Tag Archives: International Trade

Egyptian, Mexican, Moldovan exit in race for prime submit at WTO


World Commerce Group member states have trimmed a listing of candidates vying to develop into its subsequent director-general from eight to 5 by ejecting candidates from Egypt, Mexico and Moldova


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Japan exports fall 15% in August as pandemic pummels commerce


Japan’s commerce surplus widened in August because the pandemic pummeled a wide selection of industries and sapped shopper demand

MITO, Japan — Japan’s commerce surplus widened in August because the pandemic pummeled a wide selection of industries and sapped shopper demand.

The 15% drop in exports from a yr earlier was outpaced by a greater than 20% decline in imports, in accordance with preliminary knowledge from the Finance Ministry launched Wednesday.

In a single uncommon vibrant spot, exports to China rose 5%. However each exports and imports with the U.S. fell greater than 20%, serving to scale back the politically delicate commerce surplus by 20% to 373 billion yen ($3.5 billion).

Many Japanese producers present chemical compounds, tools and elements for merchandise assembled in China. Strong exports have helped drive development lately however suffered as China’s financial system slowed and the pandemic took maintain.

The tempo of the decline in exports has been lessening as pandemic-related shutdowns in China, the U.S. and Europe eased. Exports fell 28% year-on-year in Could, 26% in June and 19% in July.

Exports in August totaled 5.23 trillion yen ($49 billion), outpacing 4.98 trillion yen in imports ($47 billion), leaving a surplus of 248 billion yen ($2.Four billion). That in contrast with a 152.2 billion yen deficit a yr earlier.

Commerce in most classes of merchandise declined in August, with exports of transport tools comparable to autos falling 23%. Exports of computer systems and telephones rose, nevertheless, reflecting sturdy demand as many firms and colleges regulate to distant work.

Weak point in exports to Southeast Asia took a toll, falling practically 24%, as commerce and journey have languished amid strict quarantine restrictions.

Serving to to spice up the commerce surplus, imports of oil, gasoline and different fuels plunged 45%, partly due to decrease costs for a lot of commodities. General, imports have been falling for 16 straight months, partly because of decrease costs for oil and different items resource-scarce Japan should supply abroad.

Regardless of the most recent weak knowledge, surveys of producers present new export orders are recovering, mentioned Tom Learmouth of Capital Economics.

“However whereas items exports will proceed to get better as exercise picks up in Japan’s buying and selling companions, exports of products and companies might not attain pre-virus ranges till early-2022,” he mentioned in a report.


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Oil clambers larger as OPEC, allies transfer nearer to deeper


SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil costs jumped 1.5% on Wednesday on hopes that main producers have made progress in direction of sealing an settlement to implement deeper output cuts aimed toward offsetting the droop in demand brought on by the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.

FILE PHOTO: Pump jacks function at sundown in Midland, Texas, U.S., February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

Brent crude LCOc1 rose by 78 cents, or 1.50%, to $52.64 a barrel at 0502 GMT, after settling down four cents within the earlier session. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 rose by 72 cents, or 1.53%, to $47.90 a barrel, up for a 3rd session.

A panel of the Group of Petroleum Exporting International locations (OPEC) and its allies, a grouping often known as OPEC+, advisable reducing oil output by an additional 1 million barrels per day (bpd) on Tuesday. The advice might imply that Russia and Saudi Arabia, the 2 greatest producers within the OPEC+ group, are near a deal to assist costs.

That will be along with 2.1 million bpd in present output cuts that embody a 1.7 million bpd in curbs by OPEC+ and different voluntary reductions by Saudi Arabia, the world’s greatest exporter. The group is ready to fulfill formally in Vienna on March 5-6.

“That is no time for warning for OPEC+. Second-quarter oversupply wanted some heavy lifting from the group to offset even earlier than the COVID-19 (coronavirus illness) outbreak, however now it’s a should,” Barclays analysts mentioned in a analysis notice.

Brent and WTI have every fallen about 27% from their 2020-peak reached in January.

The anticipated 1 million bpd extra minimize by OPEC+ would nonetheless fall effectively in need of the newly elevated 2.1 million bpd anticipated world demand loss within the first half alone, Goldman Sachs analysts (GS.N) wrote in a analysis notice.

U.S. crude oil inventories rose in the newest week, whereas gasoline and distillate shares fell, knowledge from trade group the American Petroleum Institute confirmed on Tuesday.

Crude inventories rose by 1.7 million barrels within the week to Feb. 28 to 446.6 million barrels, in contrast with analysts’ expectations for a construct of two.6 million barrels.

Goldman has once more minimize its Brent value forecast to $45 a barrel in April, whereas anticipating Brent regularly recovering to $60 a barrel by year-end.

Morgan Stanley on Tuesday additionally minimize its second-quarter 2020 Brent value forecast to $55 per barrel and its WTI outlook to $50 on expectations that China’s 2020 oil demand development can be near zero and that demand elsewhere might weaken due to the virus.

Elsewhere, the U.S. Federal Reserve minimize rates of interest on Tuesday in a bid to protect the world’s largest economic system from the influence of the coronavirus.

