Business Briefs – July 14, 2019

Report: FTC Approves Roughly $5B Fine for Facebook

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A Wall Street Journal report says that the FTC has voted this week to approve a fine of about $5 billion for Facebook over privacy violations. The report Friday cites an unnamed person familiar with the matter. Facebook and the FTC did not immediately respond to messages for comment.

Mnuchin Urges Congress To Quickly Pass New Debt Limit

WASHINGTON (AP) – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told congressional leaders that the debt ceiling should be raised before lawmakers leave for their August recess to avert the potential of an unprecedented default on the national debt. In a letter to House and Senate leaders on Friday, Mnuchin said that based on updated projections, “there is a scenario in which we run out of cash in early September.”

Judge Sides With Pentagon and Amazon in Cloud Bidding Case

WASHINGTON (AP) – A federal judge is dismissing allegations that bidding for a $10 billion cloud computing contract with the Pentagon was rigged to favor Amazon. Friday’s ruling dismissing Oracle’s claims clears the Defense Department to award the contract to one of two finalists: Amazon or Microsoft. Oracle and IBM were eliminated during an earlier round, but Oracle persisted with a legal challenge claiming conflicts of interest.

VW, Ford Team Up to Make Autonomous, Electric Vehicles

NEW YORK (AP) – Volkswagen will invest $2.6 billion into a Pittsburgh autonomous vehicle company mostly owned by Ford. The automakers who were once rivals are deepening their partnership to develop driverless and electric vehicles in an ultra-competitive landscape. They will become equal owners of Argo AI and plan to put autonomous vehicles on the roads in the U.S. and Europe. The deal includes a plan for Ford to use VW’s electric vehicle platform to build zero-emissions cars for the European market.

United Will Scrap 8,000 Flights Due to Grounded Boeing Jets

CHICAGO (AP) – United Airlines says it expects to cancel about 8,000 flights through October while its Boeing 737 Max jets remain grounded. The airline is taking the plane out of the schedule until early November.

American Airlines Extends Boeing Plane Flight Cancellations

WASHINGTON (AP) – American Airlines said Sunday that it will keep the Boeing 737 Max plane off its schedule until Nov. 3.

In a statement, American said the action will result in the cancellation of about 115 flights per day. It said it “remains confident” that the Boeing plane will be recertified this year.

S. Korea Proposes U.N. Probe Over Japanese Sanctions Claims

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea has proposed an investigation by the U.N. or another international body as it continues to reject Japanese claims that Seoul could not be trusted to faithfully implement sanctions against North Korea. Seoul’s presidential office says South Korea has been thoroughly implementing U.N. sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear weapons program. Export officials from both sides meanwhile sat down together in Tokyo for the first time since the crisis erupted.

China Imports From U.S. Plunge 31% in June Amid Tariff War

BEIJING (AP) – China’s trade with the U.S. plunged last month as a tariff war battered exporters on both sides of the Pacific. Tensions between the world’s two biggest economies continue even though President Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, called a cease-fire two weeks ago. Chinese imports of U.S. goods fell 31.4%, while exports of U.S. goods declined 7.8%.

Huawei Calls on U.S. to Lift Export Restrictions

SHENZHEN, China (AP) – The chairman of Huawei says the Chinese tech giant has yet to see any benefit from President Trump’s promise to allow U.S. companies to sell some components to the company and called on Washington to remove it from a security blacklist. Liang Hua says the ‘unjust and unfair’ decision to add Huawei, the biggest maker of network equipment used by phone companies, to a list that restricts exports is hurting U.S. suppliers and global customers.