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No End In Sight For Trump’s Trade War

Catch up with this week’s Five on Friday!

Jamie O’Donoghue
Jul 5, 2019 · 5 min read
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U.S. President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China agreed to resume trade talks last Saturday at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

Meeting privately during the summit, Trump and Xi said they would return to the negotiation table after a seven-week breakdown in trade talks that had threatened to exacerbate the ongoing trade war between the world’s two largest economies. After the meeting, both leaders said that they did not intend to levy any new tariffs against each other’s products for the foreseeable future. While the markets responded positively to the news, many commentators were quick to point out that similar proposals had been made in the past with little actual progress, notably at last year’s summit in Buenos Aires. Additionally, it was revealed on Wednesday that the U.S. trade deficit with China has actually jumped in recent months, representing something of a blow to the Trump administration, which is fighting for exactly the opposite outcome. After more than a year, it doesn’t look like any side is decisively winning this war.

The U.S. has had many trade disputes with foreign countries, including a so-called ‘Pasta War’ with Europe under the Reagan administration.


Coca-Cola won approval this week to start selling its energy drink globally, despite objections from rival Monster Beverage.

According to the ruling from an arbitration tribunal on Monday, the iconic drinks producer can continue to sell and distribute Coca-Cola Energy in markets where it has already been launched and is now free to launch the product in new markets globally. Featuring naturally-derived caffeine and guarana extracts, the drink was first launched in Spain and Hungary in April. A halt had been put on the widespread sale of Coca-Cola Energy thanks to a 2015 deal the company had struck with Monster Beverage. Monster said Coca-Cola’s new drink would put them into direct competition with each other and therefore violate the terms of the agreement. Despite the ill-feeling, Coca-Cola said it would continue its partnership with Monster, in which it holds a stake of nearly 19%.

Due to trade embargos, there is currently only one country on earth where you can’t sell or purchase a can of Coke — North Korea.


The co-CEO of Canopy Growth — the world’s largest publicly traded cannabis company by market value — was apparently fired by his board this week.

On Wednesday, Canopy announced that founder Bruce Linton would “step down” as co-CEO and board member. However, in an interview conducted later that day, Linton said that “stepping down might not be the right phrase” and that he had, in fact, been “terminated”. Canopy Growth is one of the biggest names in the North American cannabis industry and in November of last year, beer-maker Constellation Brands took a 38% stake in the company with a $4 billion investment. When Canopy reported its fourth-quarter earnings a few weeks ago, a wider-than-expected loss took a big chunk out of Constellation’s own earnings, prompting CEO William Newlands to say that he was “not pleased.” As a result, it looks as though Constellation Brands is keen to place management with a little more experience at the helm of their big investment.

Canopy Growth boasts arguably the coolest ticker symbol a North American stock exchange — WEED.


Facebook’s crypto ambitions took a blow this week when the United States Congress asked the social network to halt development on its recently-announced Libra project until lawmakers have conducted a proper investigation into its potential consequences.

In a letter, the House of Representatives’ Committee on Financial Services warned Facebook’s top executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, that the new products might “lend themselves to an entirely new global financial system” that had the potential to rival the US dollar. “The scant information provided about the intent, roles, potential use, and security of the Libra and Calibra exposes the massive scale of the risks and the lack of clear regulatory protections,” the letter adds. Last month, Facebook unveiled key details about the project, which would be co-managed with the Libra Association, a collective of 28 companies including payment rivals such as Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal. The announcement was met with interest by much of the social network’s community, but now it seems the inevitable backlash is getting started.

Facebook’s iconic blue-dominated color scheme was developed because Mark Zuckerberg suffers from red-green color blindness.


Surprise, surprise: Nike has once again stirred the pot of American politics. On Monday the company announced that all of the company’s Air Max 1 Quick Strike sneakers would be recalled after controversial brand ambassador Colin Kaepernick took issue with their design. As it turned out, the supposedly all-American flags that adorned the shoes were associated with certain hate groups. When Kaepernick, famous for refusing to kneel during the national anthem, was featured prominently in an ad campaign last year, social media platforms immediately lit up with threats of boycott as well as images of irate customers burning their Nike gear in protest. In spite of the uproar, or perhaps because of it, sales skyrocketed for the apparel giant. This time around, a company spokesperson was quick to say that Nike’s decision to recall the offending sneakers was “based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday”.

If last year’s furor was anything to go by, it seems Nike has truly managed to turn political malaise into a marketing strategy.

Nike’s world-famous ‘swoosh’ logo was designed in 1971 for just $35 by a graphic design student at Portland State University (though she later received $1 million worth of shares as proper compensation).

minutes is how long it took for Taco Bell’s new ‘Tacoasis’ hotel to sell out after its reservation page went live.

is how much Elon Musk’s SpaceX raised this week following an investment from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

in Berkshire Hathaway shares is how much Warren Buffett has pledged to donate to charity this year.

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