“(The) Fed’s emergency fee minimize underscores fragility of financial fundamentals, and this urges OPEC+ to expedite a deeper output minimize to shore up vitality costs,” mentioned Margaret Yang, market analyst at CMC Markets.

Yang mentioned from a technical evaluation perspective, Brent has discovered sturdy assist at round $50-52, whereas quick resistance will be discovered at $54.70.

Reporting by Shu Zhang; Modifying by Christian Schmollinger and Kenneth Maxwell

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.


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U.S. raises tariffs on European aircraft in ongoing dispute over subsidies


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government on Friday said it would increase tariffs on aircraft imported from the European Union to 15% from 10%, ratcheting up pressure on Brussels in a nearly 16-year transatlantic dispute over aircraft subsidies.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Airbus is pictured at the aircraft builder’s headquarters of Airbus in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, November 15, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office said it remained open to reaching a negotiated settlement with the EU on the issue, but could revise its actions if the EU imposed tariffs of its own in connection with a pair of disputes over the subsidies.

In a statement released late on Friday, USTR said it would make minor modifications to 25% tariffs imposed on cheese, wine and other non-aircraft products from the EU, including dropping prune juice from the list. It did not raise the tariff rates on those product, as it had suggested it might do in October.

The higher aircraft tariff will take effect March 18.

The U.S. action comes as U.S. President Donald Trump, emboldened by agreement on a Phase 1 trade deal with China, has trained his sights on restructuring the more than $1 trillion U.S.-EU trade relationship, raising the specter of another major trade war as the global economy slows.

EU officials have said they want to negotiate with Washington but will not be bullied into submission.

European planemaker Airbus (AIR.PA) said the U.S. move would hit U.S. airlines already facing a shortage of aircraft and complicate efforts to reach a negotiated settlement with the European Union in the longstanding dispute.

Airbus said it would continue discussions with U.S. customers to “mitigate effects of tariffs insofar as possible” and hoped USTR would change its position, particularly given the threat of EU tariffs on U.S. products in its own case before the World Trade Organization.

“USTR’s decision ignores the many submissions made by U.S. airlines, highlighting the fact that they – and the U.S. flying public – ultimately have to pay these tariffs,” the company said in a statement.

EU officials had no immediate comment on Friday’s news.

The USTR had announced in December that it could increase tariff rates up to 100% and subject additional EU products to tariffs, following a decision by the WTO that EU launch aid to Airbus continued to harm the U.S. aerospace industry.

The WTO in October had awarded Washington the right to impose tariffs on $7.5 billion of annual EU imports in its case against Airbus. Washington then slapped 10% tariffs on most European-made Airbus jets and 25% duties on products ranging from cheese to olives and single-malt whisky, from Oct. 18.

Boeing, in a statement, said it was working with U.S. federal and state officials to “promptly bring the United States into full compliance” with WTO rulings.

“The EU and Airbus could end these tariffs by finally complying with their legal obligations, ending these illegal subsidies, and addressing their ongoing harm. We hope they will,” the company said in a statement.

The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) said it remains strongly opposed to tariffs on European-origin wine and spirits, and urged U.S. and EU trade officials to negotiate an end to a trade dispute that was lowering revenues.

A study commissioned by the group estimated that the 25% tariffs implemented in October could result in the loss of nearly 36,000 jobs in the beverage alcohol industry.

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States said tit-for-tat tariffs on alcoholic beverages were hurting companies and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic.

It said new U.S. government data showed the U.S. spirit industry’s exports to the EU, its largest export market, fell 27% in 2019 from a year earlier, and global exports of American whiskey declined 16% in the same period.

“We urge both sides to resolve these disputes so that consumers can enjoy #ToastsNotTariffs,” the group said.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Makini Brice; Editing by Daniel Wallis

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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Hyundai halts Korea output as China outbreak fallout spreads


Hyundai Motors is suspending production in South Korea, a sign that the economic fallout from China’s viral outbreak is spreading.

For other companies bracing for losses from coronavirus, the damage has so far been delayed, thanks to a stroke of timing: The outbreak hit just when Chinese factories and many businesses were closed anyway to let workers travel home for the week-long Lunar New Year holiday .

But the respite won’t last.

If much of industrial China remains on lockdown for the next few weeks, a very real possibility, Western retailers, auto companies and manufacturers that depend on Chinese imports will start to run out of the goods they depend on.

In order to meet deadlines for summer goods, retail experts say that Chinese factories would need to start ramping up production by March 15. If Chinese factories were instead to remain idle through May 1, it would likely cripple retailers’ crucial back-to-school and fall seasons.

“There’s complete uncertainty,’’ said Steve Pasierb, CEO of the Toy Industry Association. “This could be huge if it goes on for months.’’

Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak hit hardest, is a center of automotive production. It’s been closed off, along with neighboring cities, isolating more than 50 million people and bringing factories to a standstill.

So far, U.S. automakers haven’t had to curb production for want of Chinese parts. But David Closs, professor emeritus at Michigan State University’s Department of Supply Chain Management, said the clock is ticking.

“I would say it’s weeks at the most,’’ Closs said. “One to two to three weeks.’’

