Business Briefs – May 8, 2019

Trump ‘Happy’ to Keep Tariffs On Chinese Goods; Beijing Prepares Retaliation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would be happy to keep tariffs on Chinese imports as the two countries prepare for new talks to try to rescue a faltering trade deal amid a sharp increase in U.S. duties.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office announced that tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods would increase to 25 percent from 10 percent at 12:01 a.m. ET on Friday, right in the middle of two days of meetings between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and Trump’s top trade officials in Washington.

“The Chinese side deeply regrets that if the U.S. tariff measures are implemented, China will have to take necessary countermeasures,” China’s Commerce Ministry said on its website, without elaborating.

Trump’s Tariff Hike Menaces Strong Economy

WASHINGTON (AP) – For months, the U.S. economy has shrugged and chugged along as America and China slapped tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of each other’s goods in the fiercest trade fight since the 1930s. President Donald Trump’s decision to hike tariffs Friday could change all that. Analysts warn the move could sharply reduce U.S. economic growth a year from now. Higher import taxes mean some companies will have to take on more debt. Others are resorting to layoffs and product delays.

U.S. Regulators Get Sympathy From Congress on Powers, Fines

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal privacy regulators are getting a sympathetic hearing from Congress for their request for greater powers and funding to police privacy, with lawmakers of both parties warning that fines against big companies may be inadequate to change their conduct. The Federal Trade Commission is negotiating a record fine with Facebook to punish the company for alleged violations of its users’ privacy.

GM in Talks to Sell Shuttered Factory in Lordstown, Ohio

DETROIT (AP) – General Motors is negotiating the sale of its shuttered factory in Lordstown, Ohio, to a company that builds electric trucks. The company confirmed Wednesday that it’s in talks with Cincinnati-based Workhorse Group to sell the huge facility, and also announced plans to invest $700 million in three Ohio factories to create 450 additional jobs.

Ride-Hailing Drivers Expose Financial Unrest Before Uber IPO

NEW YORK (AP) – As Uber prepares for its stock market debut Friday, its long-term success or failure will largely depend on the nearly 4 million drivers in the company’s network. The ride-hailing company will need to convince drivers to stick with it as it grapples with complaints over wages and the way it classifies drivers as contractors instead of employees.

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