Finance topics

November 26, 2014

Don

Filed under: Business, online — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 5:52 pm

In the matter of the alleged sexual misconduct that led Justin Trudeau to suspend two male MPs earlier this month, the ball is no longer solely in the Liberal leader’s court. But where it will ultimately land is anybody’s guess.

By laying out her allegations in the media, one of the NDP complainants kicked the issue unto the larger terrain of the House of Commons and — possibly — the courts.

The identity of the two female complainants remains confidential but what allegedly happened between them and two Liberal colleagues is no longer just a matter of informed speculation.

The accusation levelled at Montreal MP Massimo Pacetti falls just short of outright rape. His alleged victim says he had sex with her without her explicit consent.

She also claims that Newfoundland MP Scott Andrews subjected another female New Democrat to sustained harassment.

These are allegations that would do serious damage to anyone’s reputation. That damage is compounded when they are levelled — as is the case in this instance — at elected individuals whose stock in trade is public trust.

If they are unfounded as Pacetti and Andrews maintain, it is hard to see how they could let them stand without challenging them in a court of law.

But even if the two suspended MPs continue to stick to proclaiming their innocence without seeking legal remedies, the latest developments put the onus back on the Speaker of the House of Commons to resume the search for a process to address the situation.

On the heels of a string of interviews — given on the condition that the complainant’s name not be reported but nevertheless amounting to a detailed account of the events in dispute — it is difficult to continue to insist, as the NDP has done, that this alleged victim only wants to be left alone by whoever is concerned by the situation.

It was the same MP that initially took the matter up the parliamentary ladder by apprising Trudeau of it last month. By now walking various journalists through a painfully private personal episode, she has raised it to yet a higher level.

She says she never expected her initial conversation with Trudeau to result in the public outing of the alleged Liberal offenders for presumed misconduct.

Now that this has happened and with Pacetti and Andrews in limbo, it may be that she has come to the conclusion that there can be no real closure until further steps are taken to air the matter.

In any event, she says she would now consider participating in a confidential process led by an independent third party, presumably tasked by the Speaker to bring a definitive resolution to the issue.

But whether that willingness can ever translate into an effective process in this particular situation is an open question.

As is often the case in such matters, the more information is brought to the fore the less easy it is to chart a way forward that does not lead to a dead end and/or a deadlock.

Based on the information published to date, the exercise would ultimately pit the word of an MP against that of another, with neither party able to produce evidence to corroborate his or her version of events.

With the same facts at his or her disposal as Trudeau had and assuming all protagonists stick to their guns, an arbitrator, as talented as he or she may be, would be hard-pressed to come to a conclusion that does not strike one side as arbitrary.

When asked what outcome she hoped for when she brought her grievance to Trudeau’s attention, the NDP MP suggested that she would have been satisfied with a personal apology and a promise of better behaviour in the future.

Her colleague may be similarly inclined.

But whether that would be enough to convince Trudeau to welcome the suspended MPs back into the fold is another matter.

To go back to the opening metaphor of this column: this particular ball is one of wool and the more it is kicked around, the more tangled it gets.

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November 24, 2014

Post Holdings reports large 4Q loss

Filed under: Finance, Mortgage — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 7:44 pm

Post Holdings on Monday reported a $287.4 million quarterly loss as the fast-growing company continues to absorb its recent acquisitions.

During its fiscal fourth quarter, ended Sept. 30, the Brentwood-based company reported a loss of $5.86 per share, compared with a loss of 10 cents per share during the same period a year ago. The company lost $900,000 during the fourth quarter of 2013.

The results were released after the market closed. In after hours trading, the company’s shares were down $2.19 at $34.91.

Sales during the quarter rocketed to $1.04 billion from $291.7 million in the year-earlier period, mostly due to a number of acquisitions.

The company, which has been diversifying in the face of a weakening breakfast cereal market, has been on a massive buying spree poor credit personal loans. Post has acquired seven companies over the past two years, including Michael Foods, Golden Boy Foods and Dymatize Enterprises.

The latter has been singled out by Post executives for its supply chain issues that have impacted the performance of the company’s active nutrition segment. In Monday’s regulatory filing, the company said those issues are expected to continue through the end of the 2015 fiscal year.

