Business briefing

The daily business briefing: July 17, 2017

White House launches "Made in America" week, Wells Fargo to spin off small businesses, and more

1

White House plans 'Made in America' week as Russia controversy simmers

The White House is hosting a product showcase on Monday to kick off what it is calling "Made in America Week." With the Senate GOP's health bill on hold and the Trump administration struggling to shake off a spate of damaging revelations about contact between President Trump's eldest son and a Moscow-linked lawyer, casting attention on the importance of making goods in America to create jobs could help restore confidence among Trump's core supporters. "For too long our government has forgotten the American worker. Their interests were pushed aside for global projects and their wealth was taken from the communities and shipped overseas," White House director of media affairs Helen Aguirre Ferre said Sunday. "Under the leadership of President Donald Trump, not only will the American worker never be forgotten, but they will be championed." Trump is expected to issue a proclamation on the "Made in America" push on Wednesday. Critics note that Trump's businesses have outsourced much of their product manufacturing overseas.

2

Wells Fargo to spin off small businesses after fake-accounts scandal

Wells Fargo is preparing to shed some of its smaller businesses in the wake of its fake-accounts scandal, Reuters reported Sunday. Chief Financial Officer John Shrewsberry told Financial Times that Wells Fargo, the second largest U.S. bank, would spin off products "worth hundreds of millions of dollars" to better focus on "more relevant" ones. "We get a little bit smaller, a little bit less complex and we can focus on what we're good at," he said. The bank recently announced it would pay $142 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over fake accounts and credit cards employees opened for customers without their consent.

3

China growth beats expectations

China's year-to-year gross domestic product grew by 6.9 percent in the second quarter, slightly more than expected, according to government data released Monday. The figures came despite fears that the world's second largest economy is slowing down this year. Economists credited unusually strong imports and exports for the good news. The Chinese government is aiming for 2017 growth of 6.5 percent. Last year's rate of 6.7 percent was the slowest seen in China in 26 years. Despite the unexpectedly strong data, stocks in Asia closed mixed on Monday. Markets were mixed in Europe, too, and U.S. stock futures held steady ahead of a big earnings week, after U.S. markets closed at record levels on Friday.

4

7 million pounds of hot dogs and sausages recalled

New York meat processor Marathon Enterprises is recalling more than 7 million pounds of hot dogs and sausages, mostly under the Sabrett brand, due to complaints that customers had found bones in some of the products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced over the weekend. One consumer reportedly suffered a "minor oral injury" from biting into one of the hot dogs. The processing plant is in New York but the franks are sold nationally. "As a fourth-generation, family-owned company, Sabrett takes its responsibility to provide safe foods very seriously with a robust internal food safety program," Marathon said in a statement posted on its website. "Sabrett deeply regrets any concern or inconvenience this has caused its loyal customers."

5

Brexit talks resume in Brussels

British and European Union negotiators are meeting in Brussels on Monday for the second round of Brexit talks. U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis and the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, will discuss the trading bloc's priorities, including the rights of EU citizens in the U.K. Davis, alluding to the lack of agreement in the first round, said it was time to "get into the substance" of the terms for the U.K.'s exit. "For us it's incredibly important that we now make good progress," he said, adding that he hoped to "negotiate through this and identify the differences so we can deal with them, and identify the similarities so we can reinforce them."

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