Business Briefs – April 4, 2019

Trump Team and China Resume Uphill Effort to End Trade Rift

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Trump administration is resuming negotiations with China toward ending a trade war that has deepened uncertainty for businesses and investors and dimmed the outlook for the global economy. The two sides are to meet for the ninth time Wednesday, with some analysts expressing optimism that the world’s two biggest economies might be near some kind of agreement.

Face Recognition Researcher Fights Amazon Over Biased AI

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) – A researcher at MIT helped show big tech companies like Amazon, Microsoft and IBM that their facial recognition technology was biased. Then, she pressed them to do something about it. Now, some policymakers are pushing to set limits on facial recognition before it becomes entrenched in our everyday lives.

U.S. Sales of Fresh Pet Food Are Soaring

DETROIT (AP) – U.S. pet owners are increasingly feeding fresh food to their dogs and cats. Data firm Nielsen says U.S. sales of fresh pet food in groceries and pet stores jumped 70% between 2015 and 2018, to more than $546 million. Proponents say fresh foods preserve nutrients and improve pets’ health. But some veterinarians question the trend, saying established products are backed by decades of research.

Trump Adviser: White House ‘Fully Behind’ Moore For Fed

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump is “fully behind” Stephen Moore, his choice to help lead the Federal Reserve, despite unflattering details that have come to light about Moore’s personal life, a top White House official said Wednesday while also complaining about Washington’s “toxic” environment. “I spoke to the president yesterday. He completely supports Steve,” Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, told reporters. “So we are fully behind him, fully behind him.”

Colorado Lawmakers Pass Dramatic Drilling Rule Changes

DENVER (AP) – Colorado lawmakers gave final approval Wednesday to a measure that would dramatically change the way the state regulates its booming oil and gas industry, shifting the focus to protecting public health instead of encouraging production.

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign the measure.

“The governor is thrilled to see it pass,” said his spokeswoman, Laurie Cipriano. “This bill protects the health and safety of Colorado families and communities and it represents a meaningful step forward for the state,” she said.

Opponents immediately announced an attempt to repeal and replace the measure.

Trump Signs Memorandum to Stem Counterfeit Goods Trafficking

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum on Wednesday to rein in what the administration calls the “Wild West” of online trafficking in counterfeit goods.

The memorandum is aimed at stopping the sale of counterfeit products on sites like Amazon, eBay and China’s e-commerce leader, Alibaba.

“This president has decided that it’s time to clean up this Wild West of counterfeiting and trafficking,” said Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council.

“The central core of the problem is that right now, third-party online marketplaces … have zero liability when it comes to trafficking in these counterfeit goods. That simply has to stop. We are going to attack that on numerous fronts.”

In a statement released on Wednesday, Amazon said that it “strictly prohibits” the sale of counterfeit products and welcomes more coordinated support from law enforcement to stem the problem. Amazon said that last year it spent more than $400 million fighting counterfeits, fraud and other forms of abuse.