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    Trade liberalization continues to have global momentum despite recent U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the European trade commissioner said Monday as she launched free trade negotiations between the European Union and Australia. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said negotiators would meet for the first time in Brussels in early July. She said 'there is a lot' of global momentum for trade liberalization, despite the United States last month slapping the EU, Canada and Mexico with tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. All vowed to retaliate by penalizing American products. In a separate dispute, China is poised to penalize $50 billion in U.S. goods — many of them produced by supporters of President Donald Trump in America's agricultural heartland. 'The rest of the world is actually speaking out and saying we need good trade agreements,' Malmstrom told reporters in Australia's Parliament House. 'Those of us who believe in open trade and rule-based trade need to stick together.' The EU is Australia's largest trading partner after China. Australia and China have had a bilateral free trade deal since 2015. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia had remained committed to a Pacific Rim trade deal despite Trump pulling the United States out shortly after he became president last year. Australia was among 11 countries that signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership in March. Trump has since signaled he might reopen talks on joining. 'We are committed to free trade and open markets and we practice what we preach,' Turnbull said. Turnbull and Malmstrom agreed that a bilateral free trade deal would be a win for both the EU and Australia. 'We share similar views on how we think world trade should work, we defend open trade, rule-based and fair, and this is what we're going to cement in our free trade agreement,' Malmstrom said. Australia also plans to negotiate a separate free trade deal with Britain once Australia's former colonial master has left the EU.
  • The mayor and congressional delegate may top the ballot in Washington, D.C.'s primary on Tuesday, but the real drama for voters has to do with waiters, waitresses, bartenders and busboys. Incumbent Mayor Muriel Bowser is expected to glide through to the nomination with no significant opposition, and the majority of incumbents on the D.C. Council are predicted to secure the Democratic nomination. The same goes for Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington's long-serving non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives. The actual election in November is even more of a formality in the District of Columbia, where the Republican Party holds little sway. The greatest question mark surrounds a divisive ballot initiative that would change the way that restaurants and bars pay their tipped employees. Initiative 77 would eliminate the 'tipped minimum wage' — the two-tiered system under which restaurant and bar owners pay servers, bartenders and bussers a lower hourly wage with the expectation that they will be compensated with tips from customers. Currently, these employees can make as little as $3.33 per hour; however, the employer is legally required to make up the difference if the employee's salary plus tips add up to less than the current minimum wage of $12.50 per hour. The ballot initiative would require employers to pay everyone at least the minimum wage and would incrementally raise that minimum wage up to $15 per hour by 2025. A similar policy was adopted in New York City in 2015. Proponents of the initiative argue that it would protect employees from unscrupulous owners who refuse to follow the law and match wages to bring earnings up to $12.50 per hour. They also say it would reduce sexual harassment by making servers less dependent on the whims of sometimes-inappropriate customers. However, the proposal has been opposed by a large percentage of both owners and tipped employees. Owners claim that the financial hit could force many bars and restaurants to close — and those that stay in business would only do so by introducing a new service charge, which would have the effect of eliminating most tipping. Many servers and bartenders also say they are already guaranteed at least the minimum wage under the current law while retaining the potential to earn far more depending on those tips. The controversy has played out publicly in the many bars and restaurants of Washington, with signs on the walls and many waiters, waitresses and bartenders wearing pins encouraging citizens to vote 'no.' While those who oppose the initiative have been particularly vocal in the weeks leading up to the vote, observers say it's difficult to predict exactly how the vote will go.
  • Asian shares were mostly lower Monday amid worries about trade tensions as the U.S. and China both started putting tariffs in motion. Markets in China and Hong Kong were closed for a national holiday. KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.8 percent to 22,672.49 in afternoon trading. South Korea's Kospi lost 1.5 percent to 2,367.84. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.2 percent to 6,104.60. Southeast Asian indexes were mostly lower. Markets in China and Hong Kong were closed for the Duanwu Festival commemorating the death of Qu Yuan, an ancient Chinese poet and minister. U.S.-CHINA TARIFFS: The tariffs slapped on one another by the world's two biggest economies are set to take effect from July 6. President Donald Trump has announced a 25 percent tariff on up to $50 billion in Chinese imports. China is retaliating by raising import duties on $34 billion worth of American goods, including soybeans, electric cars and whiskey. THE QUOTE: 'Caution appears to be the key word for Asian markets today as investors digest the potential implications of the U.S.-China tit-for-tat tariff measures,' said Selena Ling, chief economist at OCBC Bank. WALL STREET: Major U.S. benchmarks finished last week lower. The S&P 500 index dropped 0.1 percent to 2,779.66 and the Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.3 percent to 25,090.48. The Nasdaq composite dipped 0.2 percent to 7,746.38. ENERGY: Oil futures extended their losses after reports that OPEC countries planned to increase production of oil by as much as 1.5 million barrels a day. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.14 to $63.92 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost $1.83 to settle at $65.06 per barrel on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped 52 cents to $72.92 in London. CURRENCIES: The dollar inched down to 110.47 yen from 110.62 in late trading Friday. The euro weakened to $1.1597 from $1.1607.