For the full year, Post reported a loss of $343.2 million, or $9.03 per share, compared with a profit of $15.2 million, or 30 cents a share, a year earlier.

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November 23, 2014

China, Europe chase growth amid global slowdown

Filed under: management, technology — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 7:12 am

BEIJING (AP) — China’s central bank unexpectedly slashed interest rates on Friday to re-energize the world’s No. 2 economy, joining a growing list of major economies that are trying to encourage growth in the face of a global slowdown.

The president of the European Central Bank said Friday he was ready to step up stimulus for the 18-country eurozone economy, where growth is meager and unemployment is soaring. And Japan’s government this week delayed a tax increase after the country slipped back into recession. Japan’s central bank late last month increased its purchases of government bonds and other assets to try to revive growth.

News of China’s actions and the ECB’s hints of further stimulus triggered a surge in stock markets, particularly in Europe. Germany’s DAX rose 2.6 percent, while the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.5 percent to close at a record high. Asian stocks had closed before the Chinese announcements.

Friday’s moves highlighted an increasing divide in the global economy. The United States is showing signs of steady growth, prompting the Federal Reserve to rein in its stimulus efforts.

So far, the U.S. has escaped any drag from the slowdown overseas. Fed policymakers said at a meeting last month that the impact on the U.S. would be “quite limited.”

Jay Bryson, a global economist at Wells Fargo Securities, said the U.S. is “relatively insulated” from overseas developments. Exports are a smaller source of growth than in other developed nations and many major employers, such as health care and education providers, are largely unaffected by overseas activity.

The slowdown in global growth is becoming an increasing concern for policymakers. Japan confirmed this week that it has fallen back into recession and will delay a tax increase to help consumer spending.

In Europe, it is not only weak growth but also the low inflation rate that is worrying the ECB. Low inflation or an outright drop in prices can weaken an economy further by encouraging delays in spending and investment. The economy of the 18-country eurozone grew by a scant 0.2 percent in the third quarter compared with the previous three months.

As indicators for the eurozone and global economy disappoint, ECB President Mario Draghi was firm in his message: “”We will do what we must to raise inflation and inflation expectations as fast as possible,” he said in a speech in Frankfurt.

Of major economies, only the U.S. is considering raising interest rates. The Federal Reserve only recently ended a massive bond-buying program that helped reduce market interest rates because the economy is strengthening.

But the prospect of higher rates in the U paydayloans.S. is exposing the country to a potentially painful rise in the dollar — currencies tend to strengthen with higher rates. The dollar hit a seven-year high against the yen, and jumped almost 1 percent against the euro on Friday. A stronger dollar makes it tougher for U.S. exporters to sell their goods internationally.

The People’s Bank of China said it is trying to address “financing difficulties” caused by a shortage of credit. It also said the move was not a change in monetary policy and economic conditions are within an “appropriate range.”

China’s economic growth fell to a five-year low of 7.3 percent in the latest quarter and manufacturing and other indicators are declining. That has prompted suggestions Beijing might intervene to prop up growth.

The rate charged by banks for loans to each other rose this week to its highest level since early October, reflecting reduced availability of credit, a concern for Chinese economic planners.

“If necessary, the central bank will provide timely liquidity support,” or extra credit to markets, it said in a separate statement.

The bank cut the rate on a one-year loan by commercial banks by 0.4 percentage points to 5.6 percent. The rate paid on a one-year savings was lowered by 0.25 point to 2.75 percent.

It was the first rate cut since July 2012, and comes after the Cabinet called this week for steps to reduce financing costs for industry to make the economy more efficient.

Bryson of Wells Fargo Securities said the bank’s move would have only a limited impact on China’s economy. But it does signal that Chinese officials’ concerns about growth are rising, he said, a sign they may take further steps in the coming months.

In China, changes in interest rates have a limited direct effect on the government-dominated economy but are seen as a signal to banks to lend more and to state companies that they are allowed to step up borrowing.

“The reduction in the benchmark lending rate will mainly benefit the larger, typically state-owned firms that borrow from banks,” said Mark Williams of Capital Economics in a report. Most of China’s private companies cannot get loans from the state-owned banking industry and rely on an underground credit market.

