Afternoon Coffee: Provade Acquired by Smart ERP Solutions, Round 7 of NAFTA Talks Kicks Off

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VMS Provade announced Thursday it had been acquired by Smart ERP Solutions, the provider of the Smart Onboarding system, according to a press release. Smart ERP said the deal aligns with its growth in "providing cloud-based solutions and services for human capital management (HCM), services procurement and vendor management systems (VMS) on a common Oracle technology platform."

NAFTA Talks

The seventh round of talks to renegotiate NAFTA kicked off in Mexico City Sunday, although trade watchers are not convinced that the three countries will reach an agreement by the ambitious March 5 deadline. As Politico reports, the outcome of this round will likely hinge on whether U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will be willing to work with Canada's recent offers and others Mexico is expected to make.

Wool is Cool

A wool renaissance is pushing up prices for the fiber, as its increasing use in everything from sneakers to shirts and athletic clothing takes over the apparel market, according to the Wall Street Journal. Prices for the popular merino wool variety recently soared to $14 a kilogram, up 56% since 2016.

Trade Flows 

And finally, a trade update: global trade flows rose at their quickest rate since 2011, the Wall Street Journal reports, rising 4.5% above 2016 levels. That was still well below the rate of expansion during the pre-crisis years, however, a pace that few economists expect the global economy to return to.

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