Business Briefs – December 27, 2018

China Says Plans Made for U.S. Trade Talks in January

BEIJING (AP) – China’s government said Thursday it has made plans with Washington for talks in January aimed at ending a tariff battle that threatens to depress global trade.

The two sides have “made specific arrangements for face-to-face meetings” and are talking by phone, said a Ministry of Commerce spokesman, Gao Feng. Gao gave no details.

Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed Dec. 1 to postpone more tariff hikes for 90 days while their governments negotiate over U.S. complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.

Mr. Trump agreed to postpone tariff hikes on $200 billion of Chinese imports planned for Jan. 1. Beijing responded by announcing a delay in a 25 percent duty on imported U.S. vehicles.

A Strong Economy Translates Into Big Year-End Sales

NEW YORK (AP) – Americans buoyed by a strong economy pushed year-end sales growth to a six-year high.

Retail sales rose 5.1 percent between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 from a year ago, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracked spending online and in stores across all payment types, including those who paid by cash or check. Total sales topped $850 billion this year, Mastercard said.

Online sales continued to grow, up more than 19 percent from a year ago. Last week, Mastercard said online sales made up 13 percent of total retail sales.