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House Democrats introduce bill to curb company tax inversions

WASHINGTON ( ) -,上海夜网推油Naia, Two leading House Democrats introduced legislation on Tuesday intended to curb corporate tax inversion deals by preventing companies from lowering the effective tax rates of U.S. business operations after moving their headquarters overseas.

A bill, authored by the top Democrats on the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees, would limit the ability of newly inverted companies to engage in a tax strat,上海夜生活群Barney,egy called “earnings stripping,” which the lawmakers said often follows an inve,上海夜生活怎么玩Cade,rsion deal.

Corporate inversions, an issue for anti-establishment voters in this year’s presidential and congressional election campaigns, typically occur when a U.S. company buys a foreign firm and then relocates its headquarters to the foreign company’s home country, if only on paper, in a bid to reduce overall taxes.

The Obama administration has taken policy steps to discourage such deals. But only Congress can eliminate the option through tax reform, a prospect unlikely until after the Nov. 8 election.

“We cannot continue to allow companies to shift their tax obligations onto American workers and families simply by changing their mailing address,” said Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee.

Van Hollen introduced the “Stop Corporate Earnings Stripping Act of 2016” with Representative Sander Levin of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee.

The lawmakers said newly inverted companies have stripped their U.S. operations of taxable earnings by loading them with debt that produces tax-deductible interest payments. The payments are made to the new foreign parent or another foreign affiliate as interest income that often pays a reduced or zero tax rate.

The new legislation would reduce or eliminate financial thresholds that allow companies上海夜生活网 to pursue the earnings-stripping strategy after inversion.

Callidus shares tumble after report on Catalyst valuations

TORONTO/NEW YORK ( ) – Shares of Canadian lender Callidus Capital Corp lost as much as 21.6 percent in two trading sessions, hitting an all-time low, after a report on Friday raised questions about the valuations that parent company Catalyst Capital Group Inc assigned to some of its portfolio companies.

Callidus, which offers high-interest loans to distressed companies and wen,上海凤楼夜网Lake,t public in 2014, is one of the largest holdings in Catalyst’s private equity funds. Among other things, the report said that Callidus has so far been unable to find a buyer to take the company private. Catalyst said in a press release last year that it was targeting a price of C$18 to C$22 a share.

Callidus shares dropped 6 percent on Friday. The slide continued on Monday, with the stock falling as much as 16.5 percent to hit a record low before ending down 6.4 percent at C$6.23, a drop of about 39 percent since the start of the year.

The report, citing various sources and documents, also noted that at least three other of Catalyst’s major assets have struggled to find buyers at the firm’s,上海夜生活网交流Macey, valuations.

A spokesman for Callidus and Catalyst, which are both headed by Newton Glassman, declined to comment for this story on Monday.

Catalyst, in a statement issued on Friday after published its reporting on the firm, said that the news organization was “unobservant” of the nature of private equity and of Catalyst’s accomplishments in “rebuilding broken companies.”

“We can only stand dumbfounded by the failure of to un,上海仙霞路夜生活Nala,derstand the basic value creation principles required to grow companies and the care we take to protect and maximize returns,” Catalyst 上海夜生活论坛said.

After Callidus reported its most recent quarterly earnings in November, National Bank analyst Jaeme Gloyn said in a report, “We believe recent performance materially impacts both the probability and the valuation of a privatization transaction.” Callidus said on Monday it would report fourth-quarter results on April 2.

Booming online luxury goods sales convert watchmakers to the web

(This version of the March 25 story corrects paragraph 16 to remove reference to Richard Mille, which said it is not working with Anish B,上海夜玩网论坛Quay,hatt)

By Sarah White and Silke Koltrowitz

BASEL, Switzerland ( ) – A boom in online luxury goods sales is finally convincing high-end watchmakers, long skeptical that customers would pay thousands to buy intricate timepieces on the web, to step up their investments in e-commerce.

Courting younger shoppers, brands large and small are joining an online push sweeping the luxury goods world, where web sales are already major growth drivers for fashion labels.

“We didn’t realize the speed at which millennials would take to buying cars or watches online,” said Jean-Claude Biver, head of LVMH’s (LVMH.PA) watch business, in an interview at the Baselworld watch trade fair.

LVMH’s Tag Heuer, a label long associated with motor racing, is looking to fully build out its own shoppable sites over the next 18 months, Biver added. Tag already operates online stores in five countries including the United States and Britain, and has a partnership in China with JD.com (JD.O), the company said.

LVMH sister brands Hublot and Zenith are yet to follow suit.

Many watchmakers have flirted with web sales, though often through one-off collaborations with multi-brand web retailers.

Tech-savvy shoppers in Asia have partly inspired a drive to do more – China overtook the United States last year as the leading source of traffic to luxury watch websites, according to consultancy DLG.

And watchmakers have reasons to take control of their online image, as websites run by unofficial resellers proliferate.

“We want to reassure people, while taking into account that today clients also might like to buy their watch at home in the evening while they drink a glass of wine,” said Jerome Biard, chief executive of Corum, owned by China’s Citychamp (0256.HK).

The Swiss brand’s first e-commerce site will be fully operational in about two mo,上海夜生活怎么玩Talon,nths, Biard said.

NO TABOOS

Web sales are expected to make up a quarter of all global luxury goods sales by 2025, up from around 9 percent last year, consultancy Bain & Co projects.

There are notable holdouts – France’s Chanel shuns e-commerce for its coveted clothing, quilted handbags or watches.

Watchmaker Rolex, owned by a private foundation, is not known to have any plans to build its own online shop.

But others are stumping up serious cash, betting on online growth. Richemont (CFR.S), owner of Cartier and Baume & Mercier, is offering up to 2.8 billion euros ($3.4 billion) for full control of multi-brand site Yoox Net-a-Porter YNAP.MI.

“There is no taboo with buying online anymore,” said Anish Bhatt, a watch enthusiast with 1.7 million followers on Instagram who works with brands such as Rolex and Chopard on social media campaigns.