  • An Egypt team official has confirmed goalkeeper Mohamed Elshenawy declined to receive a player of the match trophy at the World Cup for religious reasons. The trophy, an artistic red goblet, is sponsored by Budweiser. Islam prohibits the consumption of alcohol. Egypt team director Ihab Leheta told The Associated Press on Sunday that Elshenawy said a 'few words' and posed for photos in a brief ceremony, but didn't take the goblet. He said there was no policy or set of regulations for members of the all-Muslim squad regarding their dealings with sponsors or prizes linked to alcohol. 'It is up to each one,' he said. The 29-year-old Elshenawy won the award following his impressive performance in the 1-0 loss to Uruguay on Friday. He made a string of stunning saves before Uruguay clinched the win with a goal in the 89th minute. Images of Elshenawy gesturing what appears to be a rejection of the trophy held by a young Budweiser representative in the stadium's tunnel appeared on social and mainstream media. Budweiser is among FIFA's top sponsors. Egypt, a mainly Muslim nation of some 100 million, is playing at the World Cup for the first time since 1990. ___ More AP World Cup coverage: www.apnews.com/tag/WorldCup
  • The combined powers of superheroes, the Pixar brand and a draught of family-friendly films helped 'Incredibles 2' become the best animated opening of all time, the biggest PG-rated launch ever and the 8th highest film launch overall. Disney estimated Sunday that the film earned $180 million in its first weekend in North American theaters — far surpassing industry analysts' loftiest expectations which had the film pegged for a $120 to $140 million debut. The previous animation record-holder was another Pixar sequel, 'Finding Dory,' which had a $135 million launch in 2016. It was Disney's live-action 'Beauty and the Beast' that held the record for a PG debut with $174.8 million in 2017. 'You don't get to this level of opening without appealing to everyone whether you're a fan of animation, superheroes or just out to have a good time and want to see a good movie,' said Cathleen Taff, the head of distribution for Walt Disney Studios. 'We had a film that had something for all ages.' According to Disney, adults made up 31 percent of the audience, families accounted for 57 percent and teens 11 percent. 'Incredibles 2' comes 14 years after 'The Incredibles,' which at the time boasted one of the biggest animated openings ever, and picks up right where the first film left off with the superhero family. Brad Bird returned to write and direct the sequel, which has been overwhelmingly well-received by both critics and audiences. 'This is one of the biggest over-performances I've ever seen,' said comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. 'To over-perform by $40 million means everyone underestimated the power of animation to draw huge audiences.' 'Incredibles 2' is also the second biggest ever June debut, behind only 'Jurassic World' ($208.8 million), which has its own sequel preparing to take a bite out of the box office when its opens in North America next weekend. It knocked 'Ocean's 8' to a distant second in its second weekend in theaters with $19.6 million. 'Ocean's 8' still managed to outdo the non-'Incredibles' newcomers, like the R-rated comedy 'Tag,' also a Warner Bros. release, which opened in third place with $14.6 million. 'Solo: A Star Wars Story,' fell to fourth place with $9.1 million and 'Deadpool 2' rounded out the top five with an additional $8.8 million. Sony's 'Superfly' remake landed in seventh place in its first weekend with $6.3 million, and Vertical Entertainment's 'Gotti,' starring John Travolta, opened outside of the top 10. Playing in 503 locations, the long-delayed film which boasts a 0 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, took in $1.7 million. After a slow early June, the box office overall is now running around 6 percent ahead of where it was last year and will likely continue that growth next weekend when 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' launches stateside. Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday. 1.'Incredibles 2,' $180 million ($51.5 million international). 2.'Ocean's 8,' $19.6 million ($19.3 million international). 3.'Tag,' $14.6 million ($1.4 million international). 4.'Solo: A Star Wars Story,' $9.1 million ($5.2 million international). 5.'Deadpool 2,' $8.8 million ($9.8 million international). 6.'Hereditary,' $7 million ($5.7 million international). 