“This does not necessarily signal that policymakers are going back on efforts to support smaller companies, or giving up on ‘targeted easing,’ but they apparently feel larger firms are now in need of support too.”

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November 21, 2014

Conservatives inadvertently give Justin Trudeau a leg up: H

Filed under: Homes, Mortgage — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 4:20 pm

By the standards of extended family gatherings, the gala hosted by the Broadbent Institute on Thursday night in Toronto was a sober affair and not just because the issue of inequality was on the menu.

For the past and present New Democrat luminaries who make up the backbone of this progressive think tank, federal life can hardly be said to be unfolding as it should.

On Monday, the GTA voters of Whitby-Oshawa delivered the NDP a morale-sapping blow. The party’s vote collapsed to a miserable eight per cent. And that was only the latest in a string of federal byelection setbacks that included the loss of Olivia Chow’s former Toronto seat last summer.

Each of those defeats increases the risk that non-Conservative voters trample the NDP in a rush to the Liberals next year. Each stands to accelerate a detrimental bandwagon effect for the party.

At some point Thomas Mulcair’s civil society allies will have to decide whether loyalty to the NDP should take precedence over taking out an ideologically hostile federal government next year. Some of them quietly acknowledged that reality on Thursday night.

But if they’d come to the pre-gala cocktail looking for hints of a convincing plan B to restore the party’s momentum, they did not find it.

By now Mulcair’s brain trust is near the end of its collective wits.

Neither a leader who routinely performs at the top of his game, nor a caucus with enough talent to form a competent cabinet, nor a voter-friendly policy handbook seems to do the trick for the NDP.

It is actually no wonder that party strategists are increasingly helpless at strategizing their way out of the current predicament. The main authors of the NDP’s misfortune are not within their ranks.

At least part of the credit for that belongs to the apprentice sorcerers who toil in the Conservative war room and who may, in this instance, have outsmarted themselves.

In 2011, a majority of Canadians — 60 per cent — did not support Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. Since then the prime minister and his crew have given those voters little cause to change their minds.

If anything the past mandate — and the consistent polarizing approach to policy that is has featured — has solidified the opposition to the current government cash till payday advance. When asked by pollsters, precious few 2011 non-Conservative voters rank Harper’s party as an acceptable second choice.

This hardening of anti-Conservative feeling did not loom large in the party’s pre-election calculations, or at least it did not until now.

Second only to a committed base, vote-splitting between the opposition parties has been a winning condition for Harper since his first election victory in 2006. A long-standing assumption had been that it could be counted on to again work its magic for the party next fall.

The results in Whitby-Oshawa suggest otherwise.

On Monday, the opposition vote coalesced behind the Liberals. And while it was not enough to carry this particular riding, the pattern, if it were replicated across Ontario in the general election, would make vaulting from third to first place easy for Trudeau.

If by a domino effect Quebec followed Ontario’s example, the elements of a Liberal majority would be reunited.

For two years, the Conservatives have framed Trudeau as the leader to beat in the next election, virtually ignoring Mulcair in the process.

Never has a federal third party leader attracted as much attention from a ruling party.

In so doing the Conservatives wanted to ensure that Trudeau would walk wounded into his first campaign but so far, it is Mulcair who has had the legs cut from under him.

By systematically treating Trudeau as the leader to beat next year, they have helped to enshrine his status as the top Conservative slayer in the mind of an electorate that has rarely been more motivated to look for such a champion.

Less than a year from the federal election, the Liberals are exactly where they want to be vis-

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November 20, 2014

Gift Guide: Help your selfie with some add-on gear

Filed under: Loans, economics — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 8:32 am

ATLANTA (AP) — Not all selfies are created equal. Some are blurry, are poorly framed or miss the action entirely because you might be scrubbing your thumb fishing for a virtual shutter button as the moment passes you by.

Although phone manufacturers are trying to help by building in tools for better selfies, many of these have their limits. For better selfies, consider some of these gadgets for yourself or your loved ones.

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— Halo/Hisy ($25):

This one is really simple. The Halo is a small plastic button that serves as a wireless shutter trigger for your phone’s camera. Its only job is to trigger your phone’s shutter when you click the button. One function, one result.

