Business Briefs – November 12, 2017

Tax Split Between House, Senate Poses a Big Challenge

WASHINGTON (AP) – The House and Senate tax overhaul plans are broadly similar, but crucial differences are creating headaches for Republican leaders. They’re determined to keep myriad interest groups and factions of the GOP satisfied. And then there’s the ambitious timetable of finishing in time to get legislation to President Donald Trump by the end of the year.

The Gaping U.S. Trade Gap: A Sign Of Weakness? Not Necessarily

WASHINGTON (AP) – Economists say President Trump’s obsession over America’s trade deficits is misplaced. A big trade gap by itself doesn’t make the U.S. an economic weakling. In fact, a swollen trade gap — which shows how much the value of imports exceeds the value of exports — can reflect economic might: When times are good, after all, consumers feel more prosperous and confident enough to spend freely — on imported goods as well as on home-grown goods.

Alaska Lawmaker Sees Financial Boon in Refuge Drilling

WASHINGTON (AP) – Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski says her legislation to open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling would generate $2 billion in royalties over the next decade — with half the money going to her home state. But environmental groups and other critics call those projections wildly optimistic. A fiscal watchdog says drilling is likely to generate about $100 million for U.S. taxpayers — one-tenth the amount Murkowski and the Congressional Budget Office predict.

Accord on Revised Pacific Rim Trade Pact Stalled

DANANG, Vietnam (AP) – Talks on a Pacific Rim trade pact abandoned by President Donald Trump appear to have stalled. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Friday that leaders of the 11 countries still in the Trans-Pacific Partnership had to postpone a meeting meant to endorse a basic agreement. Abe made the comments after meeting with his Canadian counterpart, Justin Trudeau, who stayed away from the TPP leaders’ gathering at a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Equifax Apologizes Again, Lays Out Costs Going Forward

NEW YORK (AP) – A day after posting sizeable profit declines due to a massive data breach, Equifax says it expects to incur related costs of between $60 million and $75 million in the current quarter. Opening a conference call on Friday, interim CEO Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. apologized again for the breach, and said executives will not be receiving bonuses.

China to Ease Curbs on Foreign Business in Finance, Autos

BEIJING (AP) – China has taken what it calls a major step toward opening its financial industry with a promise to ease limits on foreign ownership of banks and securities firms following a visit by President Donald Trump that was dominated by trade issues. The announcement by a Cabinet official appeared to respond to mounting U.S. and European complaints that Beijing hampers foreign activity in a variety of industries in violation of free-trade commitments.