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Barack Obama: Gaddafi 'Greatly Weakened'

CNBC.com
Wednesday, 30 Mar 2011 | 7:10 PM ET

This is a transcript of top stories presented by China's CCTV Business Channel as produced by CNBC Asia Pacific.

Good evening, I'm Saijal Patel and you're watching "Asia Market Daily".

While some companies struggle to regain ground after Japan's quake - fears of contaminated food are helping to boost U.S. exports to the country.

CNBC's Jane Wells reports.

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One of the most interesting stories to coming out of the Japanese disaster is the impact it's having on American pork & beef producers. The livestock industry here is seeing a spike in demand for fresh meat.

(SOT) Dave Struthers, Iowa Hog Farmer, USA:
Japan is our largest customer by dollar value, and they know they can get a safe nutritious, wholesome product from the United States, and we've been a reliable supplier, so it is very important to us.

Dave Struthers runs a hog operation in Iowa, an industry that's finally turned profitable after three years of losses.

(SOT) Dave Struthers:
We're making right now probably about $10-15 per head.

Smithfield Foods, the largest pork producer in the U.S. has seen a spike in sales to Japan. Especially in fresh pork, which is more profitable than frozen. Japan imports about $10 billion worth of meat a year, with the U.S. providing 40 percent of the pork & nearly 20 percent of the beef.

Good news for the livestock industry, which is having to deal with higher feed prices that can make it harder to stay profitable this year.

Though Struthers also grows his own corn. And Japan by the way is the biggest international buyer of U.S. corn, in part to feed its own hogs.

(SOT) Dave Struthers:
That northern area of the country is where a lot of the hogs are produced in Japan. So this could be a huge detriment to their industry.

U.S. officials say that last week, Japan bought nearly 4000 tones of American beef. The largest purchase in a month. BB&T Capital has upgraded Smithfield Foods and Tyson to a buy, in part because of Japanese demand. But Morgan Stanley which thinks that the pork industry will remain profitable for the rest of the year is cautious overall, given the U.S. hog population is again growing too quickly, despite Japanese interest in what we call the other white meat. I'm Jane Wells in Los Angeles, for CNBC Asia.

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On to the fighting in Libya...

U.S. President Barack Obama says Gaddafi's position has been "greatly weakened".

Speaking with NBC's Brian Williams in New York, Obama also spoke about fears that the intervention will turn out to be a protracted war.

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Barack Obama, U.S. President:
Well, keep in mind what we've already done is transition. So this is now a NATO and international mission. Our role is to provide support, intelligence, jamming capabilities, refueling capabilities and so we have been able to spread the burdens of maintaining a no-fly zone and protecting civilian populations and we can do that for quite some time. Precisely because we built a strong coalition to make it happen. But Gaddafi has been greatly weakened. He does not have control over most of Libya at this point.

Brian Williams, NBC:
How do you not offer the rebels direct assistance of some sort?

Barack Obama:
We will be proving them direct assistance...

Brian Williams:
Militarily?

Barack Obama:
Secretary Clinton was in London for a conference today at which multiple countries pledged to provide assistance. Most of the assistance initially is going to be non-lethal assistance. So humanitarian aid, they need communications equipment, they may need medical supplies, potentially transportation.

Brian Williams:
With due respect Mr President, watching the reportings of our two correspondents in Libya, what it appears the rebels need is military equipment. Some of their equipment dates back to WW2. Are you ruling out U.S. military hardware assistance?

Barack Obama:
I'm not ruling it out, but I'm not ruling it in. We're still making an assessment partly about what Gaddafi's forces are going to be doing. Keep in mind we've been at this for 9 days and the degree that we've degraded Gaddafi's forces these days has been significant. Operations to protect civilians continue to take out Gaddafi's forces, his tanks, his artillery on the ground, and that will continue for some time. And so one of the questions we want to answer is: Do we start getting to a stage where Gaddafi's forces are sufficiently degraded? Where it may not be necessary to arm opposition groups. But we're not taking anything off the table at this point. Our primary military goal is to protect civilian populations and to set up a no-fly zone. Our primary strategic goal is for Gaddafi to step down so the Libyan people have an opportunity to live a decent life.

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Elsewhere, the number of Smartphone users in South Korea is closing in on the 10 million mark - and is expected to double to 20 million by the end of this year, according to the country's telco regulator.

And one underdog could surprise the market again, after becoming the number two seller of handsets last year.

SBS CNBC's Rhie-young Lim has the details.

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Mention smartphones in South Korea, and names like Samsung and LG come to mind.

But the number two spot among the domestic handset makers was given to a dark horse Pantech, a one million-seller in smart phones last year, with winning models like Sirius and Vega.

(SOT) S.Jay Yim, Executive Vice President, Pantech:
2010 was a landmark year for Pantech. It was the beginning of the smart phone age and companies that didn't roll with the punches were left behind. But we turned this difficult time into an opportunity.

Pantech rolled out 7 Android smartphones last year, and put itself on the cutting edge by launching the world's first LTE CDMA data cards via Verizon. Nearly 70 percent of the company's revenue comes from overseas, where the company gained a strong foothold by offering what it does best, speedy customization to carriers such as AT&T and Verizon.

(SOT) Harrison Cho, Senior Analyst, KB Investment Securities:
The fact that it's small gives it a competitive edge. It can customize its products to carriers just the way they want in a timely fashion.

Pantech was dubbed by AT&T in the U.S. as the best supplier for one whole year.

In Japan, the company partners with the number two carrier KDDI and uses celebrities like Lee Byung Hun as its marketing strategy. As Pantech marks its 20th year, it's planning to unveil 20 new smarpthones models this year and has ambitious plans to gain a quarter of the domestic market share, with 8 million handset sales globally, grabbing a 2 percent share in the world market.

But even as the company declares war on the likes of the iPhone, Pantech is facing mounting challenges. The company is still in bankruptcy protection, after getting hit by the fallout from Motorola's Razr debacle, although it expects to recover this year. Its brands are also still not as easily recognized as its bigger rivals. But the company says it's determined to stay ahead of the game.

(SOT) S.Jay Yim, Executive Vice President, Pantech:
We've already prepped our products to meet the 4G era from LTE -ready smartphones, Android operating systems to chipsets.

And as smartphones become more commoditized, 2011 is likely to be a tougher year for Pantech and the industry in general. SBS-CNBC, Rhie-young Lim.

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That brings us to the end of today's bulletin. Thanks for watching "Asia Market Daily", I'm Saijal Patel from CNBC.

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