Business Briefs – May 16, 2018

U.S. Retail Sales Up Solid 0.3 Pct. in April in Hopeful Sign

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales rose at a solid pace in April, a sign that consumers may be rebounding from weak spending earlier this year and driving stronger economic growth. Retail sales increased 0.3 percent in April, the Commerce Department said Tuesday, after a revised 0.8 percent gain in March. Last month’s spending gains were spread across most retail categories, with especially big gains at furniture and clothing stores.

Trump to Sign Order to Reform U.S. Infrastructure Technology

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is signing an executive order to try to reform the federal government’s confounding information technology structure. The White House says Mr. Trump will order agencies to strengthen the roles of their chief information officers, requiring that they report directly to the agency heads. The order was developed by the Office of American Innovation, which is led by Jared Kushner. It is being cast as an effort to bring private-sector management principles to government.

Trump Pick for Vice Chair Pledges Support for Key Fed Goals

WASHINGTON (AP) — Richard Clarida, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the No. 2 post at the Federal Reserve, is pledging support for the Fed’s twin goals of stabilizing inflation and maximizing employment while also declaring the importance of the central bank’s independence.

Audit: EPA Could Do More to Catch VW-Type Emissions Fraud

WASHINGTON (AP) — Auditors say federal regulators have stepped up the kind of testing that could have caught years of emissions-rigging by Volkswagen. The review by the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector-general says the agency still needs to do more to keep automakers from duping it again on pollution tests.

Trade Body: EU Still Providing Illegal Subsidies to Airbus

GENEVA (AP) — The World Trade Organization has ruled that the European Union continues to provide illegal subsidies to plane-maker Airbus. The decision is the latest in a string of tussles between the European manufacturer and U.S. rival Boeing. It also comes as the Trump administration has exerted intense pressure on the Geneva-based organization over what the president alleges is its “unfair” treatment of the United States.

U.S. Firms Seek Tariff Relief as U.S. and China Try to Mend Rift

WASHINGTON (AP) — Corporate America is seeking relief from President Donald Trump’s threatened tariffs on at least $50 billion in Chinese goods as negotiators seek to prevent a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

As the U.S. government began three days of hearings on the tariffs Tuesday, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He traveled to Washington to seek a resolution to the trade dispute. A similar high-level U.S. delegation made a trip to Beijing earlier this month and returned empty-handed.