Business Briefs – May 11, 2018

China Tech Giant Sidelined, U.S. Imports Held Amid Trade Spat

HONG KONG (AP) – A Chinese tech giant has been brought to its knees. Tougher inspections at Chinese ports are holding up cars, apples, lumber and other agricultural products imported from the U.S. These are among the early signs that the widening trade dispute between China and the U.S. is exacting a toll on both sides. More talks aimed at resolving the conflict are planned for next week in Washington, while both sides dig in for a fight over their trade imbalance.

Tame Inflation: April Consumer Prices Up Just 0.2 Percent

WASHINGTON (AP) – American drivers paid more for gas, but overall consumer prices rose only modestly in April, a sign that inflation remains mild. The modest pace of consumer inflation may send a reassuring signal to the Federal Reserve, which is considering how quickly to raise interest rates this year.

Tech Leaders Seek More Focus On AI at White House Summit

WASHINGTON (AP) – Top U.S. tech executives and researchers want the Trump administration to invest more in artificial intelligence and craft policies they hope will strengthen the economy without displacing jobs. The administration said Thursday it is doing just that at the White House’s first industry summit on AI.

U.S. Government Ran a $214.3 Billion Surplus in April

WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal government swung to a surplus of $214.3 billion in April, primarily reflecting the revenue from that month’s annual tax filing deadline. The Treasury Department reports that last month’s surplus increased 17.4 percent from a year ago. The April surplus reflected both the increase in tax revenue and a decrease in the costs of certain health care and benefit programs that were pulled forward to March.

Pruitt to Hear Economic Arguments In Enforcing Clean Air Act

WASHINGTON (AP) – Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt has announced a major shift in enforcement of the landmark Clean Air Act to include feedback from state and local governments and others on the economic impact of federal pollution limits. The initiative sets the stage for potential legal battles over how the United States enforces the 48-year-old law combating air pollution.

Parts Shortage That Hit Ford Spreads to More Companies

DETROIT (AP) – A fire that damaged a Michigan auto parts supply factory is causing production problems at Ford, Fiat Chrysler, BMW and General Motors, but it’s too soon to tell yet whether dealers will run short of vehicles. So far Ford has been hit hardest by parts shortages. The company has had to temporarily lay off 7,600 workers as it cuts production of the F-Series pickup truck, the top-selling vehicle in America.

People, Power Costs Keep Indoor Farming Down to Earth

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (AP) – More than 30 high-tech firms from the U.S. to Singapore are hoping to solve the saggy food problem that wilts leafy greens and bruises tomatoes in transit. Indoor farms stack plants in climate-controlled rooms, parse out nutrients and water, and bathe them with specialized lighting. It’s all so consumers can enjoy tasty vegetables year-round. But land, labor, and electricity aren’t cheap. And it’s tough to compete with dirt and free sunlight.