Thursday, July 29, 2010

Joint Press Statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Indian Finance Minister

Union Finance Minister, Shri Pranab Mukherjee and the UK Chancellor of Exchequer, Mr. George Osborne had a bilateral meeting, here today. Indian delegation, led by Finance Minister and UK delegation led by Mr. George Osborne had discussions on boosting the trade and investment in their economies and agreed to continue to work together in the G-20 and other international financial institutions for strong, sustainable and balanced growth. During the meeting it was decided that the next round of bilateral dialogue will be held in London in 2011.

Following is the joint press statement issued after the meeting between the UK delegation led by its Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Indian side by Union Finance Minister:

“We - Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee - met today for the bilateral meeting. Today's meeting, which comes alongside the summit between our Prime Ministers, demonstrates the importance we place on our bilateral relationship and the ties that bind our economies.

We are positive about the longer-term prospects for the UK and Indian economies and for the potential mutual benefits of closer economic co-operation. The global economic outlook remains uncertain and we will continue to work together in the G20 and other International Financial Institutions on our shared international economic challenges, including through the G20 Framework for Strong Sustainable and Balanced Growth. Further reform of International Financial Institutions to improve their effectiveness, legitimacy and accountability remains a shared priority. We welcome the recent reforms of the World Bank and are committed to play our part in delivering a comprehensive package of IMF quota and governance reforms at the G20 Summit in Seoul, this November.

We discussed how to boost trade and investment in our economies, and reaffirmed our shared belief that open markets, operating through a free and fair trading regime, will be vital to sustaining future prosperity.

We had a valuable discussion on the importance of reforming the global financial system to reduce crisis to the global economy going forward. We agreed that the UK and India would collaborate in the G20, Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and Financial Stability Board fora in key areas of financial sector reform in the coming months.

We agreed on the importance of our two governments working together to boost business opportunities between the UK and India, including actions that both governments could take to support our growing trade and investment links. We invited members of the visiting UK business delegation to join our meeting to hear their views on how to strengthen our commercial ties and on how businesses can play a role in helping governments meet common challenges, including on financing infrastructure development.

Today’s dialogue reaffirmed the continued strength of the UK-India economic and financial relationship. We agreed to meet again for the next round of the dialogue in London in 2011 and that we should further strengthen our Economic and Financial Dialogue to deliver on the great potential in our relationship.”
Huge Potential Exists in Infrastructure Sector: Anand Sharma

Speaking at an interactive UK-India Economic discussion here today, Shri Anand Sharma, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, stated that India is a growing economy and it is one of the largest markets in the world and surely in a time of economic gloom, would be a factor of stability through exports and investments. He added that “we have huge demands of infrastructure and all projections indicate that we will be in a position to absorb US $ 1.7 trillion in infrastructure over the next decade. British companies have established expertise in building world-class infrastructure and we will look forward to greater partnership, greater collaboration and assistance in this endeavour”. Shri Sharma stated that India is one the largest producer of food grains, fruits and vegetables in the world, yet the absence of robust infrastructure in the back end constrain our growth. “Food processing industry is another area which I would like to give a huge thrust in this new partnership.”

During the interaction, the Minister observed: “as our economy develops, we are likely to add 500 million people in the work force in the next decade. The imperative of training them and making them equipped is an area where partnership with UK will be mutually rewarding. Recognizing this, the National Skill Development collaboration initiative has been taken by our government. We have also consciously given a policy thrust to manufacturing for we know that a large number of this work force will be engaged not just in the service sector, but in value added manufacturing”. In our quest for increasing the share of manufacturing from 17% to 25%, we would expect long-term investment from British companies to establish manufacturing bases in India to serve not just the Indian market but look at larger Asian markets.

Shri Sharma emphasized that we must be together as two vibrant democracies in building and strengthening institutions which are democratic, representative and robust and added that the most tangible pillar of our cooperation is the bilateral cooperation and economic engagement. “Collaborative research and institutional partnerships between India and UK will ensure that together we develop these technologies for adapting to new era of low carbon emission growth. Collaboration for innovation will be the defining feature of the new generation partnership between India and Great Britain”, the Minister said.

Later, Shri Sharma had a bilateral meeting with Dr. Vincent Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, UK, followed by an MOU signing by both sides with regard to bilateral cooperation and economic engagement between the two countries.
Index of Six Core Industries (Base: 1993-94=100) – June 2010 

The Index of Six core industries having a combined weight of 26.7 per cent in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) with base 1993-94 stood at 258.1 (provisional) in June 2010 and registered a growth of 3.4% (provisional) compared to 6.3% registered in June 2009. During April-June 2010-11, six core industries registered a growth of 4.6% (provisional) as against 4.3% during the corresponding period of the previous year.

Crude Oil

Crude Oil production (weight of 4.17% in the IIP) registered a growth of 6.8% (provisional) in June 2010 compared to a growth rate of 4.0% in June 2009. The Crude Oil production registered a growth of 5.9 (provisional) during April-June 2010-11 compared to (-)1.3% during the same period of 2009-10.

Petroleum Refinery Products

Petroleum refinery production (weight of 2.00% in the IIP) registered a growth of 2.9% (provisional) in June 2010 compared to growth of (-)3.8% in June 2009. The Petroleum refinery production registered a growth of 5.3% (provisional) during April-June 2010-11 compared to (-)4.2% during the same period of 2009-10.


Coal production (weight of 3.2% in the IIP) registered a growth of 0.9% (provisional) in June 2010 compared to growth rate of 15.2% in June 2009. Coal production grew by (-)0.4% (provisional) during April-June 2010-11 compared to an increase of 13.0% during the same period of 2009-10.


Electricity generation (weight of 10.17% in the IIP) registered a growth of 3.4 % (provisional) in June 2010 compared to a growth rate of 7.7% in June 2009. Electricity generation grew by 5.6% (provisional) during April-June 2010-11 compared to 5.8% during the same period of 2009-10.


Cement production (weight of 1.99% in the IIP) registered a growth of 3.6% (provisional) in June 2010 compared to 12.7% in June 2009. Cement Production grew by 7.0% (provisional) during April-June 2010-11 compared to an increase of 12.1% during the same period of 2009-10.