Watchmakers were long hobbled by the perception sales could only happen in a certain environment, with “shop assistants wearing silk gloves, while you,上海夜网官方网站Gabi, sipped champagne,” Bhatt added.

PRICE LIMITS?

Independent Swiss watchmaker Oris, Breitling, now owned by private equity firm CVC, and RJ, formerly known as Romain Jerome, have also confirmed plans to expand online operations.

The push still comes with caveats and limitations, however.

“There are watch adjustments that require customers to pass through a store,” said Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of LVMH’s Italian jeweler and watchmaker Bulgari.

Bulgari already sells through its sites in the United States, China, Japan and the United Kingdom, and is rolling out e-co上海夜生活mmerce to all of Europe by year-end. It aims to launch in Australia early in 2019.

Bulgari sees 30,000-40,000 euros as the ceiling for the kind of watches it would sell online, Babin added.

Yet even those boundaries may one day shift. Mr Porter, a men’s style site run by Yoox Net-A-Porter, this week launched the sale of its most expensive item yet, a $480,000 watch made of sapphire by French label Bell & Ross.

Wall Street wavers after strong rally, tech stocks struggle

(This version of the March 27 story corrects to “Minneapolis” from “Helena, Montana” in paragraph 3)

By Sruthi Shankar and Sweta Singh

( ) – The S&P 500 and the Dow rose on Tuesday, led by gains in industrial and consumer staple shares, while weakness in technology stocks dragged down the ,上海凤楼夜网Caitlin,Nasdaq.

Stocks have been volatile in the session after the main U.S. indexes notched their best day in 2-1/2 years on Monday on waning concerns of a trade war between the United States and China.

“Right now, the biggest driver in the market seems to be around the trade news and it is looking more like some of these tariff discussions are negotiations rather than strong protectionist measures,” said Lisa Erickson, head of traditional investments at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.

“But there’s going to be continued volatility in the short term and a lot of it will depend on how the fundamental news flow comes out.”

U.S. stocks suffered their worst declines of the year last week after President Donald Trump moved to impose tariffs on Chinese imports of up to $60 billion.

But the sentiment has improved after reports that the countries were willing to renegotiate tariffs and trade imbalances.

At 13:00 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 0.67 percen上海夜生活网t at 24,365.61 and the S&P 500 .SPX rose 0.29 percent to 2,666.16.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC fell 0.33 percent at 7,196.70.

Facebook (FB.O) dropped 2.3 perce,上海夜生活怎么玩Octavia,nt as it continued to be weighed down by data privacy issues. The company faces an investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to explain how it allowed data of 50 million users get into the hands of a political consultancy.

“Tech and FANG are still trying to figure out what the way forward is, and the market is dealing with the aftermath of a massive rally. It’s hard to maintain that kind of momentum,” said Michael Antonelli, managing director, institutional sales trading at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.

Another weak spot in the tech space was Nvidia (NVDA.O), which fell 2.8 percent after the company temporarily suspended self-dri,上海夜生活服务Tallulah,ving tests across the globe.

Tesla (TSLA.O) shares dropped nearly 4 percent after the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board opened a field investigation of a fatal Tesla crash and major vehicle fire near Mountain View, California, last week.

Twitter (TWTR.N) fell more than 7 percent after short-seller Citron Research said it was short on the stock, adding that the company was “most vulnerable” to privacy regulations.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE for a 1.38-to-1 ratio and for a 1.20-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

Dissidents hope for public recognition from Obama on Cuba visit

HAVANA ( ) – Ostracized by the government and mistrusted by much of the public, Cuba’s dissidents are hoping to receive a clear message of support from U.S. President Barack Obama when he visits the island next month.

Obama plans to meet dissidents during his March 21-22 visit, the first by a sitting U.S. president since 1928. It follows the rapprochement of December 2014, when Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro ended more than five decades of Cold War-era animosity.

Cuba’s Communist government has long considered the dissidents a tiny and illegitimate minority funded by U.S. interests, while anti-Castro groups hold them up as champions of democracy.

Political opponents say a public blessing from Obama might improve their standing and the cause of human rights in Cuba.

“It’s possible the visit w上海夜生活网ill help raise the hopes of the Cuban people, which ,上海夜生活男人好去处Faith,is important because Cuba is short on many things, most of all hope,” said Elizardo Sanchez, leader of the Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation, which monitors arrests of political opponents.

Sanchez said Cuba is holding about 90 political prisoners, including some convicted hijackers and spies and 11 former prisoners out on parole. Cuba says it has no political prisoners.

In addition Cuban officials briefly detain an average of more than 700 dissidents a month, the commission says.

Obama’s Republican critics have ,上海夜网后花园Balthazar,called the visit a capitulation, while Cuban dissidents are mostly supportive.

“Any gesture of solidarity, any words or gestures, any contact with the peaceful opposition would be well received by the majority of the population,” said Jose Daniel Ferrer, ,上海夜生活群Nadia,leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba, which says it has about 3,000 members, making it the largest opposition group in Cuba.

Cuban Foreign Ministry official Josefina Vidal said Cuba hoped Obama would meet with “the real Cuban civil society,” a term making a distinction between most Cubans and anti-government activists.

Some Cuban dissidents prefer the previous U.S. policy of isolating Cuba and say Obama has failed them.

The Ladies in White, who march each Sunday in Havana, say Obama is unwelcome unless he responds to their request that he denounce the repression of activists and calls for amnesty for political prisoners.

“If he makes a strong statement repudiating these human rights violations, then we will consider it an advance in human rights,” said Berta Soler, leader of the group. “In practice, we have not seen a thing.”

What the Federal Reserve rate hike means for U.S. households

NEW YORK ( ) – The effects of the Federal Reserve interest rate hike announced on Wednesday will extend beyond corporate America to household budgets.

Most people will see at least a minor impact on their credit card statements in the next few billing cycles, while those with adjustable-rate mortgages, home equity lines of credit, auto loans and other loans with variable rates of interest will be hit hardest.

Credit cards with fixe,上海夜生活桑拿会所Macauly,d interest rates and annual percentage rates that don’t change for a set period of time won’t be immediately affected.