My tests with the Halo for my Android phone went smoothly. The company makes an iPhone version called Hisy. You need to install its free camera app, Shutter Panorama, as neither Halo nor Hisy works with the regular camera app that comes with the phone.

Shutter Panorama doesn’t have too many manual settings or special features. But the device does a good job in allowing me to place my phone in places other than my hand. I got some nice shots of myself and my dog by putting the phone against a rock in the front yard and sitting a few feet away. It’s more elegant than setting the camera’s timer and running to get in the shot.

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— Kodak Pixpro SL25 ($300):

The Pixpro SL25 from Kodak is essentially a camera lens that mounts onto your phone, allowing for higher resolution than what your phone’s camera can capture. The Pixpro communicates with your phone over Wi-Fi and lets you compose the image on the phone’s screen. Once the photos are snapped using the shutter button on the Pixpro, the phone serves primarily to review and share the images to social media services.

The downside is you have a second device to carry around, which defeats the purpose of taking selfies on the fly. The upside is image quality. The Pixpro shoots sharp 16 megapixel photos and full high-definition video at 1080p. This quality is common for rear cameras, but not the front ones for selfies.

The Pixpro has fold-out arms to attach to my phone, such that the two devices act as one payday loan lenders in states. That, in itself, isn’t different from using just the phone for selfies. But I was able to hold the Pixpro and press the shutter in ways I could not with my phone. For instance, I was able to have my finger rest on a physical button on the Pixpro instead of searching on the phone’s touch screen for a virtual one.

I had a lot of success using the Pixpro unattached to my phone as well. It has a wide-angle lens that fits plenty of action into the frame.

Some phones are coming with better front cameras. The one on HTC’s new Desire Eye is 13 megapixels, the same as the rear camera. There’s even a front flash. You’ll still get sharper images with the Kodak attachment.

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— Satechi Smart Selfie Extension Arm Monopod ($50):

This telescoping monopod from Satechi helps get more than just yourself in the frame. Similar to the Kodak unit, this monopod has spring-loaded rubber pieces that grip the phone on its sides, holding it firmly in place. From there, you simply extend the telescoping device out to its full three feet and get lots of buddies or surroundings into the shot.

What really helps is that a shutter button on the grip of the pole connects to your phone via Bluetooth, allowing you to snap the selfie without reaching up to the phone. Once I paired the monopod to my phone and launched my default camera app, I was able to easily snap various selfies with a birds-eye view and other vantage points longer than my arm.

The Satechi unit worked fine with my phone’s default camera, but not with other camera apps I enjoy, such as FxCamera and Candy Camera.

Samsung’s new Galaxy Note models do let you fit more people in by stitching multiple images together. You tilt the phone left and right, and the Note’s software does the magic behind the scenes. The shot won’t be as instant, though, as what the monopod can provide.

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November 18, 2014

Refugee advocates battle federal government over welfare

Filed under: Business, technology — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 10:24 am

OTTAWA—A new battle is brewing between refugee advocates and the federal government — this time over whether those awaiting a decision on their refugee status ought to have access to social assistance.

Measures that would give provinces the ability to cut off access were buried in the Conservatives’ latest omnibus budget bill, catching observers off guard in much the same way that sudden changes to refugee health care coverage did two years ago.

Those opposed to the social assistance provisions are appearing at hearings on the bill in Ottawa this week and also plan to express their outrage Tuesday in front of the finance minister’s office in Toronto.

Over 150 groups have signed an open letter calling on Finance Minister Joe Oliver to remove the provisions from Bill C-43.

“Access to social assistance is vital to sustain and rebuild lives,” the letter reads.

“Without that source of support, many will be unable to feed, house, or clothe themselves and their families, putting further pressure on already overburdened charities and shelters.”

The provisions in Bill C-43 amend the agreement which governs transfer payments between Ottawa and the provinces.

Currently, if provinces place any residency restrictions on who is eligible to receive social assistance, they could lose some of the money they receive from the federal government to cover those services.

But the budget bill seeks to change that, creating categories of people to whom residency requirements cannot apply, opening the door to the imposition of restrictions on anyone not on the list.

