Business Briefs – December 4, 2018

Trump Says If No China Trade Deal Possible, ‘I Am a Tariff Man’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday held out the possibility of an extension of the 90-day trade truce with China, but warned he would revert to tariffs if the two sides could not resolve their differences.

Trump said his team of trade advisers led by China trade hawk U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would determine whether a “REAL deal” with China was possible.

“If it is, we will get it done,” Trump said in a Twitter post. “But if not remember, I am a Tariff Man.”

More U.S. Beef Being Recalled Over Salmonella Fears

NEW YORK (AP) — An Arizona company is expanding the scope of its recall of raw beef that could be contaminated with salmonella, federal officials said Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a news release that a unit of Brazil’s JBS is now recalling a total of more than 12 million pounds of raw beef that was shipped around the United States. According to officials, information obtained in three additional cases of sickened patients led to the identification of other ground-beef products that weren’t part of the initial recall.

JBS Tolleson in Arizona already recalled about 7 million pounds of beef in October. Health officials say all the products up for recall have the USDA inspection number “EST. 267.”

“While no products in this expansion have been definitively linked to any illness, we have determined in consultation with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) that this action is in the best interests of public health,” JBS said in a statement Monday.

Economic Chill Dulls Chinese Appetite for Some Luxury Brands

BEIJING (AP) — The designer boutiques of Manhattan and Paris are feeling the chill of a Chinese economic slowdown that has hammered automakers and other industries.

It’s a rude awakening for such designer brands as Louis Vuitton and Burberry that increasingly rely on Chinese customers who spend $90 billion a year on jewelry, clothes and other high-end goods. The industry already is facing pressure to keep up, as China’s big spenders, mainstays for American and European retailers, shift to buying more at the spreading networks of luxury outlets in their own country.

Last week, Tiffany & Co. showed how much well-heeled Chinese tourists matter to retailers abroad. Shares in the jeweler fell 12 percent after its CEO said they were spending less.

U.S. Coal Consumption Drops To Lowest Level Since 1979

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans are consuming less coal in 2018 than at any time since Jimmy Carter’s presidency, a federal report said Tuesday, as cheap natural gas and other sources of energy frustrate the Trump administration’s pledges to revive the U.S. coal industry.

A report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected Tuesday that 2018 would see the lowest U.S. coal consumption since 1979, as well as the second-greatest number on record of coal-fired power plants shutting down.

The country’s electrical grid accounts for most of U.S. coal consumption. U.S. coal demand has been falling since 2007 in the face of competition from increasingly abundant and affordable natural gas and renewable energy, such as solar and wind power. Tougher pollution rules also have compelled some older, dirtier-burning coal plants to close rather than upgrade their equipment to trap more harmful coal emissions.

President Donald Trump has made bringing back the coal industry and abundant coal jobs a tenet of his administration. He and other Republicans frequently attacked former President Barack Obama for waging what they called a “war on coal” through increased regulations that Republicans said killed jobs and harmed the industry.