Fixed-rate mortgages are also going to become more expensive, which could have a chilling effect on the real estate market. Higher interest rates typically depress home values by making monthly mortgage payments more expensive.

The Fed lifted its benchmark overnight lending rate by a quarter of a percentage point to a range of 1.50 percent to 1.75 percent at the end of a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday. The U.S. central bank also forecast at least two more hikes for 2018, signaling growing confidence in the strengthening economy, which could lead to more aggressive future tightening.

“The cumulative effect (of rate hikes) can be quite significant,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com.

WHICH CONSUMER RATES WILL BE MOST AFFECTED?

The average rate on a five-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgage is currently about 3.67 percent, according to Freddie Mac. ARM rates are modified annually, so a 0.25 percentage point increase in the rate in March wouldn’t have an immediate effect. But when it does kick in, it could add up to $1,250 a year to interest payments on a $500,000 mortgage.

That mortgage owner could pay an additional $312.50 a month, or $3,750 a year, in interest if the Fed follows through with two more quarter-point hikes this year.

The rate hike on Wednesday could add $12.50 a year in interest to a credit card with a balance of $5,000 and an interest rate of 14.99 percent, the average in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Fed data.

That doesn’t sound like much. Even $37.50 a year, the amount three quarter-point rate i,上海夜生活去哪玩Mabel,ncreases this year would add, may not shock households.

But consider that approximately $62.50 a year has already been added as a result of the Fed’s previous five rate hikes since late 2015, and interest payments may be up by $100 at the end of the year.

WHAT HAPPENS TO HOME EQUITY CREDIT LINES?

Interest rates on home equity credit lines are lower, at around 5 percent. “For somebody with a $30,000 home equity line, a quarter-point rate hike increases the minimum payment by $6 a month. But, this now being the sixth interest rate hike, the cumulative effect since December 2015 is that a $30,000 home equity line now carries a minimum payment that is $37 a month higher,” McBride said.

Those relationships are not quite so neat in practice. The federal funds rate, which the Fed determines directly, sets the rate at which banks lend money to one another. But there are more factors that determine the interest rate on a consumer loan.

“For every 100-basis-point increase in the fed funds rate, historically, it has been the case that the adjustable-rate mortgage rate would go up by 70 basis points,” said Michael Cox, founding director of the O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

ARE RATE HIKES A SIGN THE ECONOMY IS OVERHEATING?

U.S. economic strength is evident with the unemployment rate at a 17-year low and companies receiving windfalls from President Donald Trump’s tax cuts, which they may reinvest to create jobs and improve wages.

But U.S. wage growth has remained sluggish and household budgets are tight. Though wages improved in January at the best pace since 2009, worker pay hasn’t made significant improvements since the 2007-2009 recession.

There is evidence in rising debt levels: American households owed a record high total of $13.15 trillion at the end of 2017, according to data from the New York Fed.

If wages don’t rise as rate hikes mount, contracted spen上海夜网ding could eventually lead to a broader economic slowdown.

IS THERE ANY GOOD NEWS WITH RATE HIKES?

Savers benefit as yields on savings accounts and certificates of deposit edge higher. The average national savings account interest rate was 0.6 percent before the Fed began raising rates in 2015, according to FDIC data. It is now 0.7 percent.

Rates on a 36-month certificate of deposit have gone from,上海夜网Idaline, 0.48 percent to 0.65 percent. There are, however, internet banks including Synchrony (SYF.N) and Goldman Sachs’ (GS.N) Marcus that are engaged in an arms race of raising rates on savings accounts, which are 1.55 percent at the upper end, and CDs.

Mnuchin: Trump not afraid of a trade war with China – Fox News

WASHINGTON ( ) – Despite threats of retaliation from China over U.S. plans to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese goods, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Sunday said President Donald Trump had no intention of backing down and was not worried about a trade war.

“We are going to proceed with our tariffs. We’re working on that,” Mnuchin told Fox News Sunday. “So, as President Trump said,上海夜网官方网站Cade,, we’re not afraid of a trade war, but that’s not our objective.”

Fears of a trade war between the United States and China have sent U.S. stock prices tumbling. The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI and the S&P 500 .SPX both lost nearly 6 percent by the end of last week.

A presidential memorandum signed by Trump last week will target up to $60 billion in Chinese goods with tariffs over what his administration says is misappropriation of U.S. intellectual propert上海夜生活论坛y, but only after a 30-day consultation period that starts once a list is published.

Trump gave the Treasury Department 60 days to develop investment restrictions aimed at preventing Chinese-controlled companies and funds from acquiring U.S. firms with sensitive technologies.

Mnuchin said he believed the United States could reach an agreement with China on some issues, but said the tariffs would not be put on hold “unless we have an acceptable agreement that the president signs off on.”

China has urged the United States to “pull back from the brink” on the tariffs and threatened to retaliate by hitting U.S. agricultural exports.

Without giving a time frame, China’s commerce ministry said the government was considering a 25 percent tariff on U.S,上海夜生活乌托邦Quay,. pork. It did not announce potential tariffs on soy.

Republican Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, a major exporter of farm products to China, said on the CBS program “Face the Nation” on Sunday that hers and other Midwestern states would be harmed by any retaliation.

Iowa is the top U.S. state for hog production. China imports more than a third of all,上海夜生活论坛Cain, U.S. soybeans.

“Nobody wins in a trade war,” she said. “So if they start retaliating, we will see significant impact – very detrimental impact not just in Iowa, but across the Midwest as well,” she said.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg to testify before Congress: source

NEW YORK ( ) – Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg plans to testify before U.S. Congress, a source briefed on the matter said on Tuesday, as he bows to pressure from lawmakers insisting he,夜上海419龙凤论坛Fabiana, explain how 50 million users’ data ended up in the hands of a political consultancy.

Lawmakers in the Un,上海新夜网龙凤Tabitha,ited States and Europe are demanding to know more about the company’s privacy practices after a whistleblower said consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed data to target U.S. and British voters in close-run elections.