Hyundai said Tuesday that it was suspending production in South Korea “due to disruptions in the supply of parts resulting from the coronavirus outbreak in China” and that it “was seeking alternative suppliers in other regions.”

The partial shutdown of Wuhan has already harmed the production of TV display panels and raised prices, according to a report by research group IHS Markit. The city has five factories making liquid crystal displays, known as LCDs, and organic light-emitting diodes, known as OLEDs, both of which are used for television and laptop monitors. China accounts for more than half of the global production capacity for making these display panels.

David Hsieh, an analyst at IHS Markit, said in a report that “these factories are facing shortages of both labor and key components as a result of mandates designed to limit the contagion’s spread,” leading suppliers to raise panel prices more aggressively.

Phone-maker Motorola, which has a facility in Wuhan, said that so far, it expects little impact because it has a flexible global supply chain and multiple factories around the world. Its priority has been the welfare of local employees, Motorola, which is owned by the Chinese electronics giant Lenovo, said in a statement.

Apple CEO Tim Cook told analysts last week that the company’s contractors in China had been forced to delay reopening factories that closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. Cook said the company is seeking ways to minimize supply disruptions. Some of its suppliers are in Hubei, the Chinese province at the center of the outbreak. Most of Apple’s iPhones and other devices are made in China.

In the meantime, economists are sharply downgrading the outlook for China’s economy, the world’s second-biggest. Tommy Wu and Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics have slashed their forecast for Chinese economic growth this year from 6% to 5.4%. They expect most of the damage to be inflicted in the first three months of 2020.

“But a more serious and long-lasting impact cannot be ruled out,’’ they wrote Monday.

Forecasters are contending with unknowns. No one knows how long the outbreak will last, how much damage it will cause or how policymakers will respond to the threat.

“We’re grasping for precedents,’’ said Phil Levy, chief economist at the freight company Flexport who was an economic adviser in the administration of President George W. Bush.

Some look back to the SARS outbreak, which paralyzed the Chinese economy for the first few months of 2003. But the damage from SARS faded quickly: China was booming again by year’s end. And the world economy emerged mostly unscathed.

But times have changed in ways that are not favorable to containing the economic damage. Back then, China was the world’s workshop for cheap goods — toys and sneakers, for instance. Now, China has moved up to sophisticated machine parts and electronics like LCDs. And it accounts for about 16% of global economic output, up significantly from just 4% in 2003.

Levy said he was struck by how U.S. airlines reacted to the coronavirus: They suspended flights between the United States and mainland China for weeks — American airlines through March 27, United through March 28 and Delta until April 30.

The move doesn’t just affect tourists, students and business travelers. Caryn Livingston, editor of Air Cargo World, noted that about half of air cargo has historically been transported in the bellies of passenger aircraft.

“When you see them loading those big 747s, that’s not just your luggage,’’ Levy said. “That can be pallets full of electronics and other things.’’

The health crisis coincides with an especially difficult time for China’s factories. A 19-month trade war with the United States — in which the Trump administration imposed tariffs on $360 billion of Chinese imports — has already led U.S.-based multinational corporations to look for alternatives to Chinese suppliers. Many are moving to Vietnam or other low-wage countries to dodge President Donald Trump’s taxes on Chinese-made goods.

The Trump administration and Beijing last month reached an interim trade deal. China agreed to step up purchases of U.S. imports by $200 billion this year and next. But Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told Fox Business Network on Tuesday that the viral outbreak means that the expected “export boom from that trade deal will take longer.”

The coronavirus, along with fears that U.S.-China tensions over trade and geopolitics will persist, gives them one more reason to reduce their reliance on China. Among multinational firms, there is “increasing unease that China is starting to become quite risky,’’ said Johan Gott, an independent consultant who specializes in political risks for businesses.

But it isn’t easy to completely abandon China, where specialized suppliers cluster in manufacturing centers and make it convenient for factories to obtain parts when they need them.

Basic Fun, a toy company based in Boca Raton, Florida, has sought suppliers in Vietnam and India with no luck yet. Its CEO, Jay Foreman, said he is hoping that the factories in China will resume production by early April, which he considers the best-case scenario. But he fears that any more delays could mean that the factories don’t start to ramp up production until after May 1.

The stakes are high. Basic Fun gets about 90% of its toys from China. And Foreman has been contending with the trade war and disruptive protests in Hong Kong.

The coronavirus, he said, is “just a continuation of sitting on the knife’s edge … sleeping on the bed of nails from tariffs to the riots in Hong Kong and the virus. We just can’t get a break.”


D’Innocenzio reported from New York. AP Business Writers Tom Krisher in Detroit, David Koenig in Dallas and Matt O’Brien in Providence, Rhode Island, contributed to this report.


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Market for small businesses rebounds after 4 quarterly drops


The market for small businesses rebounded in the last three months of 2019 after four straight quarterly declines caused in part by uncertainty about U.S. trade policy and rising employee pay

The market for small businesses rebounded in the last three months of 2019 after four straight quarterly declines caused in part by uncertainty about U.S. trade policy.

