Financial Regulatory Forum

COLUMN – Iron ore concentration raises valid concerns: John Kemp

By John Kemp

LONDON, April 7 (Reuters) – In a new twist to the iron ore saga, Brazil’s giant iron ore producer Vale has launched a blistering counter-attack on European steelmakers, accusing them of coordinating their approach to ore negotiations in a manner that would raise issues under European competition law.

The accusations are contained in a letter to the European Commission, details of which have been released on the company’s website.

Vale strongly rejects allegations from the steelmakers it has broken European law in discussions about future supply agreements by exchanging information or pricing strategies with any competitor. All major producers insist the market is ferociously competitive.

SUCKED INTO SOMEONE ELSE’S WAR

Vale has been drawn into the spiralling dispute between the steelmakers and BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto over their proposed joint venture in Western Australia as well as the abrupt change from annual to quarterly contracts referenced to the spot market.

Steelmakers are furious about the near-doubling of ore prices this year as well as the switch in contract terms.

China indicts Rio staff for bribery, commercial secrets

By Ben Blanchard and Chris Buckley

BEIJING, Feb 10 (Reuters) – China has indicted four employees of Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto on charges of bribery and stealing business secrets, setting the stage for a trial in the case that has jangled investor nerves.

The four who are set to stand trial in Shanghai include Australian citizen Stern Hu, state news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday.

If found guilty, they could face up to seven years in jail on the commercial secrets charge, and up to 20 years on the bribery charge, said Zhang Peihong, a lawyer for one of the accused Chinese nationals.

Australia eases foreign investment rules

Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan SYDNEY, Aug 4 (Reuters) – Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan announced an easing of foreign-investment rules on Tuesday, as the nation looked to reassure investors that its door was open despite recent tensions over Chinese investment.  Swan, speaking to a Thomson Reuters Newsmaker event in Sydney, said the rules would be changed to effectively fast-track investments by allowing more of them to go ahead without notification to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). (more…)

  •