Facebook said the company,上海夜生活服务Balthazar, had received invitations to testify before Congress and that they were talking to legislators.

Facebook shares closed down 4.9 percent on Tuesday and have fallen almost 18 percent since March 16, when Facebook first acknowledged that user data had been improperly channeled to Cambridge Analytica, which was hired by Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The tech sector is down 5.2 percent for March and on track for its worst month since April 2016. The data breach has raised investor concerns that any failure by big tech companies to protect privacy could deter advertisers and lead to tougher regulation.

House Energy and Commerce Committee spokeswoman Elena Hernandez said “The committee is continuing to work with Facebook to determine a day and time for Mr. Zuckerberg to testify”.

On the same day, Zuckerberg turned down British lawmakers’ invitations to explain to a British parliamentary committee what went wrong.

The company said it would instead send one of his deputies, suggesting that Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer or Chief Product Officer Chris Cox had the expertise to answer questions on the complex subject.

The head of the committee called Zuckerberg’s decision “astonishing” and urged him to think again.

Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower who once worked at Cambridge Analytica, said on Monday that Canadian company AggregateIQ had developed the software that used the algorithms from the Facebook data to target Republican voters in the 2016 U.S. election.

AggregateIQ did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wylie’s remarks. Cambridge Analytica said it had not shared any of the Facebook profile da上海夜生活ta with AggregateIQ.

Cambridge Analytica has said it did not use Facebook data in Trump’s campaign, and that it had deleted all Facebook data it obtained from a third-party app in 2014 after learning the information did not adhere to data protection rules.

In full-page advertisements in British and U.S. newspapers this week Zuckerberg said the app built by a university researcher “leaked Facebook data of millions of people in 2014”.

He apologized last week for the mistakes the company had made and promised to restrict developers’ access to user information as part of a plan to protect privacy.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee said on Monday it had invited Zuckerberg, as well as the CEOs of Alphabet Inc and Twitter Inc to testify at an April 10 hearing on data privacy.

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee and U.S. Senate Commerce Committee had already formally asked Zuckerberg to appear at a congressional hearing.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission took the unusual step of announcing on Monday that it had opened an investigation into the company – which it generally only does in cases of great public interest – citing media reports that raise what it called “substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook.”

Obama starts interviewing candidates for Supreme Court vacancy: NPR

WASHINGTON ( ) – President Barack Obama has started to interview candidates fo,上海晚上耍女人的地方Babette,r the U.S. Supreme Court to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last month, National Public Radio reported on Tuesday, citing sources close to the process.

Among the interviewees are Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia; Judge Sri Srinivasan of the same court; Judge Paul Watford of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals based in San Francisco; Judge Jane Kelly of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals based in St. Louis; and U.S. District J,上海夜生活网419Ida,udge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who se上海夜生活网rves in Washington, D.C., NPR reported.

The first three of these individuals are considered the leading contenders, NPR said.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch earlier on Tuesday asked not to be considered as a nominee, the Justice Department said in a statement. Lynch had been rumored to be under consideration.

The process of filling the spot that was held by Scalia, one of the court’s most conservative justices, has ignited a partisan battle in Washington.

Republicans who control the U.S. Senate do not ,上海021夜网Macey,want to see the court shift ideologically to the left and have said they will not hold a vote on Obama’s nominee. All appointees by the president to the Supreme Court are subject to approval by the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the next Supreme Court justice should be chosen by the winner of the Nov. 8 presidential election.

Four senior UK politicians urge regulator to block Murdoch-Sky deal

LONDON ( ) – Four high-profile British lawmakers have called for Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA.O) to be blocked from buying Sky SKYB.L, saying the mogul will be able to influence its news output despite promises to the contrary.

Murdoch is locked in a battle with U.S. cable giant Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) to buy Europe’s biggest pay-TV group, with the Australian-born tycoon hampered by his ownership,夜上海419龙凤论坛Fabian, of other assets in Britain including two leading national newspapers.

In order to gain regulatory approval Fox has offered to guarantee the ind上海夜生活网ependence of the Sky News operation by funding it for 10 years and creating a fully independent board to oversee it, a move that led analysts and competition lawyers to say the deal would likely be cleared.

But four lawmakers who have previously criticized M,上海夜网推油Paisley,urdoch’s influence in Britain, including the former leader of the opposition Labour party Ed Miliband, said in a letter to the regulator that the offers did not go far enough.

They noted that the chief executive of Sky would still appoint the head of Sky News. “This is a significant statement because other statements made have tended to imply that the Editorial board will somehow be in charge of the process, not the Sky CEO,” they said.

Fox agreed a deal to buy the 61 percent of Sky it did not already own in December 2016 but it has been repeatedly delayed by the government and regulators. It is likely to learn whether it can take over Sky in the middle of June.

Fox has said it does not agree with the regulator’s objections but has offered to protect Sky News to help secure approval. Fox has agreed to sell a string of assets on to Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), including Sky.

Comcast has offered 12.50 pounds per share or 22.1 billion pounds for Sky compar,上海夜生活Hadleigh,ed with Fox’s offer of 10.75 pounds per share, but it has not yet made a formal bid and is trying to secure its own regulatory approval.

The four lawmakers are Miliband; Vince Cable, the leader of the small opposition Liberal Democrats party; Ken Clarke, a senior lawmaker from the ruling Conservative Party and Charles Falconer, a former Labour justice minister.

“We would urge the panel to come to a clear finding in favor of prohibition, consistent with its powerful provisional findings,” the letter said.

Coca-Cola, U.S. State Dept to use blockchain to combat forced labor

NEW YORK ( ) – Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) and the U.S. State Department along with two other companies said on Friday they are launching a project using blockchain’s digital ledger technology to create a secure registry for workers that will help fight the use of forced labor worldwide.

The State Department said this is the government agency’s first major project on this issue using blockchain, reinforcing the technology’s growing application for social causes.

According to the International Labor Organization, nearly 25 million people work in forced-labor conditions worldwide, with 47 percent of them in the Asia-Pacific region.