That’s the finding of a report analyzing business sales released by BizBuySell.com, an online marketplace for companies. BizBuySell.com counted 2,340 small businesses sold during October-December, up nearly 2.3% from 2,288 sold in the same period of 2018. For all of 2019, sales fell 5.5% to 9,746 from 10,312 the previous year. BizBuySell.com counts sales reported by brokers.

BizBuySell.com noted that sales activity is at high levels, but the Trump administration’s tariffs on goods imported from China and Europe have driven up companies’ overhead and lowered the number of transactions. Buyers are wary about the impact the tariffs can have on a company’s earnings, especially since it’s unclear how long the tariffs may remain in effect. Meanwhile, prospective sellers are concerned about how much the tariffs can affect their selling prices.

Owners have had to price companies conservatively to make a sale although their businesses are financially healthy. The median revenue of businesses sold in 2019 was up 7% at $567,000, compared to $531,653 in 2018, the report said. Yet the median sales price of a company rose a slim $1,000 to $250,000. Asking prices were flat at $275,000.

Besides tariffs, sales have also been affected by rising minimum wages and uncertainty about the November elections. But Bob House, BizBuySell.com’s president, expects strong sales this year “even if levels plateau a bit due to economic and political concerns.”

Nearly 40% of the reported sales were of service businesses, while retailers comprised nearly 24% and restaurants, 23%. Four percent of sales were of manufacturers, with other companies comprising the remaining 11%.


Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg. Her work can be found here: https://apnews.com


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Pompeo in UK to talk Huawei, post-Brexit trade deal


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States and Britain will retain and enhance their special relationship after the U.K.’s departure from the European Union this week

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the U.S. and Britain would retain and enhance their special relationship once the U.K. leaves the European Union this week. He also said that American unhappiness with the British decision to allow the Chinese tech company Huawei to play a role in the country’s high-speed wireless network would not affect broader ties.

As President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial neared a close in Washington, Pompeo met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to re-register American concerns about Huawei. But he stressed that he expected they could be addressed as more details emerge on what limits will be placed on the company and with advances in communications technology.

Pompeo played down concerns that Huawei’s presence in Britain’s 5G network would severely disrupt intelligence sharing within the so-called “Five Eyes” partnership of English-speaking nations that includes the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“That relationship is deep. It is strong, it will remain,” Pompeo said at an event with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab before meeting Johnson. “I am confident that as we work together to figure out how to implement this decision that we’ll work to get this right.”

“We were trying to make the case, as we made the case with every country in the world, that we think putting Huawei technology anywhere in your system is very, very difficult to mitigate and therefore not worth the gamble,” he said.

“But as we move forward together to make sure that next generation of technology is right, is secure and operates a under a Western set of values and system, we’ll get to the right place,” Pompeo said.

The U.S. has been lobbying European allies to ban Huawei over concerns it could be compelled to help with electronic eavesdropping after Beijing enacted a 2017 national intelligence law. U.S. officials also worry that 5G networks would rely heavily on software, leaving them open to vulnerabilities, and have repeatedly warned they would have to reconsider intelligence sharing with allies that use Huawei. The company has denied the allegations.

On Tuesday, Britain decided to let Huawei have a limited role supplying new high-speed network equipment to wireless carriers, ignoring Washington’s warnings that it would sever intelligence sharing if the company wasn’t banned.

Britain’s decision was the first by a major U.S. ally in Europe, and follows intense lobbying from the Trump administration as the U.S. vies with China for technological dominance.

Huawei is not expected to greatly affect negotiations on a post-Brexit free trade deal that Britain is counting on after its divorce from the EU on Friday. Trump has pledged that the U.S. and Britain will negotiate a major free-trade deal as soon as Brexit is complete and officials have already begun discussions on the plan.

Pompeo said that the U.S. would put Britain “at the front of the line” in its trade relationships and that the Trump administration had great confidence in the British people as they move ahead outside of the EU framework. He said he expected U.S.-British trade ties to exponentially increase once Britain is freed from EU commercial restrictions.

Pompeo is in London on the first leg of a trip to Europe and Central Asia that will also take him to Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

The centerpiece of the trip will be a two-day stop in Ukraine that begins later Thursday when Pompeo will become the most senior U.S. official to visit Kyiv and meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy since the impeachment process began last year.

Ukraine is at the center of the impeachment charges against Trump who is accused of obstructing Congress and abuse of office for withholding critical military aid to the country in exchange for an investigation into alleged corruption by the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival. Those allegations got a boost earlier this week when a manuscript of former national security adviser John Bolton’s upcoming book was revealed to echo the claim.

The Senate is expected to vote on hearing impeachment witnesses, including possibly Bolton, on Friday. Bolton maintains that Trump was in fact withholding the aid in exchange for a public pledge of a probe into Biden as witnesses testified before the House impeachment inquiry.

Ukraine has been delicate subject for Pompeo, who over the weekend lashed out at a National Public Radio reporter for asking questions about why he has not publicly defended the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was removed from her post early after unsubstantiated allegations were made against her by Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph Giuliani.

Pompeo has twice postponed earlier planned trips to Ukraine, most recently in early January when developments with Iran forced him to cancel. In Kyiv, Pompeo said he plans to discuss the issue of corruption but demurred when asked if he would specifically raise the Bidens or the energy company Burisma for which Hunter Biden worked.

