All posts by MBusiness

Mexico Foreign Minister Looks for More Jamaican Oil Ties

Mexico is looking into ways to deepen energy cooperation with Jamaica, Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said on Tuesday on a Caribbean trip to promote U.S.-backed efforts to erode Venezuela’s diplomatic influence.

Videgaray said he was hoping to get more Mexican firms to come to Jamaica as suppliers of oil and as potential investors in developing Jamaican oil resources.

Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that Mexico, Canada and the United States were looking at how to mitigate the effect sanctions on OPEC-member Venezuela would have in the Caribbean.

Videgaray, who visited St. Lucia before Jamaica, said deeper Mexican-Jamaican energy ties could serve as a model elsewhere in the island region.

“Whatever we do in Jamaica can be a learning experience for what we do with other Caribbean countries,” he said, without directly mentioning efforts to weaken Venezuela’s support among countries grateful for past oil largesse.

While Jamaica no longer imports Venezuelan crude, it was a founding member of the South American nation’s Petrocaribe program that provided cheap loans for oil to Caribbean nations.

The legacy of the program has helped Venezuela win votes in the Organization of American States to defeat motions against President Nicolas Maduro, whose socialist government has overseen an economic crisis in Venezuela.

Mexico’s oil output has fallen sharply and the energy ministry has said it would be difficult for the country to replace Petrocaribe. 

“We are a market-based economy and any kind of cooperation that we do, and any business that we foster, is according to market principles,” said Videgaray, standing next to his Jamaican counterpart Kamina Johnson Smith.

He added Mexico would be signing a memorandum of understanding to provide technical support to Jamaica’s oil refinery, Petrojam, which is jointly owned by a unit of Venezuelan national oil company PDVSA.

Jamaica already buys spot cargos of crude from Mexico, a major oil supplier to the United States.

Mexico has been gradually opening up its oil sector following a constitutional reform in 2013 that ended decades of monopoly control by national oil company Pemex. Its ability to maximize crude processing has been hobbled, however, by little new investment, accidents and natural disasters.

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Plan to Open Drilling Off Pacific Northwest Draws Opposition

The Trump administration’s proposal to expand offshore drilling off the Pacific Northwest coast is drawing vocal opposition in a region where multimillion-dollar fossil fuel projects have been blocked in recent years.

 

The governors of Washington and Oregon, many in the state’s congressional delegation and other top state officials have criticized Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s plan to open 90 percent of the nation’s offshore reserves to development by private companies.

 

They say it jeopardizes the environment and the health, safety and economic well-being of coastal communities.

 

Opponents spoke out Monday at a hearing that a coalition of groups organized in Olympia, Washington, on the same day as an “open house” hosted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson told dozens gathered — some wearing yellow hazmat suits and holding “Stop Trump’s Big Oil Giveways” signs — that he will sue if the plan is approved.

 

“What this administration has done with this proposal is outrageous,” he said.

 

Oil and gas exploration and drilling is not permitted in state waters.

 

In announcing the plan to vastly open federal waters to oil and gas drilling, Zinke has said responsible development of offshore energy resources would boost jobs and economic security while providing billions of dollars to fund conservation along U.S. coastlines.

 

His plan proposes 47 leases off the nation’s coastlines from 2019 to 2024, including one off Washington and Oregon.

 

Oil industry groups have praised the plan, while environmental groups say it would harm oceans, coastal economies, public health and marine life.

 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee met with Zinke over the weekend while in D.C. for the National Governors Association conference and again urged him to remove Washington from the plan, Inslee spokeswoman Tara Lee said Monday.

 

There hasn’t been offshore oil drilling in Washington or Oregon since the 1960s.

 

There hasn’t been much interest in offshore oil and gas exploration in recent decades though technology has improved, said Washington’s state geologist David Norman.

 

“It’s a very active place tectonically. We have a really complicated tough geology. It’s got really rough weather,” Norman said.

 

There’s more potential for natural gas than oil off the Pacific Northwest, said BOEM spokesman John Romero. A 2016 assessment estimates undiscovered recoverable oil at fractions of the U.S. total.

 

Proponents have backed the idea as a way to provide affordable energy, meet growing demands and to promote the U.S.’s “energy dominance.” Emails to representatives with the Western States Petroleum Association and the American Petroleum Institute were not immediately returned Monday.

 

Sixteen members of Washington and Oregon’s congressional delegation last month wrote to Zinke to oppose the plan, saying gas drilling off the Northwest coastline poses a risk to the state’s recreational, fishing and maritime economy.

Kyle Deerkop, who manages an oyster farm in Grays Harbor for Oregon-based Pacific Seafood, worried an oil spill would put jobs and the livelihood of people at risk.

 

“We need to be worried,” he said in an interview, recalling a major 1988 oil spill in Grays Harbor. “It’s too great a risk.”

 

Tribal members, business owners and environmentalists spoke at the so-called people’s hearing Monday organized by Stand Up To Oil coalition.