Food and beverage companies are under pressure to address the risk of forced labor in countries where they obtain sugarcane. A study released last year by KnowTheCha,上海夜生活网交流Hal,in (KTC), a partnership founded by U.S.-based Humanity United, showed that most food and beverage companies fall short in their efforts to solve the problem.

The study said Coca-Cola, one of 10 global companies looked at by KTC, has committed to conduct 28 country-level studies on child labor, forced labor, and land rights for its sugar supply chains by 2020.

The U.S. beverage giant said it has been exploring multiple blockchain projects for more than a year.

Brent Wilton, the company’s global head of workplace rights, said in an email to , “We are partnering with the pilot of this pr,上海晚上耍女人的地方Pamela,oject to further increase transparency and efficiency of the verification process related to labor policies within our supply chain.”

The new venture is intended to create a secure registry for workers and their contracts using blockchain’s validation and digital notary capabilities, said Blockchain Trust Accelerator (BTA), a non-profit organization involved in the project.

BTA is a global platform for harnessing blockchain to deliver social impact.

The State Department said it will provide expertise on labor protection.

“The Department of State is excited to work on this innovative blockchain-based pilot,” Deputy Assistant Secretary ,上海夜玩网论坛Earl,Scott Busby said in an email to , noting that while blockchain cannot compel companies or those in authority to abide by the labor contracts, it can create a validated chain of evidence that will encourage compliance 上海夜生活论坛with those contracts.

The Bitfury Group, a U.S. tech company, will build the blockchain platform for this project, while Emercoin will provide blockchain services as well, Bitfury Chief Executive Valery Vavilov and Emercoin Chief Technology Officer Oleg Khovayko said on Friday.

(This version of the story has been corrected to change companies to two instead of three in lead paragraph; corrects description of BTA to non-profit organization instead of company in eighth paragraph)

Tension in information sharing over GM’s Korea unit audit: South…

SEOUL ( ) – South Korea’s vice finance minister said on Thursday there is tension between General Motors’ (GM.N) South Korean unit and the Korea Development Bank because the U.S. automaker isn’t sharing internal information abo,上海会所夜网Hadleigh,ut the company needed for the bank to carry out due diligence.

“My understanding is that there is tension (in the due diligence),” Vice Finance Minister Ko Hyoung-kwon told reporters after a meeting in Seoul.

The audit on GM Korea’s finances, which started earlier this month, will inform the South Korean government’s decision on whether to provide support for the Detroit carmaker’s loss-making Korean operations.

General Motors has offered to convert debt of around $2.7 billion owed by its ailing South Korean operation into equity in exchange for financial support and tax benefits from Seoul.

“In order to carry out due diligence, which is a difficult process, we need company information but I think (GM Korea) finds it difficult to share information about global strategies (with the KDB),” Ko said.

The state-run KDB, the secon,上海021夜网Balthazar,d-biggest shareholder of GM Korea with a 17 percent stake, said that it was willing to offer short-term loans to GM Korea after April, should the company cooperate on the due diligence exercise.

The restructuring pl,上海夜网千花Sabrina,an will see GM’s plant in Gunsan will shut down by May. A上海夜生活论坛mong its four plants, only one is running at full capacity and the other two are running at 50 and 70 percent of their capacity.

GM Korea, which employs nearly 16,000 people, has previously said that without new funding from its major shareholders it would have a first-quarter “cash crisis”.

Take Five: World markets themes for the week ahead

LONDON ( ) – Following are five big themes likely to dominate thinking of investors and traders in the coming week and the stories related to them.

1/HAVE THIS YUAN ON XI

U.S.-China trade frictions will remain a central focus next week. There are hopes there will be negotiations that end with everyone looking happy for the cameras, but for the time being everything remains uncertain.

One background issue over the last couple of weeks has been a sizable appreciation of the yuan. In trade-weighted terms .CFSCNYI, the currency has now risen more this year, at 3 percent, than it did in the whole of 2017.

It has been closely hugging the daily benchmark fixing set by the central bank, so markets are speculating that allowing the yuan to rise might be part of China’s conciliatory offerings in the trade spat.

(Graphic: China’s yuan on the rise – reut.rs/2J1H7sk)

2/LOOK AT ME GROW

Spring is coming to large parts of the northern hemisphere so it seems fitting that so much global data is coming out next week.

World stock markets have just seen their first quarterly fall in two years and this will feed the view on how Q2 might play out.

March inflation data from the euro zone on Wednesday is expected to creep up and bolster bets on the end of ECB QE this year.

Similar data in Turkey will be watched by those trading the battered lira, while there is forward-looking purchasing manager (PMI) data, ISM or employment numbers in so many countries from the United States to India that most economists will just need a lie down come Friday. ECONALLUSECONALLEZ

(Graphic: Global trade and GDP growth – reut.rs/2FtPzhW)

3/TECH REBOOT

Whether or not the world’s biggest tech and social media firms can bounce back from the more than $400 billion wipe out of the last couple of weeks is going to be one of the big things to watch next week.

Facebook’s top brass might reveal when they will appear in front of lawmakers in the United States and Britain to answer questions about the misuse of 50 million users private data.

The heat is also likely to stay on online retail giant Amazon after reports Donald Trump is not happy that its growing dominance is sending so many small businesses to the wall.

(Graphic: The sinking FAANGs – reut.rs/2GhhYIe)

4/ BREXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR… AND A BULL

There is now less than a year to go until Britain f,上海夜生活去哪玩Macey,ormally exits the European Union, but sterling and UK stocks are giving off some conflicting signals as the final countdown ge上海夜生活论坛ts into gear.

The pound, seen as the main Brexit bellwether since the June 2016 vote, has just had its best quarter in three years, and not only against the struggling dollar, but also against the euro GDP=D4. On a trade-weighted basis too it is inching back toward its ten-year average, which all suggests improved investor confidence after this month’s post-EU transition deal helped soothe lingering ‘hard’ Brexit nerves.

But sentiment on UK stocks has never been this bad: a record number of global fund managers are underweight the,上海夜生活服务Barrett, asset class and the FTSE 100 has just had its worst quarter in 6-1/2 years.