7.'Superfly,' $6.3 million. 8.'Avengers: Infinity War,' $5.3 million ($3.1 million international). 9.'Adrift,' $2.1 million ($453,000 international). 10.'Book Club,' $1.9 million ($730,000 international). ___ Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore: 1. 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,' $173.6 million. 2. 'Incredibles 2,' $51.5 million. 3. 'Ocean's 8,' $19.3 million. 4. 'A Strong Insect Crossing the River,' $9.9 million. 5. 'Deadpool 2,' $9.8 million. 6. 'The Accidental Detective 2,' $6 million. 7. 'Hereditary,' $5.7 million. 8. 'Solo: A Star Wars Story,' $5.2 million. 9. 'Race 3,' $4.8 million. 10. 'Avengers: Infinity War,' $3.1 million. ___ Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ldbahr
  • Bill Ford looks past the tons of paint, plaster and steel needed to remake Detroit's blighted Michigan Central train station and sees more than just an iconic building in desperate need of a makeover. The executive chairman of Ford Motor Co. and great-grandson of founder Henry Ford envisions the future of the carmaker's foray into self-driving vehicles. Ford Motor Co. is embarking on a 4-year renovation of the 105-year-old depot and 17-story office tower just west of downtown. The massive project is expected to increase the automaker's footprint in the city where the company was founded, provide space for electric and autonomous vehicle testing and research, and spur investment in the surrounding neighborhood. Ford will be reclaiming a derelict 20th century landmark, but it also will be using some iconic Motor City real estate to embark on a 21st century venture. 'This had to make business sense for us,' Bill Ford told The Associated Press on Thursday. 'We couldn't just do this as a philanthropic endeavor. It really will become a statement for us and a great recruiting tool for the kind of talent we're going to need to win in the autonomous vehicle war.' The company has said it aims to have a self-driving vehicle on the market by 2021. The building's sale was announced last week. The company will announce details of the renovation and its plans Tuesday. Bill Ford declined to say how much it cost to buy the 500,000-square-foot (46,450-square-meter) building from Manuel 'Matty' Moroun or how much the carmaker expects to spend fixing it up. An unrelated 2004 plan to convert the train station into Detroit's police headquarters was expected to cost more than $100 million. The money for Ford's project is coming from a pool set aside in 2016 to update the automaker's headquarters in nearby Dearborn, though the company will also seek tax breaks and other incentives. 'We had to make sure that this actually could fit into our existing budget, and thankfully it did,' Bill Ford said. The train station opened in 1913 and for decades was the hub of rail transportation into and out of Detroit. Travelers and visitors marveled at its robust columns that stretched to an ornately tiled ceiling. But passenger rail travel waned as road and air travel got easier, and the last train left Michigan Central in 1988. Scrappers stripped the vacant building of its metal and the thousands of broken windows allowed the elements to damage the walls, floors and ceilings, depressing the property's value. Along the way, Detroit slid toward fiscal collapse. The population has dropped by more than one million people since the 1950s. Tens of thousands of homes were left abandoned even before the city tumbled into and out of bankruptcy several years ago. The aging, hulking and empty Michigan Central exemplified Detroit's plight. 'It always really bothered me whenever you'd see a national story about the decay of Detroit' photos of the train station often were used, Bill Ford said while sitting in the depot's cavernous passenger waiting room. 'Then I started to think: 'What if we could buy it, rehab it and not just make it a beautiful building — which we're going to do — but make it something more?'' he said. 'Make it really part of the reinvention of transportation for the future.' The rehabbed office tower will have room for about 5,000 workers, at least half of whom will be Ford's. Restaurants, coffee shops, taverns and retail will fill the depot. 'My vision is this becomes a gathering spot for people who want to meet family or friends and grab a cup of coffee or quick lunch or dinner and then go off and do something else in Detroit,' Ford added. 'I want them to feel that this is going to be a really wonderful spot to be in, and that they will get excited about coming here.