It’s a blatant attempt to go after refugee claimants, advocates say.

“It’s the same line and the same discourse being used here as has been used with the health care cuts so it’s the continuation of that,” said Janet Dench, the executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees.

“Just practically speaking, if you look at who has access to social assistance and who could be affected by a residency requirement, refugee claimants are the main group that would be affected guaranteed approval cash loans.”

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said the budget bill changes are about devolving power to the provinces, though in line with previous revisions to refugee policy.

The changes “will give the power to the provinces and territories to establish minimum periods of residence to qualify for social assistance, if they wish to do so,” Kevin Menard said in an email.

Officials from Citizenship and Immigration told a Senate committee hearing earlier this month that the changes were the product of conversations with Ontario officials, but the province denies making the request.

“In fact, the Ministry of Community and Social Services has concerns about the potential human rights implications of imposing a waiting period for a specific group,” said a spokesperson for Minister Helena Jaczek.

“We believe that a waiting period could impact people with legitimate refugee claims who are truly in need.”

The human rights implications of another recent change to refugee policy landed the Conservatives in court.

A coalition of refugee advocates and physicians successfully argued that the overhaul of 50 years of policy governing health care for refugee claimants violated those people’s charter rights.

They won, though the government is appealing.

It’s likely the new changes will also see the government in court, said Michele Biss, the legal education and outreach co-ordinator for Canada Without Poverty.

The Conservatives say they have no intention to force provinces into making the change, but that might not matter, Biss said.

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November 17, 2014

Ford: Mustang driver injured by air bag fragment in North Carolina crash

Filed under: Business, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 12:16 am

DETROIT • Ford Motor Co. said on Sunday night it was cooperating with U.S. safety regulators investigating a report the driver of a 2007 Ford Mustang was injured in August by a metal fragment from the car’s air bag.

The 2007 Mustang was part of a June recall of millions of cars from nine manufacturers because air bag inflators made by Japanese supplier Takata Corp. could rupture and send metal fragments into the cabin.

The so-called “regional recalls” were carried out mainly in high-humidity states such as Florida after Takata said the inflators could be susceptible to rupture if exposed to moisture or extreme humidity.

North Carolina is not one of the high-humidity states listed in Ford’s June recall, which covered Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The 2007 Mustang owner’s complaint was filed on Oct. 30 with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Ford could not confirm that the 2007 Mustang involved in the North Carolina accident was equipped with Takata air bags.

In a statement released on Sunday night, Ford said: “Based on the field reports and testing currently available, the Takata airbag inflator designs used in Ford vehicles have not shown the same risk of fragmentation as other Takata airbag inflator designs used by other manufacturers. We are continuing to investigate this issue, and we are cooperating fully with NHTSA and Takata fast cash online.”

Ford’s June recall covered 58,669 cars. It was expanded in late October to 85,023 cars, including about 61,000 Mustangs from model years 2005-2008; 23,700 Ford Ranger pickups from model years 2004-2005, and 256 Ford GT sports cars from 2005-2006.

A Takata spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

The NHTSA complaint about the August accident in North Carolina said the Mustang “crashed into the rear end of another vehicle” at about 35 miles per hour.

“The air bag deployed with abrupt force and a metal fragment dislodged, causing injury to the driver’s leg, which required medical attention,” the complaint said.

Ruptured inflators in Takata air bags have been linked to four deaths in the United States and one in Malaysia, all in Honda vehicles. NHTSA has received dozens of complaints linked to the air bags.

The U.S. safety agency on Friday said Takata-related recalls since April 2013 number around 8 million. Before then, Honda alone had recalled more than 2.5 million cars, dating to November 2008, to replace defective inflators in Takata air bags.

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November 15, 2014

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath pledges to do better

Filed under: news, online — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 11:52 am

Embattled NDP Leader Andrea Horwath promises to do a better job by reaching out to unions and returning to the party’s socialist values.

“I am up to it, and you are too,” Horwath told the NDP convention in Toronto Saturday.

In her do-or-die speech before a leadership review vote later, Horwath said she wants an Ontario where everyone is equal.

