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Last Update on November 28, 2014 08:26 GMT
GENEVA (AP) -- The World Trade Organization has pulled off a major deal that could boost global commerce by $1 trillion annually after years of negotiation.
Diplomats says the deal approved Thursday is the first multilateral trade agreement in the organization's 20-year history. It will go into effect after all 160 member countries ratify, expected sometime next year.
A U.S.-India deal this month over food stockpiling by India cleared the way for the agreement that U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said "preserved the letter and spirit of the package of decisions" reached at a WTO summit last December in Bali.
European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said the deal will "lift millions out of poverty."
VIENNA (AP) -- OPEC oil ministers have decided to keep their present output target at 30 million barrels a day, despite an oversupply of crude and plunging prices.
The decision Thursday was expected. OPEC oil power Saudi Arabia had indicated before the meeting that it favors the status-quo.
The Saudis are the top producers within the 12-nation organization and effectively decide the cartel's policy.
Some less well-off members had favored a cut, to reduce supplies and push prices back up. But because of booming shale production in the U.S, that would not have made a sizable dent in supply.
TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's inflation rate fell to a six-month low, highlighting the difficulty Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces in his campaign to overcome deflation in the world's third-largest economy.
The core consumer price index, excluding fresh foods, rose 2.9 percent in October from a year earlier, according to data released Friday. Excluding the impact of a 3 percentage point sales tax hike in April, it rose 0.9 percent.
The tax hike broadsided the recovery as consumers and companies reined in spending after splashing out early in the year. Retail spending and household incomes also fell in October from a year earlier.
Other data for October were mixed. Industrial output edged up from the month before but fell 1 percent from a year earlier. The unemployment rate eased slightly.
NEW YORK (AP) -- It's what's quickly becoming a new holiday tradition, gift shopping on Thanksgiving.
Just a few years ago when some stores started opening late on the holiday, the move was met with resistance from workers and shoppers who believed the day should be sacred.
Last year, more than dozen major retailers opened at some point on Thanksgiving evening. And this year, at least half of them opened earlier in the evening.
The Thanksgiving openings are one way retailers are trying to compete for Americans' holiday dollars. Retailers used to focus sales promotions on Black Friday. But increasingly, they've been pushing promotions earlier to grab deal-hungry shoppers' attention.
The National Retail Federation expects 25.6 million shoppers to take advantage of the Thanksgiving openings and it's starting to take a bite out of Black Friday business. Indeed, sales dropped 13.2 percent to $9.74 billion on Black Friday last year.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- Argentina's tax agency charged HSBC bank Thursday with helping more than 4,000 Argentines evade taxes by placing their money in secret Swiss accounts.
The head of the country's AFIP tax agency, Ricardo Echegaray, said Argentine citizens evaded about $3 billion in taxes that were handled by intermediaries through a network of offshore accounts.
Echegaray alleged that some of those accounts in Geneva are owned by HSBC Argentina's president and other bank executives. He did not say if the bank's operations had been suspended in Argentina.
AFIP said it got its information from France, where HSBC was placed under formal investigation last week for possibly aiding tax evasion. The banking company has also been charged in Belgium with organized fiscal fraud.
HSBC said it respects Argentine laws and has committed no wrongdoing.
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