 

The groups wanted to allow people to speak into a microphone before a crowd because the federal agency’s open house didn’t allow that. Instead the open house allowed people to directly talk to staff or submit comments using laptops provided.

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Uber Sued After Data Stolen by Hackers Covered Up

Pennsylvania’s attorney general is suing the ride-hailing company Uber, saying it broke state law when it failed to notify thousands of drivers for a year that hackers stole their personal information.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Philadelphia said hackers stole the names and drivers’ license numbers of at least 13,500 Pennsylvania Uber drivers. It accuses Uber of violating a state law to notify people of a data breach affecting them within a “reasonable time frame.”

Uber acknowledged in November that for more than a year it covered up a hacking attack that stole personal information about more than 57 million customers and drivers. Pennsylvania’s lawsuit seeks civil penalties in the millions of dollars.

An Uber spokesman declined immediate comment. Washington state and Chicago have also sued Uber.

 

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Uber Sued After Data Stolen by Hackers Covered Up

Pennsylvania’s attorney general is suing the ride-hailing company Uber, saying it broke state law when it failed to notify thousands of drivers for a year that hackers stole their personal information.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Philadelphia said hackers stole the names and drivers’ license numbers of at least 13,500 Pennsylvania Uber drivers. It accuses Uber of violating a state law to notify people of a data breach affecting them within a “reasonable time frame.”

Uber acknowledged in November that for more than a year it covered up a hacking attack that stole personal information about more than 57 million customers and drivers. Pennsylvania’s lawsuit seeks civil penalties in the millions of dollars.

An Uber spokesman declined immediate comment. Washington state and Chicago have also sued Uber.

 

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Trump Would Exempt Canada, Mexico from Tariffs if New NAFTA Deal Reached

U.S. President Donald Trump says Mexico and Canada would be exempted from his planned tariffs on steel and aluminum imports if they can reach a “new and fair” trade agreement with the United States.

The three countries are currently in negotiations on revising the North American Free Trade Agreement, with the latest round of talks wrapping up in Mexico City.

Trump contended Monday on Twitter the 24-year-old agreement “has been a bad deal for U.S.A.  Massive relocation of companies & jobs.”  He added, “Canada must treat our farmers much better.  Highly restrictive.  Mexico must do much more on stopping drugs from pouring into the U.S.  They have not done what needs to be done.  Millions of people addicted and dying.”

He said that “To protect our Country we must protect American Steel! #AMERICA FIRST.”

In 2016, the last year with complete government statistics, the United States said it sent $12.5 billion more in goods and services to Canada than it imported, while it had a $55.6 billion trade deficit with Mexico.

Canada is the largest U.S. trading partner and last year shipped $7.2 billion worth of aluminum and $4.3 billion of steel to the United States.

The tariffs –  25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum – would hit other U.S. allies: Britain, Germany, South Korea, Turkey and Japan.  But China, the world’s biggest steel producer would be less affected, it only sends two percent of its supply to the United States.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Sunday that Trump is not planning to exempt any countries from the tariff hike.

Navarro told CNN that final details on Trump’s anticipated 25 percent tax on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum should be completed by later in the week or early next week at the latest.

Trump’s new tariffs for the key metals have drawn wide condemnation from business-oriented Republican lawmakers in the U.S., as well as Canada and the European Union. But Navarro said the tariffs are needed to “protect our national security and economic security, broadly defined.”

He dismissed concerns from Defense Department officials who voiced support for targeted tariff increases aimed at specific countries but not increases on the imported metals from throughout the world.

Navarro called it “a slippery slope” to target only some countries with increased tariffs while exempting others. He said there would be a mechanism to exclude some businesses, on a case-by-case basis, from having to pay higher prices for the imported metals.

Navarro said the message to the world on U.S. trade practices is simple: “We’re not going to take it anymore. We don’t get good results,” Navarro said, adding that U.S. trade overseas is “not fair and reciprocal.”

In another news talk show appearance, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told ABC News that Trump has talked with “a number of the world leaders” about his trade tariff plans.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said that in a Sunday phone call with Trump she had “raised our deep concern at the president’s forthcoming announcement on steel and aluminum tariffs, noting that multilateral action was the only way to resolve the problem of global overcapacity in all parties’ interests.”

U.S. Commerce Secretary Ross said the total value of the impending U.S. tariffs amounts to about $9 billion a year, a fraction of 1 percent of the annual $18.6 trillion U.S. economy, the world’s largest.

“So, the notion that it would destroy a lot of jobs, raise prices, disrupt things, is wrong,” Ross said.

Ross dismissed European Union threats of imposing retaliatory tariffs on such prominent American products as Harley Davidson motorcycles, bourbon and Levi’s jeans as unimportant and a “rounding error.”

In response on Saturday, Trump threatened European automakers with a tax on imports if the European Union retaliates against the U.S.

