News In Brief

By , Lance Carden, and Ross Atkin

All sides professed to be happy about an interim solution to the problem of how to tax thousands of vitally important US-owned assembly plants on the Mexican side of the border after Jan. 1. The plants, called maquiladoras, employ 1.2 million people, and accounted for half of Mexico's $117.5 billion in exports last year. But since the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect in 1995, they've paid levies only on the value added to autos, clothing, electronics, or other goods. The new deal allows Mexican authorities to collect taxes on 6.9 percent of their assets or 6.5 percent of their costs - whichever is higher - rather than on the profits they generate. A "permanent" taxing formula to take effect after 2002 remains to be negotiated.

New US single-family home sales fell 12.8 percent in September - to their slowest pace in almost two years, the Commerce Department said. The report was seen by analysts as signaling that two recent interest-rate rises are taming America's red-hot real estate market. New single-family home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 811,000 units.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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