Trade: Battle with Canada and Mexico cools
The U.S. reached a deal to lift steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico last week, said Kayla Tausche and Jacob Pramuk in CNBC.com. The move eliminates “one key obstacle to passing updates to the North American Free Trade Agreement,” which President Trump has been pressing Congress to ratify. Using a tool designed for security threats to the U.S., Trump last year imposed tariffs of 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively, on steel and aluminum imports. When they were removed, Canada and Mexico reciprocated by lifting tariffs on steel, aluminum, whiskey, and beef.
China: Settling in for a war of attrition
Chinese President Xi Jinping said the nation is “now embarking on a new Long March” and “must start all over again,” said Zhou Xin in the South China Morning Post (China). It was “the most dramatic sign to date that Beijing has given up hope of reaching a trade deal with the United States.” Xi did not specifically cite U.S. trade, but his remarks signal he is preparing the nation for the hardships of an extended trade war. State media outlets “have adopted increasingly nationalistic tones in relation to the trade war” since the U.S. raised tariffs.
Tech: Antitrust loss for key 5G chipmaker
A federal judge ruled this week that Qualcomm “strangled competition” with its patent-licensing practices, said Tripp Mickle in The Wall Street Journal. The judge sided with the Federal Trade Commission, which brought an antitrust suit against the chipmaker and technology developer in 2017. The FTC alleged that Qualcomm used its patents to crush rivals, refusing to license essential technology to other chipmakers and charging phone makers such as Apple and Samsung exorbitant royalties. Qualcomm was ordered to renegotiate licensing agreements with customers “free of unfair tactics,” potentially lowering costs for Apple and other phone makers.
Equality: Rights groups target McDonald’s
McDonald’s faces 25 new sexual harassment complaints from workers, said Melena Ryzik in The New York Times. The cases filed this week—backed by the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union, and a labor group—are “a major test of the legal and labor power of the #MeToo movement.” The targeting of McDonald’s by the public interest groups is strategic, to spark reforms in the broader restaurant industry. Fast-food chains have argued that they shouldn’t be liable for the behavior of managers at franchisees’ stores.