Finished (carbon) steel

Finished (carbon) Steel production (weight of 5.13% in the IIP) registered a growth of 3.5% (provisional) in June 2010 compared to 3.6% (estimated) in June 2009. Finished (carbon) Steel production grew by 3.6% (provisional) during April-June 2010-11 compared to an increase of 1.7% during the same period of 2009-10.

N.B: Data are provisional. Revision has been made based on revised data obtained.

Efforts to curb foreign bribery remain inadequate

New report shows the need to improve enforcement

Berlin, 28 July 2010

The number of countries enforcing a ban on foreign bribery has shown continuous progress in the last six years, with countries representing more than half of world exports taking action, according to a new report by Transparency International (TI). However, there are still twenty countries that have taken little or no action.

TI’s report shows that 7 of the 36 countries evaluated are actively enforcing the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention to which they are party. These countries represent approximately 30 per cent of world exports. The increase from four to seven actively enforcing countries since TI’s 2009 report is a very positive development. The 2010 TI report also shows moderate enforcement in nine other countries which account for 21 per cent of exports. The 20 countries with little or no enforcement represent about 15 per cent of world exports.

Denmark, Italy and the United Kingdom have advanced from moderate to active enforcement. Argentina has advanced to moderate enforcement. Canada, a member of the Group of 8 industrialised nations, has little or no enforcement.

In the six years since TI began reviewing implementation of the OECD ban on foreign bribery, enforcement has doubled from eight to sixteen countries. That represents important progress. However, it is disturbing that 20 countries still show little or no enforcement. The difficult economic environment is no excuse for OECD governments to ignore their collective commitment to stop foreign bribery. To the contrary, cleaning up foreign bribery must be regarded as a key part of the reforms needed to overcome the worldwide recession.

One third of world exports come from countries that are not party to the OECD Convention. The increasingly important role played by China, India and Russia in the global economy cannot be ignored. As their share of world trade is growing, it is essential that these countries play by the same rules as other major exporters. TI urges the OECD to expedite its ongoing efforts for additional governments to join the convention.

To make real gains in the fight against foreign bribery, the OECD must exert high-level political pressure on lagging countries coupled with peer pressure from the leaders of countries that are actively enforcing the convention.

Key Results


Percentage of world trade


Active Enforcement ( 7 )


Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States

Moderate Enforcement ( 9 )


Argentina, Belgium, Finland, France, Japan, Korea (South), Netherlands, Spain, Sweden

Little or No Enforcement ( 20)


Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey

The last few years have seen a substantial increase in the number of foreign bribery cases that have been resolved by negotiated settlements. While settlements can avoid the long delays, high costs and unpredictable outcomes of litigation, it is essential that settlements be accompanied by full transparency. TI urges OECD governments to adopt procedures for independent judicial reviews, the publication of settlement terms, evidence, and other measures to ensure satisfactory punishment of guilty corporations and individuals.

The 2010 Progress Report on the OECD Anti-bribery Convention is the sixth in a yearly series and examines the enforcement performance of 36 of the 38 countries that have ratified the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. It is based on information provided by TI experts and includes detailed case studies of prominent foreign bribery cases involving multinational companies. The 2010 report also covers country performance in areas such as the adequacy of laws and systems, the requirements and enforcement of export credit agencies, and access to information on foreign bribery cases

Siemens to provide a double strand wire rod mill for Xuanhua

Xuanhua Iron & Steel (Group) Co., China, has contracted with Siemens VAI for the supply of a double strand wire rod mill. The new plant will enable the steelmaker to enter markets for higher quality products. Delivery is scheduled for the first quarter of 2011. This is the second Siemens project for a subsidiary company of the Hebei Iron & Steel Group in recent months.
Siemens to provide demineralization and condensate polishing equipment for new power plant in Saudi Arabia

Hanwha Engineering & Construction (HENC) in Korea has selected Siemens to provide demineralization equipment and condensate polishing systems for the new Marafiq Yanbu power plant in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. The new plant will allow Marafiq to increase its power generation capacity to better serve industries based in the cities of Yanbu and Jubail. The multi-million dollar water treatment systems are scheduled for start-up in 2011
Siemens receives rolling mill order from ATI for the world's most powerful hot-strip mill to roll highly diversified and sophisticated steels and alloys

Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (ATI) awarded a major contract to Siemens VAI Metals Technologies GmbH to design, engineer and supply a complete integrated hot-rolling mill on a process turn-key basis. The new mill will be part of a new advanced specialty metals hot-rolling and processing facility and will be built at ATI Allegheny Ludlum in Brackenridge, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. It will be capable of rolling a wide range of stainless steels and other specialty alloys at widths exceeding 2,000 mm. The rolling forces will be the highest ever to be applied in a hot-strip mill. The numerous technological packages to be included in the supply scope will assure that the highest technological demands will be met.



Partners with Citibank, HDFC Bank, Standard Chartered and ICICI Bank to offer the scheme


New Delhi, India, July 27, 2010 – Nokia announced the launch of its Easy EMI scheme that will allow customers to buy their favourite Nokia handset and accessories and pay for it in three equal monthly installments (EMI) at zero percent interest. Customers can purchase a Nokia handset and accessories in the price range of Rs.7,000– Rs.35,000  under this offer. The scheme will be available through over 176 Nokia Priority Partners (NPPs) across eight cities Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmadabad and Chandigarh.


Nokia has tied up with Citibank, HDFC Bank, Standard Chartered and ICICI Bank for the Easy EMI scheme and the offer will be available to consumers with credit cards (only) from any of these four banks. The four banks together have the target consumer base of 14.5 million providing Nokia an opportunity to extend the service to a large consumer base.


Shankar Subramanian, Head Retail, Nokia India says, “Mobile customers today are far more evolved in their aspiration, expectation and usage of a mobile handset. This trend is visible across segments from entry to the high end. Our insight shows that many customers don’t end up buying their preferred handset model as it tends to be marginally above their pre decided budget, making upfront payment difficult. Our easy EMI scheme at 0% interest addresses that challenge and will allow customers to actually buy the handset they desire.”


Service charges for the Easy EMI scheme will be borne by Nokia and the customer or the NPPs will bear zero cost on the EMI transaction. All NPPs across eight cities will have Point of Sale (POS) terminals from all the four partner banks allowing customers the choice of making the transaction with a credit card from any of the four banks.


