Markets retreat…Trade talks resuming…China vows tariff defense
TOKYO (AP) – Shares opened lower in Europe on Thursday, extending a retreat in Asia that deepened after China’s Commerce Ministry said Beijing would retaliate if the U.S. follows through with a plan to raise tariffs on Chinese imports. Futures point to a weak opening on Wall Street. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell below $61.50 a barrel. The dollar rose against the yen and fell against the euro.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. and Chinese negotiators are to resume trade talks just hours before the United States is set to raise tariffs on Chinese imports in a dramatic escalation of tensions between the world’s two biggest economies. The talks starting up again Thursday were thrown into disarray this week after top U.S. trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin accused the Chinese of reneging on commitments they’d made earlier. In response to the alleged backsliding, the United States is raising tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports.
BEIJING (AP) – Ratcheting up tension ahead of talks in Washington, China vowed Thursday to defend its own interests and retaliate if President Donald Trump goes ahead with more tariff hikes in a dispute over trade and technology. The Commerce Ministry said Beijing will impose “necessary countermeasures.” Trump threw global financial markets into turmoil with Sunday’s threat to raise import duties on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%. Trump complained Beijing was trying to backtrack on earlier agreements.
TOKYO (AP) – Japanese technology company SoftBank has reported a 36% year-on-year increase in profit for the fiscal year through March, partly on gains from its Vision Fund. After the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, SoftBank said it would diversify sources of its funding for investments. Much of the Vision Fund money had come from Saudi Arabia. SoftBank Group Corp., whose mobile subsidiary is boosting its stake in Yahoo Japan to 45% from 12%, said Thursday that its annual profit totaled 1.4 trillion yen ($12.8 billion).
UNDATED (AP) – A kids’ version of Amazon’s Alexa won’t forget what children tell it, even after parents try to delete the conversations, according to a report by consumer advocates. Those advocates say they have asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate its complaint that the device violates the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, known as COPPA, by holding onto a child’s personal information longer than is reasonably necessary. Amazon says the device is compliant.