying a one-off tax, taking 50 percent of workers’ Christmas bonus, to help reach the 5.9 percent target for the budget deficit this year. The bonus is equivalent to a month’s pay.

MEXICO

Government opens probe of deadly fire

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