“I don’t want to talk about particular individuals. It’s not worth it,” he told reporters aboard his plane to London. “It’s a long list in Ukraine of corrupt individuals and a long history there. And President Zelenskiy has told us he’s committed to it. The actions he’s taken so far demonstrate that, and I look forward to having a conversation about that with him as well.”


Follow AP’s full coverage of Brexit and British politics at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit


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US stocks rise after signing of ‘Phase 1’ trade deal


Stocks are rising in afternoon trading Wednesday following the signing of a preliminary trade deal between the U.S. and China

Stocks rose in afternoon trading on Wall Street Wednesday after the signing of an initial trade deal between the U.S. and China.

President Donald Trump and China’s chief negotiator, Liu He, signed the “Phase 1″ deal before a group of corporate executives and press at the White House. The pact eases some sanctions on China. In return, Beijing has agreed to step up its purchases of U.S. farm products and other goods. The initial agreement is a key step toward de-escalating an 18-month long trade conflict between the world’s largest economies.

Both nations will have to deal with some of the more contentious trade issues as they move ahead with negotiations. Punitive tariffs will remain on Chinese goods as talks continue.

Health care stocks accounted for much of the market’s gains. Several health insurers rose as investors cheered a solid fourth-quarter earnings report from UnitedHealth Group.

Technology companies also climbed. The sector is reliant on China for sales and supply chains and benefits from better trade relations. Microsoft rose 0.8% and Advanced Micro Devices gained 0.9%.

Banks were broadly lower after Bank of America reported weaker profits. Energy stocks also fell along with the price of crude oil.

With the trade issue entering a new stage, Wall Street is focusing on the rollout of corporate earnings reports over the next few weeks.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index was up 0.2% as of 1:11 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 92 points, or 0.3%, to 29,031. If the gains hold, the Dow would have its first close above 29,000 points. The Nasdaq rose 0.2%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 0.4%.

Markets in Europe were mostly lower.

ANALYST’S TAKE: Trade fears have largely subsided and investors are focusing on corporate earnings, especially the picture executives provide for the rest of the year.

“If we hear a better tone this earnings season, more confidence in guidance, that could encourage investors,” said Jeffrey Kleintop, chief global investment strategist at the Schwab Center for Financial Research. “That might even outweigh what the trade deal actually looks like.”

OFF THE MARK: Target slumped 7.4% after a disappointing holiday shopping season prompted the retailer to cut its forecast for a key sales measure in the fourth quarter. The company said weak sales of electronics, toys and home goods crimped sales growth to just 1.4% in November and December.

WANING INTEREST: Bank of America fell 2.1% after reporting a drop in fourth-quarter profits because of the rapid decline of interest rates in late 2019. The bank is particularly impacted by movements in interest rates since it sells a range of consumer banking services, and its balance sheet is more aligned with short-term bonds and other securities.

HEALTHIER RESULTS: UnitedHealth Group rose 3.1% after the nation’s largest health insurer reported surprisingly good fourth-quarter profits. The company covers more than 49 million people and its revenue rose 4% on a mix of insurance premiums and growth from urgent care and surgery centers.

Other health insurers also moved higher. Anthem gained 2.1%, Cigna rose 1.8% and Humana climbed 2.6%.


AP Business Writer Damian J. Troise contributed.


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U.S. importers stockpile Parmigiano, Provolone as tariffs on EU cheeses loom


By Andrea Shalal and Aleksandra Michalska

Parmesan cheese is seen packaged within the warehouse at Ambriola Co Inc, a unit of Gennaro Auricchio SpA, one in every of Italy’s largest cheese producers, in West Caldwell, New Jersey, U.S., October 4, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

WASHINGTON/WEST CALDWELL, New Jersey (Reuters) – Ambriola Co Inc’s mammoth warehouse in West Caldwell, New Jersey, is crammed filled with packing containers and wheels of more durable cheeses similar to Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano and Grana Padano – and extra is coming, tons extra.

Phil Marfuggi, president and chief government officer of Ambriola, a unit of Auricchio SpA, one in every of Italy’s largest cheese producers, is among the many many importers and store homeowners throughout the nation who’re scrambling to stockpile European cheeses earlier than new U.S. tariffs kick in on Oct. 18 in efforts to defend customers from worth hikes.

The Trump administration on Wednesday slapped 25% tariffs on cheese and different European Union merchandise starting from whisky to woolens, in retaliation for EU subsidies on giant plane. Either side say they’re open to negotiations, however commerce consultants see little likelihood of averting the duties – at the least within the quick run.

Importers started ordering tens of millions of {dollars} of additional wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano and different more durable cheeses after the U.S. Commerce Consultant’s workplace in July added cheese to its listing of EU merchandise doubtlessly going through tariffs because of the dispute over plane subsidies.

“When that listing got here out, that’s after I … began bringing in lots of extra containers of cheese of Reggiano, Provolone,” stated Marfuggi, who has one other 21 delivery containers filled with cheese en path to be added to the stockpile within the firm’s warehouse in Caldwell, which sits about 15 miles west of Manhattan.

