China’s exports, imports grow while trade tension with U.S. persists
BANGKOK – China’s exports and imports surged in May and its politically sensitive surplus with the U.S. grew as the pandemic was waning in important markets in the West.
Customs data released Monday showed China’s exports rose 28% from a year earlier and imports soared 51%, but growth was leveling off after the country’s stunning recovery from the slump early in 2020.
Three years into a tariff war with Washington, tensions over the trade gap persist even with business recovering from last year’s shocks as vaccinations rates rise.
The trade surplus with the United States rose 14% to $31.8 billion, while China’s trade surplus with the European Union was $12.7 billion.
Over the weekend, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said at a virtual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum that a “significant imbalance” remains in trade between the two largest economies that was “damaging in important ways to the American economy.”
Google hit with big fine for abusing its dominance
PARIS – Google is being fined $268 million by France’s antitrust watchdog for abusing its “dominant” position in online advertising.
Practices used by the search engine giant to sell ads “penalize Google’s competitors” along with publishers of mobile sites and applications, the Competition Authority said Monday. It is the responsibility of a company with a dominant market position to avoid undermining its competition.
Google, based in Mountain View, California, did not dispute the facts and opted to settle after proposing some changes, according to a prepared statement from the Competition Authority.
The head of the authority, Isabelle de Silva, said the decision was unprecedented in the way that it delved into the complex algorithmic auctions that power Google’s online display advertising business.The fine, along with Google’s commitment to changing its practices, “will make it possible to re-establish a level playing field for all players, and the ability for publishers to make the most of their advertising space,” de Silva said.
Bosch opens factory to address chip shortage
BERLIN – German technology company Bosch on Monday opened a $1.2 billion chip factory in the eastern city of Dresden to help meet the growing demand for semiconductors.
A global shortage of semiconductors has forced major auto companies such as Volkswagen and BMW to slow vehicle production in recent months.
“Bottlenecks on the semiconductor market have made the economic recovery after the coronavirus crisis more difficult,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the opening ceremony.
Speaking by video link from Berlin, she suggested that computer chips have replaced oil as the “life blood” of economies.
Bosch, a major supplier to the car industry, said the factory is the biggest single investment in its 130-year history. It will employ 700 people to produce silicon wafers containing tens of thousands of custom-made chips that will control its airbags, braking and parking control systems.
Car, student loans boost consumer borrowing
WASHINGTON – U.S. consumer borrowing rose by $18.6 billion in April, fueled by a big rise in auto and student loans that offset a drop in credit card use.
The April gain reported Monday by the Federal Reserve was the third straight month of strong increases in consumer borrowing. It followed a similar $18.6 billion increase in March.
The latest increase reflected a $20.6 billion increase in the Fed’s category that covers auto and student loans. It was the biggest increase in those loans since a $22.7 billion rise in June 2020.
From wire reports
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