About Nokia


Nokia is a pioneer in mobile telecommunications and the world’s leading maker of mobile devices. Today, we are connecting people in new and different ways - fusing advanced mobile technology with personalized services to enable people to stay close to what matters to them. We also provide comprehensive digital map information through NAVTEQ; and equipment, solutions and services for communications networks through Nokia Siemens Networks.

Siemens to modernize long-product rolling mill for Korean special steel producer

Siemens VAI Metals Technologies has received an order from Posco Specialty Steel Co. Ltd., a Korean special steel producer, to modernize the long-product rolling mill in its Changwon Works. The plant will be equipped with a new breakdown mill, and existing parts of the plant will be brought up to the state-of-the-art. Furthermore, new electrical and automation equipment will be installed throughput the entire production plant. The order is worth more than ten million euros, and the modernization is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2011.

Mechel Announces Launch of a New High Quality and Stainless Steel Production Complex by the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Plant

Moscow, Russia – July 23, 2010 – Mechel OAO (NYSE: MTL), one of the leading Russian mining and metals companies, announces that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin launched a high quality and stainless steel production complex in the arc-furnace melting shop #6 of Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Plant (CMP).

While launching the new production complex in the arc-furnace melting shop #6, the Russian Prime Minister was accompanied by Igor Sechin, Vice Prime Minister, Victor Khristenko, Minister of Industry and Trade, Nikolay Vinnichenko, the Plenipotentiary of the President of Russian Federation in Ural Federal Region, Mikhail Yurevich, Governor of the Chelyabinsk Region, Igor Zyuzin, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mechel OAO, Andrei Deineko, Chief Executive Officer of Mechel Steel Management OOO, and Sergey Malyshev, Managing Director of CMP.

The Russian Prime Minister’s introduction to the plant started with a presentation of CMP and the project for renovation of the arc-furnace melting shop #6 which includes just-commissioned complex for production of high quality and stainless steel. Sergey Malyshev, Managing Director of CMP, described current situation at the plant, focusing on investment programs being implemented as well as CMP’s capacities utilization level, which currently exceeds precrisis levels by 10%.

Then the Prime Minister pushed the start button of the high quality and stainless steel production complex. Mr. Putin examined production sites of the three machines constituting the complex. Mechel’s management described the production process of the two machines for out-of-furnace steel processing – ladle furnace # 2 and vacuum degasser as well as the main machine of the complex – slab concaster #2 that produced its first slab today.

Commissioning of the new complex would result in improvement of casted steel quality, boost in annual output of slabs from 600 thousand tonnes to 1.2 million tonnes, significant product range expansion and decrease in consumption of raw materials and power. The new equipment will not only ensure better quality of products but would also allow CMP to increase output of plates and coils of corrosion-resistant steel grades, competing in quality with the products of the leading European producers, after reconstruction of the plant’s rolling facilities.

Investments in the project totaled 3.6 billion rubles.

Igor Zyuzin, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mechel OAO’s, commented on the event: “Implementation of this project would allow CMP to start production of new types of stainless flat long products used in the most important industries of our country such as defence, transport machinery, construction. At the present moment these products are not manufactured by Russian metallurgical plants. Thus, commissioning of this new complex would result in the decrease in the share of the imported products and complete elimination of import in a number of product groups.”

Mechel is one of the leading Russian companies. Its business includes four segments: mining, steel, ferroalloy and power. Mechel unites producers of coal, iron ore concentrate, nickel, steel, ferrochrome, ferrosilicon, rolled products, hardware, heat and electric power. Mechel products are marketed domestically and internationally.

Apache Announces Pricing of Equity Offerings

HOUSTON, July 22, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX News Network/ -- Apache Corporation (NYSE, Nasdaq: APA) today announced the pricing of offerings of common stock and depositary shares raising approximately $3.1 billion with underwriters' options that may bring in up to an additional $469 million.

Apache said it has priced its offering of 23 million shares of common stock at a public offering price of $88.00 per share, or approximately $2.0 billion. The size of the common stock offering was increased from the previously announced 21 million shares.

Apache also sold 22 million depositary shares for $1.1 billion. Each depositary share represents a 1/20th interest in a share of Apache's 6.00% Mandatory Convertible Preferred Stock, Series D, with an initial liquidation preference of $1,000 per share (equivalent to $50 liquidation preference per depositary share).

Apache has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 3.45 million additional shares of its common stock and up to 3.3 million additional depositary shares.

Goldman, Sachs & Co., BofA Merrill Lynch, Citi and J.P. Morgan were joint book-running managers for the offerings.

Settlement of the common stock and depositary share offerings is expected to occur on July 28, 2010, subject to customary conditions.

Apache Corporation is an oil and gas exploration and production company with operations in the United States, Canada, Egypt, the United Kingdom North Sea, Australia and Argentina.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Civil engineering students to showcase their

design skills in national competition


Kolkata, July 21, 2010: Rapidly changing developments in the field of civil engineering have generated the need for young and trained engineers particularly in the research and development area. Fulfilling this need, at least partially, is a national-level competition organized by INSDAG (Institute for Steel Development and Growth), a non-profit making body established by the ministry of steel, government of India and leading steel producers of the country.

Explaining the rationale of the competition, Mr Sushim Banerjee, director-general of INSDAG said: “Our idea is to give students a platform to demonstrate their talent. It also gives them an opportunity to interact with industry experts and gain insights into the required skill sets and ways to stay abreast of technological advancements in civil engineering worldwide.”

The competition, which is now into its tenth year, seeks to recognize and reward talented students of civil/structural engineering in India for excellence and innovation in structural steel design. This year’s theme ‘A steel-intensive foot over-bridge’ is very topical and inspired by projects which are currently in great demand in the country.

Sixteen individuals/groups (four each from the east, west, north and south zones) from different engineering colleges have been shortlisted for the final round in Kolkata to be held on July 27, 2010.  The presentations to be made in the final round will be judged by the central selection committee comprising four zonal jury members and Dr Bratish Sengupta, retired professor of civil engineering, Jadavpur University. The top five entries will receive cash prizes and a scroll of honour.

TWIN elevators for hospital in South Korea

Much shorter waiting times after modernization by ThyssenKrupp Elevator

The worldwide success of the innovative TWIN elevator system from ThyssenKrupp Elevator continues. Two TWINs and one conventional elevator are being installed as part of a modernization project at Ajou University Hospital in the South Korean city of Suwon. After the replacement of three traditional single elevators that have reached their capacity limits, five cabs will be available, allowing significantly more passengers to be transported in the same amount of space. Thanks to an intelligent destination control system, waiting times for hospital patients, staff and visitors will be additionally shortened. Passengers select their destination on a touchscreen before entering the elevator and are directed to the fastest cab. With more than 1,000 beds, 92 intensive care places and 18 operating rooms, Ajou University Hospital is one of the largest and most modern medical facilities in the country.