So what gives? Well, there’s the global sell-off of,上海新夜网龙凤Sabine, course, but its also partly the flip side of sterling’s success. Its weakness provided a big boost to FTSE 100 companies with earnings in dollars due to the currency conversion gains, but now that crutch for large-caps is gone and with it a major reason for holding them.

(Graphic: Brexit bellwether sterling shows signs of hope – reut.rs/2pOAH76)

5/JUST THE JOB

Friday’s release of the March employment report will be on traders’ and investors’ radar, in the wake of Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell’s first interest rate hike this year two weeks ago.

With inflationary pressures brewing, the wage growth figure will an important focus for world financial markets. Economists polled by had forecast payrolls rising by 203,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate falling to 4 percent.

Average hourly earnings had been expected to increase 0.2 percent in March. The U.S. economy added the biggest number of jobs in more than 1-1/2 years in February, but a slowdown in wage growth pointed to only a gradual increase in inflation this year, which eased investor concerns.

(Graphic: U.S. unemployment rate – reut.rs/2IchAv0)

Factbox: Automakers put pedal to the metal on electric vehicles

( ) – Global automakers are sharpening their focus on the electric car market, prompted by the success of Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and rising demand for vehicles powered by cleaner technologies.

Automakers investing in the rapidly growing electric market include:

BMW AG (BMWG.DE) – The Munich-based maker of BMW, Rolls-Royce and Mini vehicles plans to bring 25 electrified models to market by 2025 and will increase research and development spending to an all-time high of up to 7 billion euros ($8.6 billion) this year as part of the efforts.

In February, the company and China’s Great Wall Motor Co (601633.SS) said they would jointly produce electric Mini vehicles in China. The venture could start production around 2021 or 2022.

VOLKSWAGEN – Europe’s largest automaker has picked partners to provide battery cells and related technology worth around 20 billion euros ($25 billion) for its growing electric car program.

The German carmaker in November also approved a 34 billion eur,上海夜生活论坛Nala,o ($40 billion) spending plan.

FORD MOTOR CO (F.N) – The No. 2 U.S. automaker will significantly increase its planned investments in electric vehicles to $11 billion by 2022 and have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its lineup.

DAIMLER AG (DAIGn.DE) – The luxury carmaker is investing 10 billion euros in electric and hybrid technolog,上海夜生活群Oakley,y and is preparing to launch the EQ electric car. It aims for 100,000 annual electric car sales by 2020.

GREAT WALL MOTOR CO LTD (601633.SS) – The automaker aims to more than double its annual sales to 2 million vehicles by 2025, with roughly a third of those expected to be all-electric cars. It also plans to invest 20 billion yuan ($3.16 billion) on electric vehicle research and development by 2020.

GENERAL MOTORS (GM.N) – The No. 1 U.S. automaker has promised investors it will produce profitable electric vehicles by 2021 and that 20 new battery electric and fuel cell vehicles will join its global lineup by 2023.

TOYOTA MOTOR CORP (7203.T) – The carmaker has ramped up its electric vehicle development, pledging to add more than 10 EV models to its product lineup in the early 2020s after long touting a green-car strategy focusing mainly on hybrids and fuel cell vehicles. It has also partnered up with Panasonic Corp (6752.T) to develop EV batteries.

HYUNDAI MOTOR CO (005380.KS) – The South Korean carmaker ,上海夜生活乌托邦Hallie,and smaller affiliate Kia Motors Corp (000270.KS) plan to release 38 green model上海夜生活s using a variety of technologies, including electric, by 2025.

BEIJING WKW AUTOMOTIVE PARTS CO LTD (002662.SZ) – Beijing WKW Automotive Parts said it would invest about 16 billion yuan in a new energy car project.

AUDI (NSUG.DE) – The luxury carmaker plans to launch 20 electrified models by 2025, more than half of which will be all-electric, in collaboration with VW’s Porsche.

($1 = 0.8155 euros)

Facebook CEO among those invited to testify at U.S. Senate hearing

WASHINGTON ( ) – The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee said on,上海夜生活服务Lance, Monday it had invited the chief executive officers of Facebook Inc (FB.O), Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) and Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) to testify at an April 10 hearing on data privacy.

The hearing follows allegations that Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy, gained inappropriate access to data on 50 million Facebook users, prompting the Federal Trade Commission to launch an investigation.

Senator Charles Grassley, the committee’s chairman, said he invited Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “to testify at the hearing to discuss Facebook’s past and future policies regarding the protection and monitoring of consumer data.”

Facebook is facing pressure from advertisers as the social network struggles with government scrutiny following the allegations. Zuckerberg last week apologized for mistakes that Facebook made in how it handled,上海高端夜生活在那里Barney, data belonging to 50 million of its users.

A Facebook spokesman said the company had received the hearing invitation and was reviewing it. A Twitter spokeswoman declined to comme,上海夜网邀请码Pablo,nt. A spokeswoman for Google parent Alphabet did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The hearing could be the highest-profile appearance by technology companies amid growing calls to regulate the industry.

“The hearing will broadly cover privacy standards for the collection, retention and dissemination of consumer data for commercial use.” Grassley said. “It will also examine how such data may be misused or improperly transferred and what steps companies like Facebook can take to better protect personal information of users and ensure more transparency in the process.”

Last week, the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee formally invited Zuckerberg to testify and the Senate Commerce Committee also invited him to appear. Neither committee has set a date for a hearing.

Facebook executives spent Wednesday and Thursday on Capitol Hill briefing congressional committee staffers. Zuckerbe上海夜生活网rg said last week he would be willing to testify if he is the right person at the company to speak to lawmakers.

Malaysian central bank says foiled attempted cyber-heist

KUALA LUMPUR/LONDON ( ) – Malaysia’s central bank said on Thursday it was the victim of a cyber attack in which hackers sought to steal money using fraudulent wire transfers, the latest in a series of electronic heists at financial institutions around the world.

While Bank Negara Malaysia said no funds were lost in the incident, which it identified on Tuesday and involved falsified wire-transfer requests over the SWIFT bank messaging network. It is the second known hack of a central bank after the 2016 theft of $81 million from Bangladesh Bank.

