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The daily business briefing: October 12, 2017

Harold Maass
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
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1.

Canada's Trudeau calls for saving NAFTA during White House visit

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with President Trump at the White House on Wednesday and called for maintaining a "fairer" North American Free Trade Agreement that would "produce better outcomes" for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The meeting came as a fourth round of NAFTA negotiations began outside Washington as business leaders expressed growing concern that Trump is leaning toward scrapping the trade deal and replacing it with bilateral agreements. "We'll see what happens," Trump said in the Oval Office when asked if NAFTA was dead. "We have a tough negotiation, and it's something you will know in the not too distant future."

2.

Trump to sign executive order aimed at unwinding ObamaCare

President Trump, after failing to replace ObamaCare, plans to sign an executive order on Thursday to relax some of former President Barack Obama's health-care law on his own. Trump is expected to ease standards on small businesses that band together to buy health insurance. He also might tell federal agencies to allow the sale of health plans that are cheaper and less comprehensive than the health law requires. White House officials said Trump's goal is to promote choice and competition. Democrats and some state regulators say that the moves would create low-cost insurance options for the healthy, driving up costs for older and sicker people, and destabilizing the Affordable Care Act's insurance marketplaces.

3.

Delta says it won't pay tariffs on Bombardier jets

Delta Air Lines said Wednesday that it would refuse to pay a 300 percent tariff on Canadian-built Bombardier CSeries jets that the U.S. Commerce Department recently decided to impose. "We're not going to be forced to pay tariffs or anything of the ilk," Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian said on the company's third-quarter earnings call, raising doubts about the carrier's purchase of 75 of the jets. The U.S. decision to propose the tariff payments, which still must be affirmed by the International Trade Commission next year, came after rival aircraft maker Boeing complained that Bombardier used subsidies from the Canadian government to allow it to dump CSeries jets in the U.S. at "absurdly low" prices.

4.

Stocks hover near records ahead of bank earnings

U.S. stock futures inched down from record levels early Thursday as investors awaited a flurry of quarterly earnings reports from big banks and digested a surge by cryptocurrency Bitcoin to a record high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard & Poors 500, and the Nasdaq Composite indexes all made modest gains to close at record highs on Wednesday. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. said that its third-quarter profit rose as strong lending offset weak trading results. The bank reported profit of $1.76 a share, beating analysts' forecasts of $1.65 a share and marking an increase over a profit of $1.58 a share in the same quarter last year.

5.

NYT: Weinstein Company board knew of Harvey Weinstein settlements

The Weinstein Company's board has said the allegations of years of sexual misconduct and sexual assault by the film company's co-founder Harvey Weinstein came as an "utter surprise," but interviews and company records indicate the company has known about some of the settlements for at least two years, The New York Times reported Wednesday. Board member Lance Maerov, who handled Weinstein's contract negotiation two years ago, said he had been told of settlement payments, but assumed they were to cover up consensual affairs. Hillary Clinton told CNN she was "sick" and "shocked" over the allegations against Weinstein, a longtime Democratic donor, and that she planned to give his past contributions to her political campaigns to charities.

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