“Our cause is to build a society that is much, much more socially and economically equal,” she said.

“We mean a province with a living minimum wage, so that the very concept of ‘working poor’ becomes a part of our past,” she said.

Fighting for that, housing for the poor, clean air, a publicly funded health care system and clean water, she said, will help her party form government in 2018‎, she said.

But whether the more than 1,000 delegates to the convention buy her mea culpa will be ‎determined later in the day.

After a disappointing showing in the spring provincial election, which she sparked, there have been a chorus of voices wanting Horwath gone.

Her tilt to the right during the election campaign and her brand of populism as well as the Progressive Conservatives’ collapse handed the Liberals a majority government.

In her speech, Horwath swung to the left calling for a province “where it is possible, it is normal, it is easy to join a union saving account payday loan.”

Several union leaders turned their back on Horwath when she turned her nose up at a provincial budget that they believed held much for workers.

Horwath said there are lessons to be learned from the election.

“There is no doubt about it,” she said.

Horwath said the party has to be much more open and inclusive “as we frame our next campaign and our next election platform.”

“We need to keep talking about our ultimate values and goals and not just our first steps.”

“These are some of the key lessons of the latest campaign — ones I commit to you that I will never forget,” she said.

Her new chief of staff, Michael Balagus, said many delegates were not so much there to be inspired by her speech but rather to keep score on what she was offering.

“The more Andrea went on, the more people warmed up and the more the energy in the room started to change and come around nicely,” Balagus said.

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November 13, 2014

Average U.S. 30-year loan rate slips to 4.01 percent

Filed under: Business, Finance — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 11:20 am

WASHINGTON • Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates edged lower this week, approaching their lows for the year. The benchmark 30-year loan rate hovered near 4 percent.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage slipped to 4.01 percent from 4.02 percent last week. The 30-year rate, which stood at 4.53 percent back in January, now is at its lowest level since June 2013.

The average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, ticked down to 3.20 percent from to 3.21 percent.

Long-term rates recovered in recent weeks following a five-week decline that had sparked a wave of homeowners looking to refinance mortgages at a bargain rate.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was unchanged from last week at 0.5 point. The fee for a 15-year mortgage also remained at 0.5 point.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage rose to 3.02 percent from 2.97 percent. The fee was steady at 0.5 point.

For a one-year ARM, the average rate declined to 2.43 percent from 2.45 percent. The fee held at 0.4 point.

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November 12, 2014

US-China deal could end fees on $1T in tech sales

Filed under: Homes, money — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 1:04 am

NEW YORK (AP) — A trade deal between the U.S. and China could end tariffs on $1 trillion in global sales of semiconductors, MRI machines, GPS devices, printer ink cartridges, video game consoles and other high-tech items.

President Barack Obama, in Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, said Tuesday that the U.S. and China reached an “understanding” on expanding the Information Technology Agreement of 1996. The ITA bans tariffs — or taxes on imported goods and services — on IT products among countries that are part of the World Trade Organization. Tariffs give domestic goods a price advantage for customers over imported ones. The expanded deal would eliminate those costs for multiple high-tech products such as global positioning systems, medical equipment, software and gadgets — leveling the playing field for those items.

Similar talks broke down in 2013 over the scope of the products that could be covered. But if the deal is finalized later this year at World Trade Organization talks in Geneva, it would mark the first major tariff reduction by the WTO in 17 years. The agreement covers more than $100 billion in products sold by the U.S. each year and could support up to 60,000 new U payday loan.S. jobs, according to the office of U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.

Chip and medical device industries might benefit the most from the new agreement, said Anna Han, director of the Center for Global Law and Policy at Santa Clara University School of Law. She noted that the expanded agreement doesn’t eliminate all barriers on trade: for example, China imposes additional rules on foreign telecommunications companies’ products.

Analyst Andrew Bartels of Forrester Research said the effects of the deal will be “relatively minor” because other issues — including government investigations into price-fixing — have a bigger impact on U.S. and European companies in China. However he said the agreement will create hope.

“A lot of negotiations over trade have been stalled and stymied,” he said. “Any time they start to make a small step forward … after a period where there’s been no progress, it creates the perception that this small step could be followed by bigger steps.”

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