Economy & Business

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The upside of multilateral trade deals

Apr 18, 2018

President Donald Trump has again rejected the idea of the U.S. joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That’s the multilateral trade pact the Obama administration hammered out. Yesterday, the president tweeted that he still doesn't like the TPP. He added that bilateral trade agreements, between the U.S. and just one other country, are more "efficient" and "profitable." But, are they? 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

In a lot of restaurants in this country, Maine lobster is the luxury version of a luxury product. You get it in places with white table cloths and shiny silverware. But in Maine, where Jim Tselikis and Sabin Lomac grew up, lobster was eaten off paper plates at family gatherings in Jim's backyard. Six years and a couple of appearances on "Shark Tank" after the cousins sold their first Maine lobster roll off a food truck in Los Angeles, they’ve got a national lobster franchise with 20 trucks in 13 cities and a couple of brick-and-mortar restaurants as well.

For years, Starbucks has described its stores as a "third space" — a quasi-public place, away from home or the office, where anyone is welcome to hang out.

But the rules about that space are murky. They can vary from place to place, and even store to store. The way the rules are enforced isn't always consistent, either, which is how unconscious bias and discrimination can creep in.

Now, the arrests of two black men at a Starbucks store in Philadelphia last week are raising uncomfortable questions for the company and others like it.

The Senate approved a measure Wednesday that would roll back policies designed to protect minority car buyers from discriminatory loan terms. Republicans passed the bill by a narrow margin, and it now moves on to the House.

A food truck business that sells a "uniquely Main moment"

Apr 18, 2018

Cousins Jim Tselikis and Sabin Lomac were thrilled to find a large crowd when they parked their truck on their first day of business in 2012. Then they realized they were customers, and they had kept them waiting.

The following is an excerpt from their book "Cousins Maine Lobster: How One Food Truck Became a Multi-Million Dollar Business," where they discuss how they went from opening a food truck to receiving a phone call from the folks at "Shark Tank," the ABC TV show where entrepreneurs try to gain investors.   

04/18/2018: Did you go to Starbucks today?

Apr 18, 2018

American consumers can be a fickle bunch, and companies spend billions to make that fickleness break their way as best they can — especially in a crisis. Bloomberg calculated that Starbucks' upcoming shutdown for racial bias training is gonna cost $17 million in lost sales. But what do Starbucks customers think of last weekend's incident in Philadelphia, where two black men sat down without buying anything and left in handcuffs? That's where we're starting today. Then, another Trump tweet fact check: Are bilateral trade deals really better for the U.S.

The U.S. loses as much as $600 billion a year through intellectual property theft: Semiconductors, self-driving cars, sunglasses, and software.

China is the biggest culprit. It has planted moles in U.S. companies and hacked into computer systems to steal secrets. Boeing, Apple, Dupont, Ford have all gone after China for intellectual property theft.

President Trump wants to punish China by throwing up tariffs, but economist Ken Rogoff says we'd do better to turn the other cheek. It may not be a satisfying strategy, he says, but it's a lot more profitable in the long run.

In 2012, filmmaker Hajar al-Naim, 28, set foot in her first movie theater in Los Angeles more than 8,000 miles from her home in Saudi Arabia.

"I watched 'Argo,' it was ... amazing. I didn't know it would be such an experience. But I loved it because of the reaction of the people around me. The laughter, the crying, the silence in the room. It was just an incredible experience. I can't forget that day," she recalled in December when Saudi Arabia announced it was lifting a 35-year ban on cinemas.

AdamL212/flickr

People who shop at Boston Store could soon be seeing "Going Out of Business" sales -- and the loss of 2,200 jobs in Wisconsin.

A U.S. bankruptcy court Wednesday approved the sale of Boston Store's parent, Bob-Ton Stores, Inc. to a couple of liquidation companies.

Bon-Ton operates 260 stores in 24 states, including Boston Store and Younkers stores across Wisconsin.  The news is a blow to Milwaukee, including at the flagship Boston Store downtown, and the corporate offices in the same building.  

(Markets Edition) With the S&P up more than 2 percent this week, the markets aren't doing too badly. According to expert Susan Schmidt, they are on the "positive side of neutral." On today's show, we'll look at some of the factors helping keep volatility at bay. Afterwards, with the House Agriculture Committee considering the Farm Bill today, we'll discuss how cutting crop insurance funding could be a problem if China makes good on its tariff threats.

For decades, China has been one of the most difficult places to sell a car, and one of the most lucrative.

Nearly 29 million vehicles were sold in China in 2017, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. That's 11 million more than what sold in the U.S. last year, according to Wards, an auto data tracking firm.

This week, Chinese officials announced they're planning to relax some rules specifically for electric cars.

Here are some of the barriers that makes selling a car in China problematic.

1. The 50/50 rule

It’s been more than six months since Hurricane Irma and the Florida Keys had a busy spring break this year. But while lots of people enjoyed going to the beach, diving the reef or hitting the bars, some residents in the Florida Keys are still living with Irma’s aftermath as a daily reality.

On Big Pine Key, Bill Tubbs is spending a lot of time working on his garden.

“Otherwise I’d want to put my fist through a wall and considering this is concrete block, that would be really painful and it wouldn’t hurt the wall,” he said.

Can an app solve long lines at U.S. border checkpoints?

Apr 18, 2018

Facebook might be facing a lawsuit in California over its use of facial recognition technology but the technology itself is only becoming more ubiquitous. iProov, a London-based company that uses facial recognition technology, has been tapped by the Department of Homeland Security to help at the U.S. border. 

The House Agriculture Committee considers the Farm Bill today. The bill includes funding for crop insurance, the federal program that protects farmers from swings in crop yields, and prices. If insurance is cut back, that could be a problem should China makes good on its latest tariff threats. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

History is being made in Cuba today. Cuba’s National Assembly is expected to decide on a new president. It will be the first time in more than 50 years that someone who isn’t a Castro will be leading the country. All signs point to current vice-president Miguel Díaz-Canel as the successor to Raúl Castro. What will the change at the top mean for Cuba’s future?

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