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The Independent Online
Chancellor key at CBI conference

The Chancellor, Kenneth Clarke, will deliver the keynote speech at the Confederation of British Industry's annual conference in Birmingham from 6- 8 November. Jacques Santer, due to take over as President of the European Commission from Jacques Delors in January, will also speak.

Among the other speakers will be Michael Heseltine, President of the Board of Trade, Virginia Bottomley, Health Secretary, Paddy Ashdown, Liberal Democrat leader, Bill Jordan, President of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union, and Kamlesh Bahl, chairwoman of the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Air show takes off

More than 200,000 people are expected to visit the Farnborough Air Show, which which begins today against a backdrop of an aviation industry struggling to pull out of recession. Although the biennial show continues to draw crowds, lack of civil airline profitability and the changing needs of the country's defence systems have combined to leave aerospace companies fighting for scarce orders.

More than 600 exhibitors will be at the show and visitors may see contenders for the attack helicopter role for the British Army in 1995, including the American Apache and the British Tiger, Concorde and the first Rolls-Royce-powered Airbus - an A330 - and flights by a Russian MiG 29M and two SU-35s. Tomorrow to Friday will be trade days, with public days on Saturday and Sunday.

VW's eastern drive Volkswagen, the German motor group, plans to set up a passenger car factory in India. VW, Europe's biggest and the world's fourth leading car maker, has chosen Eicher Motors, an Indian tractor manufacturing group, as its partner in conducting a six-month feasibility study into which model to launch initially.

The group is the latest in a string of foreign firms to take interest in the Indian car market since the government relaxed draconian restrictions on outside investment last year. Car sales are forecast to rise by up to 20 per cent this year, making India one of the most promising markets in the world. Currently only about 300,000 cars are built in India each year and few are imported due to stiff duties.

Turkish rise Turkey's consumer prices rose by 2 per cent last month, up from 1.7 per cent in July. Year-on-year inflation fell to 108 per cent last month from 109.3 per cent in July.

Indian sell-off India is to partly privatise 21 public sector companies in continuation of a phased privatisation of the huge public sector. The government would disinvest 10 to 20 per cent of its holdings in 1994/5 either by auction or a direct sale of shares.

The 21 firms include the Oil and Natural Gas Commission, Indian Oil Corporation, Indian Telephone Industries, Shipping Corporation of India and Steel Authority of India. The government has put public sector restructuring at the top of its agenda since starting economic liberalisation in July 1991.

China opens up

China is pushing ahead with plans to open its domestic A- share markets to foreign investors, one of the several securities reforms promised a month ago.

Overseas brokerages are competing to establish funds, although there are problems, including poor domestic accountancy standards and China's foreign exchange controls. Overseas investors are now confined to the smaller, hard-currency B-share markets in Shanghai and Shenzhen.