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REWIND: International Business News #22

  • South Korea has approved a carbon emission trading plan that is intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Under the plan, companies would have a cap on carbon emissions, but may trade emissions permits or purchase carbon offsets.  According to the International Energy Agency, South Korea was the eighth largest carbon emitter in 2009. While the approval is considered to be positive from an environmental standpoint, many, including the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, expressed concerns that the carbon trading platform would increase costs and cause Korean businesses to have a competitive disadvantage against other countries that do not impose charges on emissions.
  • Nokia has sued HTC, Research In Motion, and ViewSonic in Germany claiming patent infringement. These actions reportedly are part of Nokia’s strategy to capitalize on its patent portfolio, and those court filings are in addition to suits filed by the company in Delaware and a complaint filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The ITC complaint alleges infringement by HTC of Nokia patents for “technology like synchronizing information, including calendars, between the smartphone and mainframe computers, extending battery life and allowing mobile phones to be compatible with different signal systems.”
  • Novartis AG recently announced its plans to acquire Fougera Pharmaceuticals Inc. for a purchase price of $1.5 billion. The acquisition “makes Sandoz, Novartis’s generic pharmaceuticals division, the world’s largest maker of generic dermatological drugs.” The transaction, which requires regulatory approval, would result in a combined generic drug force which is estimated to generate $620 million in annual sales.
  • We had previously reported on accounts from various countries of their efforts to curtail foreign investment. That trend continues in Mongolia, where the Mongolian parliament is debating a law that would require “majority Mongolian ownership in businesses worth more than 100bn tugriks ($76m) and in ‘strategic’ sectors including natural resources, transport, food, real estate, communications and agriculture.” If passed, the law could curtail foreign investment in the nation, possibly making Mongolian companies less attractive as a part of an investment portfolio.