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Update on the latest in business:

July 6, 2018


Stocks gain despite tariff fight

NEW YORK (AP) — Traders are shrugging off the onset of a tariff fight between the U.S. and China. They’re sending stocks solidly higher.

The gains came even as Washington fired the first shot Friday in a trade conflict with China, imposing tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports. China responded in kind.

While the initial amounts of tariffs aren’t all that high, costs could soar across the board for business and consumers if the conflict escalates. Investors are hoping that won’t happen.

Instead, investors were encouraged by a solid pickup in hiring by U.S. employers last month.


Employers add 213,000 jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers kept up a brisk hiring pace in June by adding 213,000 jobs in a sign of confidence despite a looming trade war with China.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate rose to 4.0 percent from 3.8 percent as more people began looking for work.

On the same day that the Trump administration began imposing tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese imports and China retaliated with their own tariffs, the job gain showed that the 9-year old U.S. economic expansion — the second-longest on record — remains on solid ground for the moment.

Average hourly pay rose just 2.7 percent from a year earlier. The low jobless rate has yet to force employers to offer higher wages in order to fill job openings.


US trade deficit drops to $43.1 billion

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit dropped in May to the lowest level in 19 months as U.S. exports rose to a record level. But the trade gap between the United States and China increased sharply, underscoring the economic tensions between the world’s two biggest economies.

The Commerce Department says the May trade deficit — the difference between what America sells and what it buys in foreign markets — fell 6.6 percent to $43.1 billion. It was the smallest imbalance since October 2016.

Exports climbed 1.9 percent to a record $215.3 billion. Imports were up a smaller 0.4 percent to $258.4 billion.

The United States imposed penalty tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods on Friday. China retaliated in kind, starting what Beijing called the “biggest trade war in economic history.”


China files new complaint

BEIJING (AP) — China says it has filed a second complaint to the World Trade Organization over the United States’ move to impose tariffs on Chinese goods.

The Commerce Ministry said in a brief statement on its website that Beijing submitted the WTO complaint Friday against measures taken by the U.S.

Washington on Friday imposed 25 percent duties on $34 billion of imports from China, the first in a series of possible increases that President Donald Trump says could affect up to $550 billion of Chinese goods.

China retaliated with tariffs on a similar amount of goods. The Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily said tariffs were imposed on a list of goods issued last month that included soybeans, pork and electric vehicles. U.S. soybean farmers have been particularly concerned, and the price of soybeans has plunged 17 percent over the past month on tariff fears.


Russia raises tariffs on some US imports

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia says it has raised tariffs on some U.S. imports in response to the U.S. move to impose tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum.

Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin said in a statement Friday that additional tariffs ranging from 25 to 40 percent have been applied to some road construction equipment, oil and gas equipment, metal processing instruments, drilling equipment and optical fiber.

The European Union, India, China and Russia all have applied to the World Trade Organization to challenge the U.S. tariffs, which mostly took effect March 23. Washington argued they were for national security reasons

Oreshkin said that Russian steel and aluminum makers suffered $537.6 million in damages from the new U.S. tariffs. He noted that the new Russian tariffs will only allow a partial compensation of $87.6 million.


EU says it will keep steel from flooding into Europe

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union says it will soon take action to prevent steel produced for the U.S. market from flooding into Europe due to tariffs introduced by President Donald Trump.

The EU’s executive Commission said Friday that “recent import statistics show trade diversion of steel products into the EU as a result of the additional 25 percent tariff on steel imposed by the U.S.”

The Commission says it plans to formally adopt this month a tariff rate quota to protect the European market. No exact date was given.

Trump imposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum from several countries. The tariffs on the EU went into force on June 1. Trump said it was to protect U.S. security interests. The European slammed the move as protectionism and slapped counter-measures on U.S. products.


Putin urges cooperation against cyberattacks

MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin has called for closer international cooperation in fending off cyberattacks.

Speaking Friday at a cybersecurity conference in Moscow, Putin said it’s important to develop common cybersecurity standards that take into account interests of all nations. He noted that cyberthreats have mounted around the world.

The Russian leader noted that the number of cyberattacks on Russia has increased by one-third in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the same period last year.

He said that Russia would work to develop an automated system facilitating information exchange between businesses and law enforcement agencies to help enhance cybersecurity.

Putin didn’t address allegations that government-sponsored Russian hackers have meddled in the U.S. 2016 presidential elections. Moscow has strongly denied interfering in the vote.


Mazda recalls 270,000 vehicles

NEW YORK (AP) — Mazda is recalling nearly 270,000 vehicles with Takata airbags that have the potential to explode.

Chemicals used to inflate the air bags can deteriorate in some conditions, causing them to deploy with too much force, blowing apart a metal canister that can result in flying shrapnel.

The potentially deadly defect can be found in passenger-side airbags on certain 2003-2008 Mazda6, 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed6 and 2004 MPV vehicles nationwide. It also involves 2005-2006 MPV models in certain states.

Over the last several years, about 50 million air bag inflators have been recalled in the U.S., with 22 deaths and more than 180 injuries linked to the defect.

Takata has since been bought by Chinese-owned U.S. mobility safety company Key Safety System.

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