Marfuggi stated he ordered an additional $15 million of cheeses that may very well be saved for over a 12 months to make sure satisfactory provides for current prospects and shield pricing via the tip of the 12 months.

“I’ve been build up stock … as a result of we’ve got a goal on our backs,” he stated.

The brand new duties may slash U.S. imports of EU cheeses valued at $1.5 billion a 12 months by 30% and jack up costs throughout the nation, stated Marfuggi, who additionally serves as president of the Cheese Importers Affiliation of America.

Some higher-priced objects will merely disappear from shops, he predicted, like Moliterno al Tartufo, an aged Italian cheese with an intense truffle taste. Even Parmigiano Reggiano may very well be in danger if costs rose to $30 a pound, he stated.

“There are going to be some objects … that the supermarkets are simply not going to deal with anymore. It’ll be worth prohibitive for that,” he stated.

The tariffs will hit shopper costs and finally jobs throughout the US, stated Ralph Hoffman, government vice chairman of Schuman Cheese, one of many largest importers of exhausting Italian cheeses.

Over 20,000 U.S. retail shops starting from Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O) to Wegmans Meals Markets promote EU cheeses. These cheeses generate some $3.5 billion of income for U.S. firms, supporting some 20,000 jobs, together with patrons, deli clerks, truck drivers and warehouse employees, Hoffman stated. He famous that the brand new tariffs come on prime of current duties of round 15%.

Specialty grocer The Recent Market expects the tariffs to have an effect on about 35% of the 200 cheeses it carries at its 160 shops.

“We’re ready to see how the importers are going to move the associated fee alongside,” stated Andrew Harvell, who heads the corporate’s cheese division. “All the things’s nonetheless up within the air,” he stated, including that Recent Market had pre-ordered sufficient cheese to final via the vacation season, however may have to boost costs quickly thereafter.

Mike Bowers, the third-generation proprietor of a specialty cheese store at Washington’s storied Japanese Market, stated he started hoarding further wheels of exhausting cheeses – some weighing as a lot as 80 kilos – in July when USTR first introduced it may impose tariffs on cheese and different agricultural items.

His glass cheese counters, coolers and enormous walk-in fridge are stuffed to overflowing, however Bowers stated his provides won’t final via the vacation season. He stated he must move on the price of the tariffs.

“I’m a small man. I can’t purchase a $100 cheese and promote it for $50 and count on to remain in enterprise too lengthy,” he stated.

“I’ve a stockpile of cheese to be sure that I’m capable of preserve stock and preserve gross sales at my counter,” Bowers stated. “After which as time goes on, we’ll must see.”

He stated the standard of U.S. cheeses was bettering, offering good alternate options for some in style European cheeses, however he must discover methods to be extra “progressive” sooner or later.

He additionally has a stable choice available of Swiss cheeses that aren’t topic to EU tariffs, together with a Gruyere-style L’Etivaz, made in copper pots in line with historical custom.

Marfuggi stated it was a reduction that USTR opted for 25% tariffs as an alternative of the 100% charge initially proposed, however he worries that patrons would swap to home or different international provides if the tariffs stayed in place a very long time.

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“If that occurs, you’re going to lose a substantial quantity of shopper base, and it’s exhausting to win that again,” he stated.

And cheese hoarding can’t resolve all of the anticipated shortages, he warned. Many softer cheeses can’t be saved for almost as lengthy, so costs of these objects will seemingly rise rapidly.

“If you happen to’re a Gorgonzola lover, you’re positively out of luck,” Marfuggi stated.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Aleksandra Michalska; Extra reporting by Richa Naidu; Modifying by Heather Timmons and Leslie Adler

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.


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AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s fact-challenged week over impeachment


Going through an impeachment inquiry, President Donald Trump is popping to a well-known playbook to defend himself: attacking his investigators , blasting the inquiry as unlawful and deriding the method as all-but-rigged.

Many information are getting misplaced within the course of.

He repeatedly lambasted Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the Home Intelligence Committee chairman who’s main the impeachment evaluate, as responsible of treason or defamation for mocking Trump’s July 25 cellphone name with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Neither cost is legitimate.

Trump additionally assailed the whistleblower criticism as improperly filed and “dishonest,” in contrast with a “phrase for phrase” transcript of the decision. Really, no precise transcript exists, and the appearing director of nationwide intelligence advised Congress that he believed the whistleblower criticism was “in alignment” with a tough transcript launched by the White Home.

Trump had the same playbook to dispute the Russia investigation by assailing particular counsel Robert Mueller as biased and saying the inquiry was illegally hatched by Democrats. These costs have been proven to be unfaithful.

In the meantime, amid indicators of producing weak point , Trump unfairly pointed a finger of blame on the Federal Reserve reasonably than his escalating commerce battle with China, and overstated his function in a World Commerce Group ruling for the USA.

A evaluate:


TRUMP: “As I study increasingly every day, I’m coming to the conclusion that what’s going down will not be an impeachment, it’s a COUP, meant to remove the Energy of the….Individuals.” — tweet Tuesday.

THE FACTS: No unlawful coup is afoot.

Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., final month initiated impeachment proceedings towards Trump. She accused him of abusing presidential powers by in search of assist from a overseas authorities to undermine Democratic rival Joe Biden and assist his personal reelection. The transfer adopted a criticism by a whistleblower, a CIA officer, who made the costs.

A coup is often outlined as a sudden, violent and unlawful seizure of presidency energy. The impeachment course of is specified by the Structure, giving Congress the authority to question and check out a president as a part of its duties as a coequal department of presidency to offer a test on a president when she or he commits treason, bribery, or “different excessive crimes and misdemeanors.”

The usual of “excessive crimes and misdemeanors” is obscure and open-ended to embody abuses of energy even when they don’t seem to be, strictly talking, unlawful.



TRUMP: “The Do Nothing Democrats must be targeted on build up our Nation, not losing everybody’s time and vitality on BULLSHIT, which is what they’ve been doing ever since I obtained overwhelmingly elected in 2016, 223-306.” — tweet Wednesday.

THE FACTS: Trump once more misstates the Electoral School vote. The official rely was 304 to 227, based on an Related Press tally of the electoral votes in each state.



TRUMP: “I had a transcript executed by very, very gifted folks — phrase for phrase, comma for comma. … We had a precise transcript. And after we produced that transcript, they died.” — information convention Wednesday with Finland’s president.

TRUMP: “They by no means thought in one million years that I might launch the dialog … And that is a precise word-for-word transcript of the dialog, proper? Taken by very gifted stenographers.” — remarks Wednesday to reporters within the Oval Workplace.

THE FACTS: It isn’t a word-for-word transcript.

The memorandum of Trump’s July 25 cellphone name with Zelenskiy itself makes clear that it doesn’t symbolize a precise transcript of what was mentioned.

In response to the doc, it’s “not a verbatim transcript” and as an alternative “data the notes and recollections of Scenario Room Obligation Officers and NSC coverage employees assigned to hear and memorialize the dialog in written kind because the dialog takes place. Quite a lot of elements can have an effect on the accuracy of the file.” It cited potential elements comparable to the standard of the cellphone connection, variations in accent “and/or interpretation.”

NSC refers back to the Nationwide Safety Council.

The appearing director of nationwide intelligence, Joseph Maguire, advised a Home panel final month that he believed the whistleblower acted in “good religion” and the criticism was in keeping with the White Home’s tough transcript.


TRUMP, on the whistleblower: “He obtained his info, I assume, second or thirdhand. He wrote one thing that was complete fiction.” — remarks to reporters Thursday.

GOP HOUSE MINORITY LEADER KEVIN McCARTHY: “Whistleblowers have been required to offer direct, first-hand information of allegations…however simply days earlier than the Ukraine whistleblower got here ahead, the IC secretly eliminated the requirement from the criticism kind.” — tweet on Sept. 28.

TRUMP: “Who modified the lengthy standing whistleblower guidelines simply earlier than submittal of the pretend whistleblower report? Drain the swamp!” — tweet Monday.

THE FACTS: The method for submitting a whistleblower criticism was not rigged towards Trump.

There was nothing improper in how the criticism was submitted. No whistleblower legislation was modified and nothing underneath that legislation requires the complaints to have firsthand info. In a uncommon assertion this previous week , the inspector normal for the intelligence group additionally made clear that it had decided the whistleblower did have some firsthand, “direct information of sure alleged conduct.”

It isn’t true that the whistleblower may “present nothing greater than secondhand or unsubstantiated assertions,” the IG mentioned.

Intelligence company staff have lengthy been in a position to blow the whistle primarily based on secondhand or rumour info. The legislation solely requires federal staff to have a “cheap perception” of misconduct with a view to file a criticism, based on Debra D’Agostino, a federal employment lawyer.

On this case, the whistleblower flagged partly Trump’s July name to Zelenskiy in a typed, nine-page doc addressed to the Home Intelligence Committee. The watchdog mentioned that whereas the whistleblower was not a direct witness to the decision, the inspector normal individually obtained different info throughout its preliminary evaluate to deem the allegations credible.

Pointing to suspicious exercise, McCarthy, R-Calif., cites the elimination of some info from the standardized criticism kind, which beforehand burdened the necessity for firsthand info for an inspector normal to find out the criticism credible. The inspector normal’s workplace mentioned it had eliminated that language from the shape earlier this 12 months as a result of it decided that “it might be learn – incorrectly – as suggesting that whistleblowers should possess first-hand info with a view to file an pressing concern criticism with the congressional intelligence committees.”

In any occasion, the inspector normal’s workplace mentioned it had offered the whistleblower separate background materials on submitting a criticism that included that language.



TRUMP: “Congressman Adam Schiff ought to resign for the Crime of, after studying a transcript of my dialog with the President of Ukraine (it was good), fraudulently fabricating a press release of the President of the USA and studying it to Congress, as if mine!” — tweet Wednesday.

TRUMP: “Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE & horrible assertion, pretended it to be mine as an important a part of my name to the Ukrainian President, and browse it aloud to Congress and the American folks. It bore NO relationship to what I mentioned on the decision. Arrest for Treason?” — tweet Monday.

