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Stocks gain...Trade talks wrap...Tariff questions

February 15, 2019

SINGAPORE (AP) — World markets were mostly lower on Friday in the absence of good news as the U.S. and China concluded yet another round of trade talks in Beijing. Futures point to opening losses on Wall Street. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell, remaining below $54.50 per barrel. The dollar eased against the yen and gained against the euro.

BEIJING (AP) — A U.S. trade envoy says talks on a dispute over Beijing’s technology ambitions “made headway on very, very important” issues. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer expressed optimism but gave no details after the two countries wrapped up two days of trade talks on Friday. The official Chinese news agency says negotiators will meet again next week in Washington.

DETROIT (AP) — By Sunday, President Donald Trump’s Commerce Department is expected to issue its opinion on whether auto imports endanger U.S. national security enough to justify imposing tariffs of 20 to 25 percent on imported autos and auto parts. The department could decide to postpone its conclusion. Or it could just hand its recommendations to Trump without making them public. But if it does suggest that Trump impose the tariffs, Commerce would be advocating a major escalation in Trump’s combative trade policies.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite President Donald Trump’s tough talk on trade, his administration has granted hundreds of companies permission to import millions of tons of steel made in China, Japan and other countries without paying the hefty tariff he put in place to protect U.S. manufacturers and jobs, according to an Associated Press analysis. The waivers from the import tax show how pliable his protectionist policies can be. Behind the scenes, his Commerce Department approved tariff exemption requests from 370 companies for up to 4.1 million tons of foreign steel.

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon jilted New York City on Valentine’s Day, scrapping plans to build a massive headquarters campus in Queens amid fierce opposition from politicians angry about nearly $3 billion in tax breaks and the company’s anti-union stance. With millions of jobs and a bustling economy, New York can withstand the blow, but experts say the decision by the e-commerce giant to walk away and take with it 25,000 promised jobs could scare off other companies considering moving to or expanding in the city, which wants to be seen as the Silicon Valley of the East Coast.