ThyssenKrupp Elevator is the only manufacturer to offer a system with two cabs running independently in the same shaft. Each cab has its own counterweight and separate safety and drive equipment - but both cabs use the same guide rails and shaft doors. Instead of increasing capacity through modernization with TWIN elevators, it is also possible to reduce the number of elevator shafts required. The freed-up space can then be used, for example, to lay IT cables or install an air conditioning system.

Whether it's a new installation or a modernization project - architects and building owners receive optimum support from ThyssenKrupp Elevator advisers in planning the most effective transportation strategy. Advanced analysis and simulation techniques are used to calculate future demand, delivering vital facts for forward-looking solutions.

TWIN elevators are already being used successfully in buildings in the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Russia and South Korea. Further systems are being installed or planned in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea and Australia.

The Elevator Technology business area brings together the ThyssenKrupp Group's global activities in passenger transportation systems. With 42,500 employees, sales of 5.3 billion euros in fiscal 2008/2009 and customers in
150 countries, ThyssenKrupp Elevator is one of the world's leading elevator companies. The company's portfolio includes passenger and freight elevators, escalators and moving walks, passenger boarding bridges, stair and platform lifts as well as tailored service solutions for all products. 900 locations around the world provide an extensive sales and service network to guarantee closeness to customers.

Investment in space research: Fraunhofer Institute asks Siemens to modernize high power radar system

Siemens has been commissioned by the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques (FHR) to modernize the antenna of the High Power Radar System
TIRA (Tracking und Imaging Radar). The facility in Wachtberg, Germany, generates precise images of satellites and other objects in space, and also helps to track the orbits of space
debris. Under the modernization project Siemens will be renewing the drive and control equipment. The radar system is scheduled to come back into operation by the end of March
Siemens to supply gearless mill drives and electrical equipment for the development of new copper mine in Chile

Minera Lumina Copper Chile S.A. has ordered three Simine Mill GD gearless mill drives and electrical equipment from Siemens. The systems will be used to develop the new Caserones copper mine in the Atacama region of Chile. Mining and processing of copper and molybdenum are scheduled to start there in 2013. The gearless drive technology ensures efficient, energy-saving grinding of the ore. The total value of the order exceeds 30 million euros.

Project Signing: World Bank supports India's environment agenda with two loans

NEW DELHI, 22 July 2010:  Loan and Credit Agreements worth $286.15 million were signed today between the Government of India and the World Bank for two projects aimed at supporting India’s agenda of integrating environmental and ecological safeguards into its growth strategy.

Mr. Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment and Forests, attended the signing of the Agreements for the $64.15 million Capacity Building for Industrial Pollution Management Project and the $222 million Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project.  Dr. Anup Pujari, Joint Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, signed the Agreements on behalf of the Government of India, and Mr. Roberto Zagha, Country Director for India, on behalf of the World Bank. 

The  Government of India has increased its focus on environmental management, which will go a long way to ensure that India's high growth is environmentally sustainable, both domestically and globally,” said Mr. Roberto Zagha, World Bank Country Director for India.  “These projects will support this important agenda of the government, by helping build capacity and institutions in two diverse but equally crucial areas – the management of India’s coastal areas and the handling of industrially polluted sites,” said Mr. Zagha.

Capacity Building for Industrial Pollution Management Project:  This Project will help pilot the Government of India’s national program to rehabilitate contaminated industrial sites located across the country. The government estimates that there are about 36,000 industries in the country which generate about 6.2 million tons of hazardous waste annually.  At a number of locations, significant quantities of industrial sludge and effluents laden with heavy metals and other toxic contaminants are dumped in open areas, in rivers, around residential habitations and on farm land.  Such practices have resulted in a number of sites where soil and groundwater are significantly contaminated and affect the health of local communities.

The Project aims to support the establishment of a National Program for Rehabilitation of Polluted Sites (NPRPS) to address orphan contaminated sites and municipal dump sites that were poorly managed.  The Project will also build capacity in the states of West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh for undertaking environmentally-sound remediation of pilot polluted sites.

The implicit logic of the project approach is to improve the institutional capacity, expand on the national inventory of polluted sites and demonstrate appropriate clean-up techniques,” said Mr. Charles Cormier, World Bank Country Sector Coordinator for Social, Environment and Water Resources and Project team leader

The other signatories to this Agreement included Mr. B.S.S. Prasad, Special Secretary (Environment), Environment, Forests and Technology Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh and Mr. Sandipan Mukherjee, Member Secretary, West Bengal Pollution Control Board, Government of West Bengal.

The Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP):  India’s unique coastal and marine ecological resources continue to be under stress from rapid urban-industrialization and from increasing coastal hazards, jeopardizing the well-being of some 63 million people living in the low-elevation coastal areas. The Government of India has initiated a national program to promote participatory, integrated but decentralized process of planning and management of coastal areas to protect and conserve natural resources and to secure livelihoods in coastal communities.

The Project will help build the appropriate institutional arrangements, capacity and advanced knowledge systems needed to implement the national program.  It will also help pilot this approach in three coastal states, Gujarat, Orissa and West Bengal, through a range of complementary local pilot investments in select coastal stretches to support state-level capacity building.  These investments include interventions such as mangrove plantation, regeneration of coral reefs, cleaning up of beaches, sewerage and solid waste management, conservation of cultural heritage, and a number of activities aimed at enhancing the livelihoods of coastal communities.

 “Among the initiatives the Project will support are the mapping and delineation of hazard lines and ecologically sensitive areas; the setting up a world-class national centre for sustainable coastal zone management; and the preparation of integrated coastal zone management plans,” says Mr. Tapas Paul, World Bank Senior Environment Specialist and Project team leader.

World Bank support for the Capacity Building for Industrial Pollution Management Project comes as a combined loan and credit.  The US$38.94 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank’s concessionary lending arm, carries a 0.75 percent service fee, a 10-year grace period, and a maturity of 35 years. The US$25.21 loan has a 30-year maturity including a 5-year grace period.  The IDA credit for the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project is also on the same terms -- a 0.75 percent service fee, a 10-year grace period, and a maturity of 35 years.

