Business Briefs – June 2, 2019

White House: Trump ‘Deadly Serious’ About Mexico Tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top White House official said Sunday that President Donald Trump is “deadly serious” about imposing tariffs on imports from Mexico, but acknowledged there are no concrete benchmarks being set to assess whether the U.S. ally is stemming the migrant flow enough to satisfy the administration.

“We intentionally left the declaration sort of ad hoc,” Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

On Monday, top officials from the two countries will start meetings in Washington. Mexican Economy Minister Graciela Marquez plans talks with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Two days later, delegations led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard will meet.

U.S. Companies Are in Line of Fire of Tariffs Aimed at Mexico

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump’s surprise threat Friday to impose escalating tariffs on Mexican imports jolted industry leaders throughout the U.S. economy, sparked sharp opposition even from usual Trump allies and set the stage for American consumers to face higher prices. President Trump vowed to slap a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports on June 10, just over a week away, and raise those tariffs to 25% by October, unless Mexico stops the flow of Central American migrants into the U.S.

China Factory Activity Falls Contracts in May Amid Dispute

BEIJING (AP) — China’s factory activity fell into contraction territory in May amid an ongoing trade dispute with the U.S. that has seen higher tariffs slapped on Chinese exports. The National Bureau of Statistics and an industry group, the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing, said Friday that the composite purchasing managers’ index of China dropped to 49.4 in May, down from 50.1 in April. Any reading below 50 shows that manufacturing activity is contracting.

Renault Board to Vote Next Week On Merger With Fiat Chrysler

PARIS (AP) — French automaker Renault says its board will meet on Tuesday to vote on a possible merger with Fiat Chrysler. Fiat Chrysler has proposed to merge with Renault to create the world’s third-biggest automaker, worth almost $40 billion, and combine forces in the race to make electric and autonomous vehicles.

Trump to Award Medal of Freedom To Conservative Economist

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is set to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist Arthur Laffer. Laffer is known as the father of supply side economics, which gained popularity under President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. The 78-year-old Laffer has been supportive of the president and co-wrote a book titled “Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy.” The medal is the nation’s highest civilian honor.