The Bangladesh heist, which also involved fraudulent SWIFT transfer requests, led financial institutions around the globe to bolster security. Authorities have y,上海夜网千花Kaia,et to capture the masterminds behind that attack.

The renewed targeting of a central bank is likely to prompt financial institutions around the globe to review cyber defenses.

“You thwarted an attack but you didn’t actually catch the hackers,” said Tom Kellermann, a former member of the World Bank security team. “That adversary is still out there attempting to exploit the system.”

Bank Negara did n上海夜网ot say who was behind the hack or how they accessed its SWIFT servers. The central bank, which supervises 45 commercial banks in Malaysia, said there was no disruption to other payment and set,上海足浴夜网联系方式Gabrielle,tlement systems the central bank operates because of the cyber attack.

It did not respond to requests for more details on the falsified messages and how other banks were involved. It did say it had taken additional safeguards to protect stakeholders and was investigating the attack with help from local and international law enforcement agencies.

“All unauthorized transactions were stopped through prompt action in strong collaboration with SWIFT, other central banks and financial institutions,” it said in a statement disclosing the hack.

Malaysian police and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is conducting a probe into the Bangladesh Bank heist, could not immediately be reached for comment.

SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, declined comment on the incident, saying it does not comment on individual entities.

“We have no indication that our network and core messaging services have been compromised,” it said in an e-mailed statement.

It was unclear whether funds were paid out but intercepted at another bank. Previous thefts have involved stolen money being transferred to a number of banks before arriving at its final end destination.

STILL VULNERABLE

Abu Hena Mohd. Razee Hassan, deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank, said the latest attack showed that the SWIFT platform remained vulnerable.

“After the attack on our central bank, SWIFT took several measures to protect the system globally but yet this is happening, meaning criminals have more ability and more capable weapons,” Razee Hassan told in Dhaka. “So this is the time to further improve the financial transfer system globally.”

In February, the Russian central bank said unknown hackers stole 339.5 million rubles ($6 million) from a Russian bank last year in an attack using the SWIFT system.

SWIFT has said in the past its central network has never been hacked, but terminals within some banks used to access the network have been compromised in the past couple of years.

Brussels-based SWIFT said late last year digital heists were becoming increasingly prominent as hackers use more sophisticated tools and techniques to launch new attacks.

SWIFT has declined to disclose the number of attacks or comment on the handful of cases that have become public, including attacks on Taiwan’s Far Eastern International Bank (2845.TW) ,上海夜网后花园Oakley,and Nepal’s NIC Asia Bank.

GameStop tops revenue estimates on robust Nintendo Switch sales

( ) – GameStop Corp (GME.N), the world’s largest video game and gaming console retailer, reported revenue that beat analysts’ estimates for the f,上海新夜网龙凤Radley,ourth straight quarter as sales of Nintendo Switch consoles remained strong.

The company’s shares were up nearly 2 percent after the bell on Wednesday.

GameStop also reported a 12.2 percent jump in same-store sales, above analysts’ average estimate of a 9.32 percent rise, according to Thomson I/B/E/S.

Sales in the company’s core video game retail business, which makes up about 30 percent of revenue, rose 12.4 percent to $1.04 billion, while sales in its hardware business jumped nearly 45 percent to $844 million.

However, GameStop reported a net los,上海夜生活群Eason,s of $105.9 million, or $1.04 per share, in the fourth qua上海夜生活rter ended Feb. 3, compared with a profit of $208.7 ,上海足浴夜网联系方式Earl,million, or $2.04 per share, a year earlier.

The quarter included asset impairment and other charges of $406.5 million, the company said.

Grapevine, Texas-based GameStop had warned it would take a charge in the range of $350 million to $400 million in the fourth quarter, mainly related to its technology brands business.

Excluding items, GameStop earned $2.02 per share, beating analysts average estimate of $1.97 per share.

Sales rose 15 percent to $3.50 billion, also above estimate of $3.27 billion.

Cambridge Analytica stage-managed Kenyan president’s campaigns: UK TV

LONDON (,上海夜生活Jackson, ) – Cambridge Analytica, the UK political consultancy at the center of Facebook’s election manipulation scandal, ran the campaigns of President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2013 and 2017 Kenyan elections, according to video secretly recorded and broadcast by Britain’s Channel 4 News on Monday.

The company denied all allegations made by Channel 4 News regarding its business practices.

The news channel said it mounted a “sting operation” in which it said had secretly recorded top Cambridge Analytica executives saying they could use ,上海夜生活网交流Gabriella,bribes, former spies and Ukrainian sex workers to entrap politicians around the world.

The New York Times and the British Observer newspaper reported on Saturday that Cambridge Analytica had acquired private data harvested from more than 50 million Facebook users to support Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign.

Mark Turnbull, a managing director for Cambridge Analytica and sister company SCL Elections, told Channel 4’s undercover investigative reporting team that his firm secretly stage-managed Kenyatta’s hotly contested campaigns to run the East African nation.

“We have rebranded the entire party twice, written the manifesto, done research, analysis, messaging. I think we wrote all the speeches and we staged the whole thing – so just about every element of this candidate,” Turnbull said of his firm’s work for Kenyatta’s political party, known as the National Alliance until 2016, and subsequently as the Jubilee Party.

Kenyatta came to power in 2013 and won a second and final上海夜生活网 term last August, defeating opposition leader Raila Odinga by 1.4 million votes. The Supreme Court nullified the vote citing procedural irregularities and ordered a second election.

Last September, former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called the second election a “project” of Cambridge Analytica. The Jubilee Party has not commented.

Odinga did not contest the repeat vote on Oct. 26, saying it would be unfair because the election commission had failed to implement reforms and Kenyatta won with 98 percent of the vote.

At a prior meeting, Turnbull told the reporters: “Our job is to really drop the bucket further down the well than anybody else to understand what are these really deep-seated fears, concerns. “It is no good fighting an election campaign on the facts, because actually it is all about emotion.”

