Business Briefs – December 11, 2016

Gov’t: Takata Air-Bag Recalls to Cover 42M Cars When Done

DETROIT (AP) – The U.S. government says automakers will end up recalling 42 million vehicles with potentially deadly air-bag inflators made by Takata Corp.

The National Highway Safety Administration released a schedule for further recalls on Friday as it tries to get automakers to move faster on the fixes.

Eventually, about 69 million inflators that can potentially explode with too much force and spew shrapnel into people will be recalled. As of last week, only 12.5 million, or about 18 percent, of the inflators had been replaced, and NHTSA said some automakers weren’t doing enough to contact owners.

Eleven people have been killed by Takata inflators in the U.S. and many more injured.

Japan Ratifies Pacific Trade Pact That Trump Plans to Dump

TOKYO (AP) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won parliamentary approval Friday for ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, despite U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw from the 12-nation trade pact.

Upper house lawmakers approved the TPP on Friday, heeding Abe’s calls to push ahead with it despite Trump’s rejection of the free-trade initiative championed by President Barack Obama.

Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has an ample majority in both houses of parliament. Ratification of needed regulatory revisions by the Cabinet is expected soon.

U.S. Wholesalers Cut Stockpiles, Clearing Way for New Orders

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. wholesale businesses cut back their stockpiles while sales rose in October. That’s a trend that could boost demand for factory goods in the months ahead.

The Commerce Department says that wholesale inventories fell 0.4 percent, the largest drop in eight months. Sales rose 1.4 percent.

Higher sales and a drop in inventories are good signs that consumers and businesses are spending more, and that wholesalers are clearing out a backlog of goods. That suggests they will have to order more goods to meet future demand.

Washington State Suing Agrochemical Giant Over PCB Pollution

SEATTLE (AP) – Washington has become the first U.S. state to sue the agrochemical giant Monsanto over pervasive pollution from PCBs, the toxic industrial chemicals that have accumulated in plants, fish and people around the globe for decades.

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced the lawsuit at a news conference in downtown Seattle Thursday, saying they expect to win hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars from the company. The company said the case “lacks merit.”

PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, were used in many industrial and commercial applications. Monsanto produced them from 1935 until Congress banned them in 1979.