Business Briefs – July 5, 2018

China Rejects ‘Blackmail’ on Eve of U.S. Tariff Hike

BEIJING (AP) – China rejected “threats and blackmail” ahead of a threatened U.S. tariff hike, striking a defiant stance Thursday in a dispute companies worry could flare into a full-blown trade war and chill the global economy.

A government spokesman said Beijing will defend itself if President Donald Trump goes ahead Friday with plans to raise duties on $34 billion of Chinese goods in the escalating conflict over technology policy.

“China will not bow in the face of threats and blackmail, nor will it be shaken in its resolve to defend global free trade,” said Ministry spokesman Gao Feng at a news conference.

“China will never fire the first shot,” Gao said. “However, if the United States adopts taxation measures, China will be forced to fight back to defend the core interests of the nation and the interests of the people.”

Bluster Aside, U.S. and China Vulnerable to Pain From Tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. and Chinese governments have been flashing a lot of bravado just before firing the first shots in a conflict that risks erupting into a mutually damaging trade war. Yet among the people and business in both countries that are suddenly under threat from higher costs, closed-off markets and deep uncertainties, there is far less confidence.

Fed Officials Discuss Rate Hikes That Could Slow Growth

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve officials last month said they expect to keep raising interest rates and suggested that, by next year, they could be high enough that they could start slowing growth, according to minutes of their discussion released Thursday. While noting a strong economy, Fed officials appeared vigilant about emerging risks, especially trade tensions, and the dangers of an economy that might overheat.

Boeing and Embraer Attempt a Joint Venture

(AP) – Boeing and Brazilian jet maker Embraer have agreed to form a joint venture that would push the U.S. aerospace giant into the market for smaller passenger planes.

The new company is being valued at $4.75 billion. Boeing Co. said Thursday that it will own 80 percent while Embraer SA takes the remaining 20 percent.

The venture will be controlled by Boeing — managers in Brazil will report to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg.

The preliminary agreement follows long negotiations that have been scrutinized closely in Brazil, where lawmakers fear losing control of a major industrial and defense asset. President Michel Temer rejected the sale of a controlling stake in Embraer to Boeing.

Canada Investigates Run-Ins Between U.S. Customs, Fishermen

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – The Canadian government says it’s investigating a series of encounters in which U.S. border patrols have approached Canadian fishing vessels in a disputed island area off the East Coast. The area in question is around Machias Seal Island, a 20-acre rock island at the Maine-New Brunswick border. U.S Customs and Border Protection says agents have interviewed 21 Canadian vessels this fiscal year while conducting regular patrols to enforce immigration laws but haven’t made any arrests.

TSA-Approved Ways to Shorten The Airport Screening Line

(AP) – The summer air travel season is shaping up to be the busiest ever, which could mean lengthy lines at U.S. airport security checkpoints. But you can use the faster lanes if you belong to an expedited screening program, which could essentially be free to join with the right credit card.

The primary federal programs for air travel, TSA Precheck and Global Entry, cost $85 or $100 per traveler, respectively, and enrollment lasts five years for both.

Faster security lanes could help reduce stress this summer as a record 243 million passengers and crew members are projected to pass through airport security checkpoints nationwide from Memorial Day to Labor Day, according to the TSA. That total is up from 239 million last year.

“Frequent travelers place great value on Precheck and Global Entry,” says Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst at Atmosphere Research Group. About 91 percent of business airline travelers said expedited airport screening was important to them, according to a 2017 survey by Harteveldt’s group.