Insdag (Institute for Steel Development and Growth)


The 10th Insdag (Institute for Steel Development and Growth) national competition for civil/structural engineering students will commence on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 10.30 am at the Joint Plant Committee conference hall, 52/1A, Ballygunge Circular Road, Kolkata-19. There are special awards for the most innovative designs for a “Steel-intensive foot over-bridge”.

Mechel Announces 1H 2010 Operational Results

Moscow, Russia – July 21, 2010 – Mechel OAO (NYSE: MTL), one of the leading Russian mining and metals companies, announces 1H 2010 operational results.


1H 2010, thousand tonnes

1H 2010 vs. 1H 2009, %

Coking coal concentrate



Various types of coal for steel production*



Steam coals**



Iron ore concentrate



Chromite ore concentrate  






Ferrosilicon (65% and 75%)



Ferrochrome (65%)



Coke (6%)



Pig iron






Rolled products



   Flat products



   Long products















Electric power generation (thousand kWh)



Heat power generation (GCcal)



* Including anthracites and PCI.

**Some of the steam coals mined are counted as PCI and included into the “Various types of coal for steel production” line.

Yevgeny Mikhel, Mechel OAO’s Chief Executive Officer, commented on the company’s 1H 2010 operational results:

“Our major markets have demonstrated steady growth during the first six months of 2010. We have done our best to satisfy the existing demand. As a result, coking coal concentrate production increased by 29% in 2Q compared to 1Q, output of coal for steel production rose by 111%, growth in steel output totaled 7%, and hardware production grew by 21%.

Arrangements aimed at production development are in full swing at our mining and steel divisions. In particular, Mechel’s mining division is actively carrying out stripping works and purchasing new equipment and spare parts. These efforts allowed Southern Kuzbass and Yakutugol not only to reach their precrisis monthly production levels but also to exceed them as early as in May 2010.

Our steel division launches new production lines and enters new markets. Our two acquisitions – Laminorul Braila, a Romanian steel mill, and Ramateks, a Turkish steel trader, as well as a number of storage facilities launched in Eastern and Western Europe help us to strengthen the company’s strategic position on the steel markets of the European Union and the Balkans.

On the whole, looking at production dynamics in 1Q and 2Q 2010, we may see that the company has overcome the consequences of the global economic recession. Today we continue implementation of our strategic investment projects which are expected to substantially boost our plants’ production capacity.”

Siemens modernizes electric arc furnaces in Finland and Saudi Arabia 

Siemens VAI Metals Technologies received orders to modernize electric arc furnaces for both the Saudi Iron and Steel Company (Hadeed) and Outokumpu Oy, a Finnish steel producer. Both plants will be equipped with a new hydraulic system which will improve the efficiency, availability and productivity of the furnaces. The orders are worth several million euros. The projects are scheduled to be finished in the fall of 2010 and by the end of 2011 respectively.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

UK: Disappointment at delayed implementation of UK Bribery Act

London, 21 July 2010

Commenting on today's announcement by Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke, Secretary of State for Justice, that implementation of the Bribery Act will be delayed until April 2011, and that there will be a “short consultation exercise” on the content of official guidance, Chandrashekhar Krishnan, Executive Director of Transparency International UK said:

'While guidance will be helpful for companies by clarifying some grey areas, it is extremely disappointing that the Government has chosen to delay implementation of the Bribery Act. Meanwhile, the victims of corporate bribery, usually the poorest people in the poorest countries, will continue to suffer. There is absolutely no reason that effective guidance could not have been published in time for the Act to commence in 2010. The danger is that under the guise of consultation attempts may be made by those who want to pursue 'business as usual' to water down the Bribery Act. Having made positive noises about the need to ensure British aid and development spending is not wasted through corruption, the coalition Government is in danger of undermining its own policy. The jury is now out on its commitment to fighting corruption.'

In the absence of the long-promised official guidance from the Government, on Thursday 22 July Transparency International UK will publish its own guidance on the Bribery Act to allow companies to get a 'head start' in tightening up their anti-corruption procedures.

Apaches Production Rises 10 Percent to Record 646,866 boe Per Day Fueling Second-Quarter Earnings of $860 Million or $2.53 Per Share

HOUSTON, July 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Apache Corporation (NYSE, Nasdaq: APA) today reported that higher oil output from international operations fueled record production in the second quarter as net income climbed to $860 million or $2.53 per diluted common share, nearly double the net income of $443 million or $1.31 per share in the prior-year period.

Production totaled 646,866 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day, up 10 percent from the prior-year period. Liquid hydrocarbon production climbed to 348,272 barrels per day, up 19 percent from the prior-year period and 16 percent from the first quarter of 2010. Natural gas production increased to 1.79 billion cubic feet per day, a 1-percent increase from the year-earlier period and up 5 percent from the first quarter.

Apache's increased oil production was the result of a nearly sixfold increase in output in Australia, including a full quarter of production from the Van Gogh and Pyrenees oil developments, and higher output from the Faghur Basin in Egypt's Western Desert. Natural gas production was higher in Australia, Gulf Coast, Egypt and the Anadarko Basin of western Oklahoma.

Cash from operations before changes in operating assets and liabilities* totaled $1.8 billion in the second quarter, up 46 percent from $1.3 billion in the year-earlier period. At the end of the quarter, Apache's cash balance was $1.8 billion.

Apache's second-quarter adjusted earnings*, which exclude certain items that impact the comparability of operating results, totaled $829 million or $2.44 per diluted share, up from $474 million or $1.41 per share in the prior-year period.

"Apache's second-quarter results illustrate the benefit of our focus on long-term growth," said G. Steven Farris, chairman and chief executive officer. "We are realizing the benefit of significant discoveries and the investments Apache made to bring them on production. Apache's financial results also benefitted from our balanced commodity mix at a time when oil prices remain strong relative to North American natural gas prices."

Apache's international operations accounted for 56 percent of worldwide production. Liquids sales were 54 percent of worldwide production and 78 percent of revenue. Apache realized an average of $74.89 per barrel of oil, essentially unchanged from the first quarter, and $4.01 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) of natural gas, down from $4.60 per Mcf in the first quarter.

