Business Briefs – February 23, 2017

U.S. Factory CEOs to Trump: Jobs Exist; Skills Don’t

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump brought two dozen manufacturing CEOs to the White House on Thursday and declared their collective commitment to restoring factory jobs lost to foreign competition. Yet some of the CEOs suggested that there were still plenty of openings for U.S. factory jobs but too few qualified people to fill them.

NAFTA in Trump Era Is Focus At U.S.-Mexico Trade Forum

EL PASO, Texas (AP) – Mexican and U.S. trade industry leaders have gathered in El Paso to discuss business in the era of U.S. President Donald Trump, who says he wants to renegotiate or dismantle the North American Free Trade Act. Many at Mexico Now’s Manufacturing Supply Chain Summit on Thursday agreed that the 23-year-old NAFTA trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada will be renegotiated.

Lawmakers Renew Push for Drilling In Alaska Wildlife Refuge

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Petroleum drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge wasn’t a consideration under President Barack Obama, but it’s getting renewed attention under the new administration. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and other members of Alaska’s congressional delegation are pushing legislation to allow drilling on the refuge’s coastal plain. Federal researchers estimate the coastal plain holds up to 16 billion barrels of oil. Critics say it’s important wildlife habitat, and they want it managed as wilderness.

U.S. Musician Makes Mics in Russia Using Kalashnikov Machinery

TULA, Russia (AP) – Californian musician David Brown and fan Pavel Bazdyrev are a rare example of success in Russia’s consumer goods industry. They have been making high-end microphones in Russia since 2014, taking advantage of cheap labor and second hand machinery from Kalashnikov arms plants. But theirs is a rare tale in Russia, which is struggling to change its business climate to help companies thrive outside the country’s dominant oil and gas sector.

Manufacturing CEOs Differ on Border Tax in Talks With Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) – A senior White House official says several U.S. manufacturing CEOs pushed for a controversial tax on imports during their meeting with President Trump Thursday. The tax, known as the “border-adjusted tax,” would also exclude exports from taxation. House Republican leaders are pushing it as a corporate tax reform.

Plight of Company Towns: Finding a New Identity

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) – Company towns like Peoria, Illinois, have long relied on major employers to provide generations of locals with jobs and give the cities their central identity. Now many of those midsize communities are looking to redefine themselves as more companies trade longtime hometowns for major cities with easier access to global markets and the lifestyle that talented young workers want, with nightlife and public transit.