• ROSS GETS BURLINGTON NOD: A bankruptcy court judge in Wilmington, Del., on Thursday approved W.L. Ross & Co.’s $614 million deal to buy Burlington Industries Inc. Wilbur Ross, chairman and chief executive of the investment concern —?who’s also set to step up as chairman of Burlington — said he expected the company to emerge from Chapter 11 under his ownership on Nov. 10, and that the previously reported deal to sell the Lees carpet division to Mohawk Industries should close the same day. Ross is also in the running to buy bankrupt Cone Mills Corp., a deal he had expected to close by the end of the year. His purchase was opposed by a slate of dissident Cone directors, and he told WWD Thursday that he’s agreed to postpone the closing of the deal until late January or early February. “I have no reason to believe that anybody else is going to bid,” he said, “But [Cone is] a small enough deal that it’s affordable by a lot of people.”

  • AUSTRALIA SAYS NO: Steve Deady, Australia’s lead negotiator in the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement talks, said Thursday in a conference call that Australia will not accept the traditional U.S. yarn-forward rule of origin for apparel and textiles because it “will not work for the [Australian textile industry.]” A yarn-forward rule of origin requires the use of U.S. yarn, fiber and fabric to receive duty-free entry into the U.S. Deady did not give details on what Australia is seeking. The U.S. has proposed a strict yarn-forward rule of origin for textiles and apparel, according to Ralph Ives, lead negotiator for the U.S., who said it is one issue both sides need more time to work through. The negotiators, who just wrapped up the fourth round of talks in Canberra, Australia, claimed the talks are on track to be completed by year-end. The final roundis set for the first week of December in Washington.

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