Apache's second-quarter results include production from June 9 on Gulf Shelf assets acquired on that date from Devon Energy Corp. for $1.05 billion. The acquisition brought year-end 2009 estimated proved and probable reserves of 83 million boe across approximately 150 blocks.

Apache also expects to close its previously announced merger with Mariner Energy upon approval of regulators and Mariner's shareholders. Mariner is an independent producer with operations in the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf Coast and the Permian Basin with year-end 2009 estimated proved reserves of 181 million boe (47 percent liquid hydrocarbons) as well as unbooked resource potential of 2 billion boe. Approval is projected for the third quarter.

Apache Corporation is an oil and gas exploration and production company with operations in the United States, Canada, Egypt, the United Kingdom North Sea, Australia and Argentina

*Adjusted earnings and cash from operations before changes in operating assets and liabilities are non-GAAP measures.

Apache to Offer 21 Million Shares of Common Stock and $1.1 Billion of Mandatory Convertible Preferred Stock

HOUSTON, July 20, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX News Network/ -- Apache Corporation (NYSE: APA) today announced that it is commencing a registered underwritten public offering of 21 million shares of its common stock. Concurrently with the common stock offering, Apache is commencing a separate registered underwritten public offering of $1.1 billion of mandatory convertible preferred stock consisting of 22 million depositary shares, each of which represents a 1/20th interest in a share of Apache's Mandatory Convertible Preferred Stock, Series D, with an initial liquidation preference of $1,000 per share (equivalent to $50 liquidation preference per depositary share). Apache will grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 3.15 million additional shares of its common stock and up to 3.3 million additional depositary shares. The offering of common stock is not contingent upon the offering of the depositary shares, and the offering of the depositary shares is not contingent upon the offering of the common stock.

Goldman, Sachs & Co., BofA Merrill Lynch, Citi and J.P. Morgan will act as joint book-running managers for the offerings.

Apache to Acquire BP Assets in Permian Basin, Canada and Egypt For $7 Billion

- Legacy assets complement existing operations in all three areas - Adds proved reserves of 385 million barrels of oil equivalent and approximately 83,000 boe per day of production - Substantial development opportunities and additional resource potential

HOUSTON, July 20, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX News Network/ -- Apache Corporation (NYSE, Nasdaq: APA) today announced it has agreed to acquire all of BP's oil and gas operations, acreage and infrastructure in the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico and Egypt's Western Desert. Apache also will acquire substantially all of BP's upstream natural gas business in western Alberta and British Columbia. Apache will pay $7 billion for the assets, which include estimated proved reserves of 385 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe).

Net production from the properties in the first half of 2010 was 28,000 barrels of liquid hydrocarbons and 331 million cubic feet of gas (MMcf) per day, or a total of approximately 83,000 boe per day. By comparison, in the just-completed second quarter of 2010 Apache produced 646,866 boe per day. The transaction also adds 2.4 million net acres to Apache's global portfolio.

"This is a rare opportunity to acquire legacy positions from a major oil company, with oil and gas production, acreage, infrastructure, seismic data, field studies, exploration prospects and other essential aspects of our business," said G. Steven Farris, Apache's chairman and chief executive officer. "We seldom have an opportunity like this in one of our core areas let alone three. This is a step change that will add muscle, enabling Apache to add value for decades to come through our demonstrated exploitation capabilities and exploration drilling."

The effective date of the transaction is July 1, 2010. Closing is subject to certain preferential rights as well as normal regulatory approvals and conditions in the United States, Canada, Egypt and the European Union. As a part of the acquisition, Apache will advance $5 billion of the purchase price to BP on July 30, 2010, ahead of the anticipated closing. This advance will be returned to Apache or applied to the purchase price at closing. Apache intends to finance the acquisition with a combination of debt and equity securities as well as cash on hand. The company has also obtained a $5 billion bridge loan facility to backstop any financing requirements.

Apache expects the transaction to be modestly accretive to cash flow and per-share production and reserves and neutral to earnings per share in the first full year.

Permian Basin acquisition

Apache is acquiring 10 field areas in the Permian Basin with estimated proved reserves of 141 million boe (65 percent liquids), first-half 2010 net production of 15,110 barrels of liquids and 81 MMcf of gas per day, and two operated gas processing plants.

"These are under-exploited assets with 1.7 million gross acres - including 405,000 net mineral and fee acres - in prospective areas of the basin with substantial opportunities for new drilling." Farris said.

Apache produced 42,287 barrels of liquids and 86 MMcf of gas per day (net) in the Permian Basin during the second quarter of 2010. At year-end 2009, Apache had proved reserves of 469 million boe and 961,000 gross acres in the Permian.

Canada acquisition

Apache is acquiring resource-rich acreage in western Canada with estimated proved reserves of 224 million boe (94 percent gas) and first-half 2010 net production of 6,529 barrels of liquids and 240 MMcf of gas per day.

"We are buying a substantial production base and 1.3 million net acres that include significant positions in several emerging unconventional plays including the Montney, Cadomin, Doig and coalbed methane," Farris said.

In the second quarter, Apache's Canadian operations produced 340 MMcf of gas and 16,557 barrels of liquids per day. At year-end 2009, Apache had 531 million boe of proved reserves and 5.6 million gross acres in Canada.

Egypt acquisition

Apache is acquiring four development leases and one exploration concession across 394,300 acres in Egypt's Western Desert. The assets have estimated proved reserves of 20 million boe (59 percent liquids), and first-half 2010 net production of 6,016 barrels of oil and 11 MMcf of gas per day.

"This is under-explored acreage in a highly prospective area of the Western Desert; a 3-D seismic acquisition program is under way," Farris said. "BP's holdings also include strategically positioned infrastructure including a natural gas processing plant, a liquefied petroleum gas plant and oil and gas export lines. These facilities will enable Apache to increase production from our existing fields in the Western Desert."

Apache's second-quarter net production in Egypt averaged 98,495 barrels of oil per day - up 8.5 percent from the first quarter - and 388 MMcf of gas per day, up 7 percent. At year-end 2009, Apache had estimated proved reserves of 309 million boe and 11.1 million gross acres in Egypt.

"This transaction provides a sustainable growth platform for Apache's onshore North America operations that complements our recent transaction with Devon Energy Corp. in the Gulf of Mexico and our pending merger with Mariner Energy, as well as strategic infrastructure and exploration potential in Egypt," Farris said. "We appreciate the opportunity and the professional manner in which BP employees conducted themselves. Their cooperation was a key ingredient for this transaction to come together."

