IN BRIEF: Indian Ocean trade pact

The South African vice-president FW de Klerk and Gareth Evans, the Australian Foreign Minister, yesterday proposed a new Indian Ocean Trade Pact to promote links with countries round the ocean rim, including India, Indonesia, Singapore and Malays ia as well as Australia and South Africa. The suggestion will be discussed at a conference in Perth hosted by the Australian government in June.

The IOTP would operate like another Olympic ring, overlapping with other regional associations to promote trade and security without being mutually exclusive, the Australian Foreign Minister said. The proposed association will be much looser than the European Union and will not compete with the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation area which already links Australia, the US, Japan and China, the South African vice-President told a business lunch meeting in Sydney. South African exchange controls including the two-tier currency market in financial and commercial rand will be phased out as soon as possible to encourage inward investment.