Business Briefs – July 11, 2018

U.S. Soon to Leapfrog Saudis, Russia as Top Oil Producer

NEW YORK (AP) – The U.S. is on pace to leapfrog both Saudi Arabia and Russia and reclaim the title of the world’s biggest oil producer for the first time since the 1970s. The latest forecast from the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that U.S. output will grow next year to 11.8 million barrels a day.

Trade Pain: Small Companies Hit by Import, Export Tariffs

NEW YORK (AP) – Small manufacturers are feeling the impact of tariffs the U.S. has imposed on products imported from places like China, Europe and Canada. Companies are also being hurt by retaliatory tariffs countries have placed on U.S. exports. Small businesses are vulnerable to tariffs because they lack the resources of larger companies to absorb higher costs. And if tariffs make it too costly to export to current markets, companies may not be able to afford finding new ones.

New EPA Acting Chief Defends Past Coal Industry Lobbying

WASHINGTON (AP) – The new acting chief of the Environmental Protection Agency is defending his past lobbying work with the coal industry as he addresses agency employees roiled by months of ethics allegations against former Administrator Scott Pruitt. Andrew Wheeler spoke to staffers Wednesday for the first time since President Donald Trump announced Pruitt’s resignation last Thursday. Wheeler said he understood the stress of top-level management changes, and he promised to defense and seek input from employees.

BMW Says No Change in South Carolina Expansion Plans

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) – BMW says it will continue plans to add 1,000 jobs in South Carolina, even as it starts production of a new electric vehicle in China. BMW spokesman Ken Sparks said the company is committed to spending $600 million in Spartanburg over the next three years. But steep tariffs are already raising sticker prices overseas for those cars, and South Carolina suppliers want BMW to give them some certainty. BMW has told the Trump administration that 45,000 jobs in South Carolina alone are at stake.

A New Round of Proposed Trump Tariffs Would Hit U.S. Consumers

WASHINGTON (AP) – Americans could soon find themselves paying a lot more for goods they might not have known were imported from China. It’s a potential consequence of a new round of tariffs the Trump administration is proposing to slap on Chinese imports by the end of summer.

Twitter to Remove Suspicious Accounts From Follower Counts

NEW YORK (AP) – Twitter says it will begin removing suspicious accounts it has locked — denying access to its owner — from its count of users’ followers. This means Twitter users are likely to see a reduction in their follower counts. For many users, this will amount to four followers or less. But the accounts of public figures could see a bigger drop.