Ross called the possible European levies a “pretty trivial amount of retaliatory tariffs, adding up to some $3 billion of goods. In our size economy, that’s a tiny, tiny fraction of 1 percent. So, while it might affect an individual producer for a little while, overall, it’s not going to be much more than a rounding error.”

Trump weighed in Saturday on his rationale for the tariff hikes with a pair of Twitter comments.

 

“The United States has an $800 Billion Dollar Yearly Trade Deficit because of our ‘very stupid’ trade deals and policies,” he said. “Our jobs and wealth are being given to other countries that have taken advantage of us for years. They laugh at what fools our leaders have been. No more!

“If the EU wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the U.S.,” he added. “They make it impossible for our cars (and more) to sell there. Big trade imbalance!”

In 2017, the U.S. imported $151 billion more in goods from Europe than it exported to EU countries.

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Trump Would Exempt Canada, Mexico from Tariffs if New NAFTA Deal Reached

U.S. President Donald Trump says Mexico and Canada would be exempted from his planned tariffs on steel and aluminum imports if they can reach a “new and fair” trade agreement with the United States.

The three countries are currently in negotiations on revising the North American Free Trade Agreement, with the latest round of talks wrapping up in Mexico City.

Trump contended Monday on Twitter the 24-year-old agreement “has been a bad deal for U.S.A.  Massive relocation of companies & jobs.”  He added, “Canada must treat our farmers much better.  Highly restrictive.  Mexico must do much more on stopping drugs from pouring into the U.S.  They have not done what needs to be done.  Millions of people addicted and dying.”

He said that “To protect our Country we must protect American Steel! #AMERICA FIRST.”

In 2016, the last year with complete government statistics, the United States said it sent $12.5 billion more in goods and services to Canada than it imported, while it had a $55.6 billion trade deficit with Mexico.

Canada is the largest U.S. trading partner and last year shipped $7.2 billion worth of aluminum and $4.3 billion of steel to the United States.

The tariffs –  25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum – would hit other U.S. allies: Britain, Germany, South Korea, Turkey and Japan.  But China, the world’s biggest steel producer would be less affected, it only sends two percent of its supply to the United States.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Sunday that Trump is not planning to exempt any countries from the tariff hike.

Navarro told CNN that final details on Trump’s anticipated 25 percent tax on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum should be completed by later in the week or early next week at the latest.

Trump’s new tariffs for the key metals have drawn wide condemnation from business-oriented Republican lawmakers in the U.S., as well as Canada and the European Union. But Navarro said the tariffs are needed to “protect our national security and economic security, broadly defined.”

He dismissed concerns from Defense Department officials who voiced support for targeted tariff increases aimed at specific countries but not increases on the imported metals from throughout the world.

Navarro called it “a slippery slope” to target only some countries with increased tariffs while exempting others. He said there would be a mechanism to exclude some businesses, on a case-by-case basis, from having to pay higher prices for the imported metals.

Navarro said the message to the world on U.S. trade practices is simple: “We’re not going to take it anymore. We don’t get good results,” Navarro said, adding that U.S. trade overseas is “not fair and reciprocal.”

In another news talk show appearance, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told ABC News that Trump has talked with “a number of the world leaders” about his trade tariff plans.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said that in a Sunday phone call with Trump she had “raised our deep concern at the president’s forthcoming announcement on steel and aluminum tariffs, noting that multilateral action was the only way to resolve the problem of global overcapacity in all parties’ interests.”

U.S. Commerce Secretary Ross said the total value of the impending U.S. tariffs amounts to about $9 billion a year, a fraction of 1 percent of the annual $18.6 trillion U.S. economy, the world’s largest.

“So, the notion that it would destroy a lot of jobs, raise prices, disrupt things, is wrong,” Ross said.

Ross dismissed European Union threats of imposing retaliatory tariffs on such prominent American products as Harley Davidson motorcycles, bourbon and Levi’s jeans as unimportant and a “rounding error.”

In response on Saturday, Trump threatened European automakers with a tax on imports if the European Union retaliates against the U.S.

Ross called the possible European levies a “pretty trivial amount of retaliatory tariffs, adding up to some $3 billion of goods. In our size economy, that’s a tiny, tiny fraction of 1 percent. So, while it might affect an individual producer for a little while, overall, it’s not going to be much more than a rounding error.”

Trump weighed in Saturday on his rationale for the tariff hikes with a pair of Twitter comments.

 

“The United States has an $800 Billion Dollar Yearly Trade Deficit because of our ‘very stupid’ trade deals and policies,” he said. “Our jobs and wealth are being given to other countries that have taken advantage of us for years. They laugh at what fools our leaders have been. No more!

“If the EU wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the U.S.,” he added. “They make it impossible for our cars (and more) to sell there. Big trade imbalance!”

In 2017, the U.S. imported $151 billion more in goods from Europe than it exported to EU countries.

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