Cambridge Analytica officials were recorded saying they have used a web of shell companies to disguise their activities in elections in Mexico, Malaysia and Brazil, among various countries where they have worked to sway election outcomes.

Chief Executiv,上海夜哪里艳遇Mace,e Alexander Nix is recorded boasting: “We are not only the largest and most significant political consultancy in the world but we have the most established track record. We need to operate through different vehicles, in the shadows.”

“I look forward to building a very long-term and secretive relationship with you,” he tells the reporters.

Cambridge Analytica denied all allegations made by Channel 4 News regarding its business practices. The company said in statement it was humoring the undercover reporters and trying to gauge their motives by actively encouraging them, “to tease out any unethical or illegal intentions”.

Channel 4 noted that their last meeting with Cambridge Analytica had taken place in January at a London hotel and that company employees had continued to email them seeking to strike a deal to work on a Sri Lankan campaign up until recently.

Cambridge Analytica acknowledged in a statement that, its CEO had “misjudged the situation”. Nix said: “I must emphatically state that Cambridge Analytica does not condone or engage in entrapment, bribes or so-called ‘honeytraps’, and nor does it use untrue material for any purpose.”

Written by shyw on June 3, 2017 Categories: tgnkovyn Tags: , ,

Under scrutiny, New York Fed sets short list for Dudley successor

NEW YORK ( ) – The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is considering a “handful” of candidates for what is seen as the second most influential job at the U.S. central bank, its directors said on Friday, as political pressure mounts to choose someone who breaks with past precedent.

William Dudley, a key architect of the Fed’s crisis response and a core policymaker, plans to step down as New York Fed president by mid-year, hastening an unprecedented leadership transition at the central bank.

Because it is the most powerful Fed job not chosen by the White House, Democrats and上海夜生活 activists see Dudley’s departure as a chance to diversify the upper ranks of an institution long dominated by white men with ties to Wall Street.

The New York Fed directors leading the search described in a statement a months-long process of meeting with a range of community and business groups, and narrowing their list of candidates from 30 to about 15 before meeting them in late January.

After “a small number” opted out, “we further narrowed the list to a handful of final candidates, who we are pleased to say are eminently qualified,” said the directors, Sara Horowitz and Glenn Hutchins. They did not say when a choice would be made.

On March 1, reported the January interviews had taken place and named six candidates said to be on a short list, most of them with Wall Street ties, including two women and two black men.

The New York Fed’s president has a permanent vote on interest-rate policy; serves as vice chair of the policy-making committee; overse,上海高端夜生活在那里Ida,es market operations including $4.4 trillion in assets; and supervises Wall Street.

Because of this, some see Dudley’s previous experience at Goldman Sachs and running the New York Fed’s market operations as a benefit. Others see it as a sign of the Fed’s overly cozy ties with bankers.

In separate recent letters to the directors, 32 U.S. House and Senate Democrats raised concerns over “group think” and urged them to consider candidates with a diversity of professional, racial and gender backgrounds. On Monday, communit,上海夜网Hallie,y and labor activists marched outside the New York Fed calling for independence from Wall Street.

The New York Fed said it was seeking a nominee who understands “the plumbing of the banking system,” the institution’s international role, and “the new economy and labor markets.” It added that a diverse pool of candidates was initially interested,上海夜生活服务Tabitha, in the job.

Product exclusions from U.S. metals tariffs may take 90 days: document

WASHINGTON ( ) – Steel and aluminum users that depend on imported products not available from U.S. producers may have to wait up to 90 days for an exclusion from the Trump administration’s new metals tariffs, according to a Commerce Department document.

The draft Federal Register notice, which is expected to be published later on Friday evening and was seen by , outlines procedures for companies to seek such exclusions.

The review period for such requests “normally will 上海夜生活论坛not exceed 90 days, includi,上海高端夜生活在那里Barrett,ng adjudication of objections submitted on exclusion requests,” it said.

The exclusion rules have been anxiously awaited by manufacturing companies since President Donald Trump announced the tariffs on March 7 to protect domestic steel and aluminum producers on national security grounds. U.S. allies, however, remain in the dark about country-specific exemptions.

A Commerce Department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for additional details.

But steel- and aluminum-consuming industries that must import products, such as the high-strength steel rod used to make tire belts that is currently unavailable from U.S. steelmakers, ma,上海夜生活服务Dahlia,y end up paying tariffs for a considerable period before being granted an exclusion.

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is expected to begin collecting the tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum at 12:01 a.m. (0401 GMT) on March 23, as determined in Trump’s proclamations.

“The request should clearly identify, and provide support for, the basis upon which the exclusion is sought,” the Commerce Department said in the notice. “An exclusion will only be granted if an article is not produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount, is not produced in the United States in a satisfactory quality, or for a specific national security consideration.”

The Commerce Department notice said it estimated that about 4,500 individual requests would be filed for exclusions from steel and aluminum tariffs and about 1,500 of these would draw objections from interested parties.

The agency, led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, an architect of the tariffs and a former steel industry investor, also said it would waive the normal 60-day comment period for the exclusions regulations because this would cause delays that would be “impracticable or contrary to the public interest.”

COUNTRY EXCLUSIONS

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office declined on Friday to provide any details regarding the process U.S. allies to request country exemptions from the tariffs.

Britain’s trade minister, Liam Fox, told in New York that he was optimistic about a positive resolution to a tariff exemption, despite the closest U.S. security ally’s dissatisfaction with the plan.

The European Union is seeking an exemption for all 28 of its member countries. And a Japanese embassy spokesman said Foreign Minister Taro Kono asked USTR officials for an exemption in meetings this week.

The steel tariffs also come as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is finalizing a package of trade sanctions on China over its intel,上海夜玩网论坛Lark,lectual property practices as part of a separate investigation.

reported this week that Trump was considering tariffs of up to $60 billion on imports of Chinese information technology, telecoms and consumer products, a move that U.S. business groups say risks a damaging trade war with Beijing.

Lighthizer is due to testify before trade committees in Congress next Wednesday and Thursday to explain the Trump administration’s trade agenda.