The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 1:00 am


US tariffs on China ruled illegal

Staff, news services

GENEVA – A World Trade Organization panel ruled Tuesday that Trump administration tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods are illegal, vindicating Beijing even if the United States has all but incapacitated the WTO's ability to hand down a final, binding verdict.

The decision marks the first time that the Geneva-based trade body has ruled against a series of high-profile tariffs that President Donald Trump's government has imposed on a number of countries – allies and rivals alike. Trump has repeatedly claimed that the WTO treats the U.S. unfairly.

The ruling, in theory, would allow China to impose retaliatory tariffs on billions' worth of U.S. goods. But it is unlikely to have much practical impact, at least in the short term, because the U.S. can appeal the decision and the WTO's appeals court is currently no longer functioning – largely because of Washington's single-handed refusal to accept new members for it.

In its decision, the WTO's dispute settlement body ruled against the U.S. government's argument that China has wrongly engaged in practices harmful to U.S. interests on issues including intellectual property theft and technology transfer.

Kraft Heinz selling some cheese brands

Kraft Heinz said Tuesday it is selling its natural cheese business – including its Cracker Barrel and Breakstone's brands – to French dairy company Lactalis Group as part of a larger restructuring.

The $3.2 billion sale includes Kraft Heinz plants in Tulare, California; Walton, New York; and Wausau, Wisconsin. About 750 employees will transfer to Lactalis Group.

Kraft Heinz, however, will keep its Philadelphia cream cheese brand, Kraft singles and the Velveeta and Cheez Whiz brands. It's also retaining its macaroni and cheese business.

Indiana startups can apply for investment

Indiana startup companies can apply for a share of $660,000 in pre-seed and seed investment from Elevate Ventures, an Indianapolis nonprofit that funds promising young firms.

Applications for the 2020 Elevate Nexus Regional Pitch Competitions will be accepted through midnight Sept. 28. Finalists will be selected Sept. 29 and invited to compete. Competition for the northern region will be held virtually Oct. 27.

The most recent Elevate Nexus competitions wrapped up in May with $1.64 million invested throughout the state. Each winner also is considered an Elevate Ventures portfolio business and gains access to Elevate's network of advisors and resources.

To apply, go to and select Elevate Nexus Pre-Seed and Seed Awards from the topic dropdown.

Misconduct trial in Nissan case begins

The financial misconduct trial of former Nissan executive Greg Kelly began Tuesday with Kelly saying he committed no crimes and was only trying to keep his star boss Carlos Ghosn from leaving.

The charges being heard in Tokyo District Court center on Kelly's alleged role in failing to report to Japanese authorities the future compensation of Ghosn, who led Nissan Motor Co. for two decades.

Japanese prosecutors outlined allegations of what they said was a complex and clandestine scheme to pay Ghosn more than the amount the company had reported as compensation.

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