Apache's financial advisors for these transactions were Goldman, Sachs & Co., BofA Merrill Lynch, Citi and J.P. Morgan.

Apache Corporation is an oil and gas exploration and production company with operations in the United States, Canada, Egypt, the United Kingdom North Sea, Australia and Argentina.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pic1 - SAIL Chairman Mr. C.S. Verma unveiling the plaque commemorating the inauguration. On his left are SAIL Director (Technical) Mr. V.K. Gulhati and Bokaro Managing Director Mr. V.K. Srivastava
Pic2 - SAIL Chairman Mr. C.S. Verma, SAIL Director (Technical) Mr. V.K. Gulhati, Bokaro Managing Director Mr. V.K. Srivastava and other senior SAIL officials after inauguration of the upgraded Blast Furnace-2

SAIL Chairman commissions upgraded Blast Furnace at Bokaro Steel Plant


Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) Chairman Mr. C.S. Verma inaugurated the upgraded Blast Furnace-2 of Bokaro Steel Plant (BSL) today during his maiden visit to Bokaro. Blast Furnace-2, upgraded at a cost of Rs. 805 crore, is the first unit to be commissioned under BSL’s current phase of expansion & modernisation and is part of SAIL’s growth plan to take hot metal production capacity to the level of 23.5 million tonnes by 2012-13. BSL Managing Director Mr. V.K. Srivastava and SAIL Director (Technical) Mr. V.K. Gulhati were present on the occasion besides other senior SAIL officials and members of the Bokaro collective.

Upgradation of Blast Furnace-2 has increased its working volume from 1758 m3 to 2250 m3 for higher productivity level of 2 tonnes/m3/day by incorporating state-of-art technology. Other major features of the upgraded unit include a higher blast temperature of 12000C obtained from 28 tuyeres, new skip system and modern technologies for cast house & cast house fume extraction, stock house & stockhouse dust suppression, hot blast system & stoves, back draughting system, Gas Cleaning Plant, oxygen enrichment system, new electrical and automation system for all existing as well as new facilities. M/s Paul Wurth in consortium with M/s Larsen & Tubro has carried out the job of the main upgradation package and cast house defuming system package.

With upgradation, the campaign life of the furnace will increase to 16 years as compared to the present 8 years. Thus, one normal capital repair campaign costing around Rs. 60 crore and consequential production loss during the normal capital repair will be avoided.

For better environment management, stock house dust suppression system, cast house de-fuming system and Gas Cleaning Plant have been installed for pollution control.

As part of BSL’s expansion & modernisation plan, a new Cold Rolling Mill complex of 1.2 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) capacity is coming-up by December 2011 along with other auxiliary facilities. With the upgradation of Steel Melting Shop-II, the overall potential of the unit will be stepped-up to 3.35 MTPA. Facilities like Hot Metal Desulphurisation unit and an additional Ladle Furnace are coming-up for better quality of steel. Cast House Slag Granulation Plants for Blast Furnaces 1, 2 and 3 are also being established for better utilisation of the solid waste.

Congratulating the Bokaro Steel collective on the completion of this major project, SAIL Chairman Mr. Verma urged them to ensure timely completion of other modernisation & expansion projects while fully leveraging the new facilities for the progress and growth of the company.

June 2010 crude steel production for the 66 countries reporting to worldsteel


Brussels, 20 July 2010 - World crude steel production for the 66 countries reporting to the World Steel Association (worldsteel) was 119 million metric tons (mmt) in June. This is 18% higher than June 2009.


World crude steel production in the first six months of 2010 was 706 mmt, 27.9% higher in comparison with the same period of 2009. All the regions showed increased crude steel production during the first half of 2010 compared to the first half of 2009.


Although production in the first half of 2010 increased by 7.2% compared to the same period of 2007, just before the global economic crisis, most of the world has not recovered to pre-crisis levels. Only Asia and the Middle East showed increased crude steel production compared to the first six months of 2007. Crude steel production in the EU, CIS, US and Canada is still more than 15% below 2007 levels.


China’s crude steel production for June 2010 was 53.8 mmt, an increase of 9% compared to June 2009.


Elsewhere in Asia, Japan produced 9.4 mmt of crude steel in June 2010, up 35.9% compared to the same month last year. South Korea’s

crude steel production for June 2010 was 4.8 mmt, 21.9% up compared to the same month last year.



In the EU, Germany’s crude steel production for June 2010 was 3.9 mmt, an increase of 53.4% on June 2009. Italy produced 2.3 mmt, 32.8% higher than the same month in 2009. France produced 1.5 mmt of crude steel in June 2010, an increase of 31.4% compared to June 2009.


Turkey produced 2.5 mmt of crude steel in June 2010, 13.8% higher than June 2009.


Russia produced 5.4 mmt of crude steel in June 2010, a 6% increase over the same month in 2009 and Ukraine’s crude steel production for June 2010 was 2.5 mmt, up 7.2% compared to the same month last year.


The US produced 7.2 mmt of crude steel in June 2010, an increase of 65% compared to June 2009.


Brazilian crude steel production was 2.9 mmt, 46.8% higher than June 2009.


The world crude steel capacity utilisation ratio of the 66 countries in June 2010 declined again to 80.6% from 82.0% in May 2010. Compared to June 2009, the utilisation ratio in June 2010 increased by 8.3 percentage points.




• The monthly crude steel capacity utilisation ratio is calculated based on crude steel production and capacity information available at worldsteel. The capacity information is based on publicly-available data, updated twice a year and verified through worldsteel’s membership.

• The World Steel Association (worldsteel) is one of the largest and most dynamic industry associations in the world. worldsteel represents approximately 180 steel producers (including 19 of the world's 20 largest steel companies), national and regional steel industry associations, and steel research institutes. worldsteel members produce around 85% of the world's steel.

African Aura Mining Inc.





July 20, 2010, African Aura Mining Inc. (“African Aura” or the “Company”) the TSX-V (AUR) and AIM (AAAM) listed exploration to production company focused on iron ore and gold in sub-Saharan Africa announces the results of the recently completed airborne geophysical survey undertaken by New Resolution Geophysics across the Company’s Nkout, Ngoa and Akom iron ore projects in southern Cameroon.




