Business Briefs – January 30, 2019

Foxconn Reconsiders Plan For Wisconsin Manufacturing Hub

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Electronics giant Foxconn reversed course and announced Wednesday that the massive Wisconsin operation that was supposed to bring a bounty of blue-collar manufacturing jobs back to the Midwest — and was offered billions of dollars in incentives from the state — will instead be devoted mostly to research and development.

The much-ballyhooed facility was heralded by President Donald Trump and former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as a once-in-a-generation opportunity . Foxconn, a major supplier to Apple, is the world’s largest contract maker of electronics and China’s largest private employer.

In a statement Wednesday, Foxconn said it remains committed to the project, the creation of 13,000 jobs and “to our long-term investment in Wisconsin.” But because the global market environment that existed when the project was first announced in 2017 has shifted, “this has necessitated the adjustment of plans for all projects, including Wisconsin.”

For U.S.-China Trade Talks, Hopes Are High, Expectations Low

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. and Chinese negotiators started two days of high-level talks Wednesday aimed at settling a six-month trade war that has weakened both sides, shaken financial markets and clouded the outlook for the global economy.

Yet the odds seem stacked against any substantive resolution to the standoff between the world’s two biggest economies.

The differences between Beijing and Washington are vast. The United States is essentially demanding that China downsize its economic aspiration to become a supreme world leader in such fields as robotics and electric cars.

U.K. Farmers Worry Where Exports Will Go Without EU Deal

CEREDIGION, Wales (AP) – Wyn Evans’s family has owned this 200-acre plot in western Wales for generations, a bucolic expanse where 370 sheep and 80 cows feast on the verdant grasses of undulating hillsides.

Evans, 55, wants his son to take over the farm that’s been in the family for 500 years. But he’s concerned that may not happen, as the rancorous debate over Brexit increases the risk Britain will leave the European Union without an agreement on future relations that would preserve free trade with the continent.

U.K. meat producers are particularly vulnerable to the threat of a no-deal Brexit because 90 percent of their exports go to EU countries, meaning many would find themselves in jeopardy because of the tariffs and border delays that would follow a disorderly exit from the bloc.

Britain’s Parliament on Tuesday refused to rule out a no-deal Brexit, voting instead to give Prime Minister Theresa May more time to try to iron out a compromise with the EU. May says the threat of leaving without an agreement, and the economic havoc that would cause on both sides of the English Channel, must remain a real possibility to bring EU negotiators to the table.

Survey: Businesses Added a Strong 213,000 Jobs in January

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. businesses added a solid 213,000 jobs in January, a private survey found, signaling that the partial government shutdown and trade war concerns that have roiled financial markets aren’t discouraging companies from hiring more people.

Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that January’s job gains were lower than the 263,000 added in December, which was revised slightly lower.

ADP’s report does not include government employees and therefore was not directly affected by the government shutdown. Still, the data suggests that the shutdown did not broadly discourage private companies from adding workers. The ADP report frequently diverges from the official figures.