By Elvina Nawaguna WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and five East African countries pledged on Thursday to ease trade flows and set the stage for more U.S. investment, a program that could be extended to other parts of Africa. The agreement commits Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi to cooperate with the United States in customs issues, ease red tape at borders, reduce customs wait times and harmonize trade standards. "We see this agreement and all our work with (East Africa) to date as an important steppingstone, not the final destination," U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said. China's rapid entry into Africa has fueled a rush to the continent by Western and other economies, including India and Brazil, and the region's economy has grown more than 6 percent in the last decade.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stocks were mostly higher Thursday on upbeat corporate earnings and rising Chinese factory output after the chairwoman of the U.S. Federal Reserve said it will be patient about increasing interest rates.
By Paul Carsten BEIJING (Reuters) - China has dropped some of the world's leading technology brands from its approved state purchase lists, while approving thousands more locally made products, in what some say is a response to revelations of widespread Western cybersurveillance. Others put the shift down to a protectionist impulse to shield China's domestic technology industry from competition. Chief casualty is U.S. network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc , which in 2012 counted 60 products on the Central Government Procurement Center's (CGPC) list, but by late 2014 had none, a Reuters analysis of official data shows. Smartphone and PC maker Apple Inc has also been dropped over the period, along with Intel Corp's security software firm McAfee and network and server software firm Citrix Systems .
People in China and throughout the world began their Lunar New Year celebrations last week. The Year of the Sheep, known variably as the Year of the Goat or Ram, is being celebrated during the seven-day holiday, which started last Wednesday.
BEIJING (AP) — Outfitted in a robe of yellow silk embroidered with dragons, the emperor is carried in a procession of warriors in the blue robes and red helmets of the Manchu army that conquered China in the 17th century.