Afternoon Coffee: Maersk and IBM Partner on Blockchain Venture, Ferrero Buys Nestle’s US Candy Business

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Maersk and IBM announced Tuesday that the companies had formed a joint venture to “create a more efficient and secure platform for organizing global trade using blockchain technology,” according to the Wall Street Journal. The motivation behind Maersk’s move is to reduce the time and cost needed to process required trade documentation, which is estimated to soon reach one-fifth of the actual physical transportation costs.

Sweet Acquisition

Italian confectioner Ferroro has acquired Nestle’s US candy business for $2.8 billion in cash, CBS News reports. Ferrero will take control of more than 20 Nestle brands including Butterfinger, BabyRuth, 100Grand, Raisinets and Wonka.

Wine Spat 

Australia has filed a complaint against Canada at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the sale of wine in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia, according to the Globe and Mail. The filing alleges that several measures “appear to discriminate” against imported wine.

Beige Book

And finally, an economic update: The US economy and inflation expanded at a modest-to-moderate pace from late November through the end of 2017 and wages pushed higher, CNBC reports, as the Fed’s Beige Book details.

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