THE FACTS: Trump is overstating Schiff’s exaggerations. The California Democrat, in what he mentioned was a parody throughout a committee listening to, mocked and overstated the president’s pleas in his July name to Zelenskiy, as Trump does together with his critics routinely.

Underneath the Structure, treason happens when a U.S. citizen, or a noncitizen on U.S. territory, wages battle towards the nation or gives materials help, not simply sympathy, to a declared enemy of the USA. It’s outlined narrowly as a part of an effort by the framers to stop the federal government from utilizing it as a purpose to suppress political speech, mentioned J. Richard Broughton, affiliate dean at College of Detroit Mercy and a member of the Republican Nationwide Attorneys Affiliation.

The chief department can solely deliver costs in extraordinarily restricted instances.

As an example, within the Chilly Warfare case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who have been executed for giving atomic secrets and techniques to Russia, the Rosenbergs have been convicted of espionage, not treason, as a result of the U.S. and Russia weren’t formally at battle. Nobody has been convicted of treason for the reason that aftermath of World Warfare II, says Carlton F.W. Larson, a College of California legislation professor who has a guide on treason.

Throughout final week’s Home Intelligence Committee listening to, Schiff made clear he was offering an account that was in “essence” what he believed Trump was conveying to Zelenskiy, when “shorn of its rambling character.”

No precise transcript of Trump’s feedback with Ukraine’s president truly exists, only a tough transcript launched by the White Home.


TRUMP: “Liddle’ Adam Schiff … fraudulently and illegally inserted his made up & twisted phrases into my name with the Ukrainian President to make it appear to be I did one thing very improper. He then boldly learn these phrases to Congress and hundreds of thousands of individuals, defaming & libeling me.” — tweets on Sept. 28.

THE FACTS: Schiff’s remarks are usually not unlawful nor wouldn’t it be defamatory or libelous. Lawmakers are given vast protections from legal responsibility for feedback made in the midst of Congress underneath the “speech or debate” clause within the Structure, which seeks to foster political debate.



TRUMP, on a World Commerce Group ruling permitting the U.S. to tax impose tariffs on $7.5 billion value of European imports yearly: “You by no means had wins with different presidents, did you? However we’re having a number of wins on the WTO since I grew to become president.” — information convention Wednesday.

THE FACTS: Trump is improper that the U.S. by no means obtained any WTO victories underneath different presidents.

The U.S. has all the time had a excessive success price when it pursues instances towards different nations on the WTO. In 2017, commerce analyst Daniel Ikenson of the libertarian Cato Institute discovered that the U.S. had gained 91% of time it introduced a criticism that ended up being adjudicated by the Geneva-based commerce monitor. True, Ikenson famous, the nations bringing complaints are inclined to win overwhelmingly. That is as a result of they do not hassle going to the WTO within the first place if they do not have a reasonably robust case.

The WTO announcement culminated a 15-year battle over EU subsidies for Airbus — a battle that started lengthy earlier than Trump was in workplace.


TRUMP: “As I predicted, Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve have allowed the Greenback to get so robust, particularly relative to ALL different currencies, that our producers are being negatively affected. Fed Price too excessive.” — tweet Tuesday.

THE FACTS: Really, most economists and lots of manufacturing unit house owners level to Trump’s commerce insurance policies for the difficulties in U.S. manufacturing, not the Federal Reserve and Chairman Jerome Powell.

The Institute for Provide Administration reported on Tuesday that manufacturing unit exercise shrank in September for the second straight month. That report reveals that the manufacturing unit sector has been contracting largely due to the commerce battle towards China that Trump sparked by launching a salvo of tariffs.

The index is predicated on a survey of producers. Of the 10 quoted within the report, none blames the challenges they face on the Fed or the robust greenback. However three say the tariffs and commerce battle have harm their companies.

“The first offender right here is the commerce battle,” Eric Winograd, senior U.S. economist at AllianceBernstein, mentioned Tuesday.

Trump is true that the Fed’s choice to boost short-term rates of interest 4 occasions final 12 months contributed to a stronger greenback. However it wasn’t the one issue. The U.S. financial system is rising extra shortly than Europe’s or Japan’s, which attracts extra funding and boosts the greenback’s worth. And plenty of international traders choose to spend money on U.S. Treasury securities when the worldwide financial system slows, as it’s now, as a result of Treasuries are seen as a protected haven. That additionally pushes up the greenback.

The Fed has reversed itself this 12 months and minimize its benchmark rate of interest twice, however that hasn’t weakened the greenback, as a result of different central banks are additionally chopping charges. Trump has beforehand urged the Fed to slash its price to zero, however that might spook shoppers and companies, who would possibly see it as an indication {that a} recession is close to. Shopper spending may fall consequently and gradual the U.S. financial system.

The sort of sharp price cuts by the Fed that Trump is demanding would additionally probably encourage traders to position extra money in shares and different speculative investments. This might danger inflating a inventory market bubble to ranges that may finally destabilize the U.S. financial system.


AP Economics Writers Josh Boak and Christopher Rugaber in Washington and Related Press author Amanda Seitz in Chicago contributed to this report.


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EDITOR’S NOTE _ A take a look at the veracity of claims by political figures


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