·         Nkout defined by a major geophysical anomaly covering at least 8km of strike length

·         Further 12km of targets generated around Nkout, considered to be moderately magnetic

·         Previous grab sampling at Nkout returned up to 68% Fe and averaged 55% Fe

·         Phase one 4,200m 10 hole drilling programme to commence imminently

·         Nkout deposit is strategically well located in an emerging iron ore province:

o   2.5 billion tonne Mbalam iron ore deposit (located 150km to the south east)

o   Close to the proposed rail route to a port which will service the Mbalam deposit


African Aura has received the interpretation of the data from the recently completed ground and 14,000 line km high resolution airborne geophysical surveys (EM and gravity) covering the company’s Nkout, Ngoa and Akom iron ore projects in Southern Cameroon. The data for Nkout suggests the presence of an east-west striking antiform with two limbs approximately 100m thick and magnetic susceptibilities of around 2.0, which is considered consistent for a prospective banded iron formation.


Luis da Silva, President & CEO of African Aura commented:

“Until today this asset was not valued in our portfolio.  The results from the airborne geophysical survey at Nkout and our surrounding projects in Southern Cameroon are nothing short of highly encouraging. They confirm our belief that we have discovered a potentially very significant iron ore asset in a rapidly emerging iron ore province in west Africa. Nkout is represented by an approximately 8km long priority geophysical signature, co-incident with a major hill. As previously announced reconnaissance sampling by African Aura at Nkout, returned a maximum grade of 68% Fe and an average of 57% Fe from 55 samples. A ten hole 4,200m phase one drilling programme is planned to commence imminently, in order to test the highest priority signatures to refine the geological model and progress the project towards a maiden iron resource still during 2010. We look forward to updating shareholders on progress in due course.”


African Aura’s Iron Ore Portfolio in Cameroon:

African Aura has three principal iron ore projects in Cameroon, namely the Nkout, Ngoa and Akom Hills and considers that their combined dimensions represent a potentially significant iron ore asset. The sub-region of southern Cameroon, Gabon and the Republic of Congo hosts a number of substantial iron deposits, which are currently under exploration and development including the 2.5 Bt Mbalam deposit, located approximately 150km southeast of Nkout, which is under development by Sundance Resources Limited. Further information on African Aura’s iron projects in Cameroon is summarised below and is available at


Nkout Iron Ore Project, Southern Cameroon

The Nkout iron ore project is located on the 489km2 Djoum licence which is held by the Company’s 100% owned subsidiary Caminex SARL. The project was identified through interpretation of historic airborne magnetic and remote sensing data. Mapping undertaken to date has shown that Nkout comprises a 12km long, iron rich (Itabirite / BIF) discontinuous ridge hosted in Archaean age rocks on the Congo Craton. Reconnaissance sampling at Nkout has returned assays with a maximum grade of 68% Fe and an average of 57% Fe from 55 samples.


The exploration results and further planned work in Cameroon have been reviewed and approved by Mark Biddulph. He holds a BSc Hons in Geology, and GIS from Rhodes University, and a GDE in Mining Engineering (Mineral Economics) from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. Mark is a Professional Natural Scientist under the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP) and a Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101.


About African Aura Mining Inc.

African Aura is an established exploration and development company listed on the TSX-V (AUR) and London's AIM (AAAM). The Company operates two divisions, namely: iron ore and gold:


-       The iron ore division includes its 38.5% interest in the Putu iron ore project in Liberia, which is moving through pre-feasibility managed by joint venture partner Severstal Resources (the mining division of Moscow listed OAO Severstal). The division also includes a 100% interest in the Nkout iron ore project and surrounding iron targets in Cameroon.


-       The gold division includes the multi million ounce potential New Liberty greenstone gold deposit, which is being advanced through a bankable feasibility study, and the proximal Weaju, Gondoja and Silver Hills projects, all in western Liberia.


In addition, the Company has a 30% interest in AIM-listed diamond producer Stellar Diamonds Plc (AIM: STEL,


The Company has a highly motivated and experienced team with a track record of discovering mines and taking projects through development and into production. As a pioneer, African Aura has attracted some excellent strategic partners and shareholders, always with the objective of preserving or enhancing shareholder value.

Ombudsman: Commission reacted late to risks from Brazilian beef imports


The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has criticised the European Commission for its delay in imposing restrictions on Brazilian beef imports in 2008, in order to deal with risks from foot and mouth disease. However, he rejected a call from a federation of British and Irish farm organisations that the Commission should have imposed a complete ban on Brazilian beef as from 2007.

The Commission explained that deficiencies had indeed been identified in the Brazilian beef control systems in November 2007. As a consequence, it imposed stringent import restrictions on Brazilian beef, but considered an outright ban to be unnecessary. The Ombudsman concluded that the decision not to impose a ban was justified by the available evidence. However, he criticised the delay in restricting beef imports from unapproved farms in Brazil between February and March 2008. Furthermore, the Ombudsman called on the Commission to continue its regular inspections outside the EU to ensure that the necessary standards of animal and public health are in fact respected.

Potential threat to animal and public health through foot and mouth disease

Some parts of Brazil are affected by foot and mouth disease, a highly contagious viral disease affecting cattle, sheep and other animals. The EU is currently foot and mouth disease-free.

In July 2007, the federation Fairness for Farmers in Europe turned to the Ombudsman, claiming that the Commission should have imposed a complete import ban on Brazilian beef because of potential animal health threats. The Commission explained that serious deficiencies in the Brazilian beef control system had indeed been identified. It, therefore, proceeded to impose stringent import restrictions but refrained from an outright ban. The import restrictions meant that only 412 Brazilian cattle farms were deemed eligible for export to the EU, compared to around 10 000 previously.

According to the complainant, these import restrictions were not enough. The farmers' federation alleged that, after a very critical report of the EU Food and Veterinary Office in November 2007, the Commission should have taken more stringent measures to prevent Brazilian beef from entering the EU. The Commission argued that an outright ban was not necessary because, from mid March 2008, only beef from approved farms in Brazil could be imported into the EU.

The Ombudsman concluded that the Commission's arguments against a total ban on Brazilian beef were convincing. However, he criticised the Commission for allowing into the EU Brazilian beef imports from 10 000 unapproved farms between February and March 2008. The Ombudsman called on the Commission to continue its regular inspections outside the EU to ensure that the necessary standards of animal and public health are respected before food is imported into the EU.