  • President Donald Trump intends to nominate an associate director at the Office of Management and Budget to lead the government's consumer watchdog agency, the White House announced Saturday. In a statement announcing the decision, spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said Kathy Kraninger 'will bring a fresh perspective and much-needed management experience' to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which the administration has been trying to rebrand as the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. Trump's budget chief, Mick Mulvaney, has been filling in as the bureau's acting director along with running the OMB since late November when his predecessor, Richard Cordray, resigned. Since then, Mulvaney has steered the bureau in a more industry-friendly direction. In her statement, Walters said the agency had been 'plagued by excessive spending, dysfunctional operations, and politicized agendas' in the past and that Kraninger would continue to implement the policies Mulvaney put in place. The Senate must confirm her nomination. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was established after the 2008 financial crisis to ensure customers were not being exploited and that banks were complying with consumer protection laws. Cordray, appointed by President Barack Obama, was criticized by congressional Republicans as being overzealous but was lauded by consumer advocates for aggressively going after banks for wrongdoing. Mulvaney earlier this month dissolved a group of outside experts that acts as a sounding board for the federal watchdog agency on important economic and financial issues as well as policy. The law that created the CFPB mandates that bureau officials meet with the advisory board at least twice a year. Bureau officials said the board would be reconstituted in the fall, likely with fewer than its current 25-person membership. None of the current members of the board, who typically serve three year terms, would be eligible to apply. Mulvaney has also given big pay raises to the deputies he has hired to help him run the bureau.
  • American Airlines has agreed to pay $45 million to settle a lawsuit that says it and other major U.S. airlines colluded to drive up the price of airfares. In settling the case, American denied any wrongdoing. The company, in a statement, said fighting the case in court would be costly. Earlier this year, Southwest Airlines also reached a settlement in the case, agreeing to pay $15 million. Southwest also denied any wrongdoing. The lawsuit alleges that major U.S. airlines colluded to limit capacity in order to increase ticket prices.
  • Perry Ellis International says its founder George Feldenkreis is buying shares of the clothing company that he and his family don't already own and taking it private. As a private company, Feldenkreis says Perry Ellis can invest more money in marketing and technology at a time when more people are shopping online. Feldenkreis will have a more active role in managing the company after the deal closes, which is expected to happen sometime in the second half of this year. Feldenkreis, through a newly created company, will pay $27.50 for each share of Perry Ellis, or about $437 million. Perry Ellis, which also owns the Original Penguin brand, will remain headquartered in Miami. Feldenkreis founded the company that would become Perry Ellis International more than 50 years ago.
  • New tariffs on imports from China may leave American companies with a choice — pay a higher freight bill now or pay the tariffs starting in three weeks. It can take several weeks for ship-borne cargo from China to reach the United States — too late to beat the July 6 deadline. That could lead to more demand in the short run for air-freight services. 'The only question is how much do you want to pay,' said Brandon Fried, executive director of the Airforwarders Association, 'and which is better — paying that or paying the increased tariff?' Shipping by air is several times more costly than ocean shipping and the gap grows the heavier the cargo. So far, however, some freight handlers are seeing little evidence of panic. 'We haven't seen a rush, nor have any of our customers indicated that we need to get ready' for last-minute orders, said Steen Christensen, North America CEO for German freight-arrangements provider Hellmann Worldwide Logistics. He said some of the commodities his customers buy from China won't fall under the tariffs. President Donald Trump announced Friday that starting next month the U.S. will impose a 25 percent tariff on up to $50 billion in Chinese imports. Trump targeted Chinese industrial and agricultural machinery, aerospace parts and communications technology. Most consumer goods from China such as smartphones and TVs were left off the list. Some freight industry observers think a rush to beat the tariff deadline is inevitable. 'There will be a surge in exports from China and from the U.S. as the date approaches,' said John Manners-Bell, CEO of U.K. research firm Transport Intelligence. 'We have certainly seen that in the past with these sorts of impositions of tariffs and quotas.' Manners-Bell expects 'significant' rate increases and a shift of some cargo from ships to air freight in coming weeks. Rates for container shipping rose last year as the industry tried to sail past a period of overcapacity and low freight rates. Rates for air freight have been rising in recent years as retailers meet growing demand from online shopping. Air freight is highly seasonal, with prices spiking in the fall as Christmas gifts are sent to stores and consumers. 'Fortunately we're not in the high season quite yet,' said Fried, the representative of freight forwarders — they are like travel agents for companies needing to make shipping arrangements. He said it is still possible to find space in the bellies of passenger and cargo planes flying over the Pacific. Some companies that source materials from China could eventually look for suppliers in other Asian countries with low labor costs including Vietnam, the Philippines and Bangladesh, but many will take a wait-and-see approach because it takes times to rewire supply chains, said Erik Lundh, an economist specializing in China for The Conference Board, a major business group. It isn't clear how long the tariffs will last, or whether the U.S. and China might settle their trade fight quickly. 'There is so much volatility around this issue that in three weeks' time this could all have been for nothing,' Lundh said. ___ David Koenig can be reached at http://twitter.com/airlinewriter