Afternoon Coffee: NAFTA Talks Show Small Signs of Progress, Suplari Raises $10.3 Million in Series A

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Negotiators met in Washington, D.C., last week to discuss an “agreement in principle” for a new version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a step that would lock in the main tenets of a new deal, if not the fine print. As Supply Chain Dive reports, the news is a small but potentially positive step in the negotiation process, signaling that trade ministers had entered the “intensive” phase of engagement that will eventually produce NAFTA 2.0.

Suplari Funding

Suplari, an analytics platform that emphasizes the use of artificial intelligence in its offering, announced Thursday it had raised $10.3 million in a Series A funding round led by Shasta Ventures, according to a press release. Suplari’s platform “enables procurement and finance teams to find hidden cost savings and unidentified supplier risk by analyzing millions of enterprise data points and interactions across disparate enterprise systems including contracts, purchasing, product usage, accounts payable, travel and expense, and corporate card accounts.”

Coal Disruption

Disruptions to Australia’s coal industry may ultimately boost the fortunes of America coal exporters, the Wall Street Journal reports. A recent cyclone and a government dispute with rail operator Aurizon Holdings have stopped a decline in seaborne coal prices, as well as created a lucrative opportunity for America producers to fill the gap.

California Exports 

And finally, a trade update. With dark clouds gathering over international trade, California reported a surge in exports in February. Golden State businesses shipped merchandise valued at $14.62 billion to foreign nations, the Sacramento Bee reports, up nearly 9% from $13.46 billion in February 2017.

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