Afternoon Coffee: U.S. to hit EU goods with $7.5B in tariffs; Uber Works launches in Chicago; Upcoming webinar targets direct procurement challenges

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The World Trade Organization has green-lighted the U.S. request to levy tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of imports from the European Union, including on single malt Scotch whisky. The new duty is part of several measures being imposed by the U.S. in retaliation against EU subsidies given to aircraft maker Airbus, reports the BBC.

The tariffs target products from four EU countries including Spanish olives, British sweaters and woolens, as well as French wine.

GEP, Spend Matters to present webinar tackling direct procurement challenges

Direct procurement processes can feel monolithic and outdated, but technology can kickstart an organization’s digital transformation. Experts from Spend Matters and GEP are presenting a free webinar on the topic next week, Thursday Oct. 10, which will cover the potential impacts, individually and collectively, of new and emerging technologies; the new capabilities being created by AI, machine learning, robotics and automation; and how a digitally transformed direct procurement function will work differently with other enterprise functions, according to the registration page.

Uber Works now officially working, starting in Chicago

Remember when we noted a year ago that the Financial Times reported Uber was testing an on-demand shift-staffing app? Well, now Uber has officially launched it in Chicago, with the goal of linking shift workers up with shifts, working in partnerships with staffing agencies, reports TechCrunch. For further insight on the launch from the Spend Matters team, read more here.

Clean energy procurement startup expands to Europe

Seattle-based renewable energy trading startup LevelTen has expanded its U.S. operation to Europe in order to enable the corporate procurement of over $1 billion worth of clean energy, according to PV Magazine. The business uses its online platform ‘Marketplace’ to connect renewable energy producers and corporate customers of all sizes. The startup said it can already offer clean energy generated at projects in Ireland, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and the U.K.

Brazil's new maximum-prices chart for all Microsoft products

With the aim to standardize IT product prices, the Brazilian economy ministry has released a catalog with the maximum prices that may be paid by federal bodies for buying Microsoft products. The move will generate savings of about 35% for the government. The U.S. software group is the government’s top IT provider. By year-end, other firms such as Oracle, IBM, VMware and Red Hat will also be required to negotiate agreements with the government, and each will have a product catalog outlining maximum prices, the ministry said.

Truckers plan slow roll demonstration against proposed laws

Irate truckers across the U.S. will hold a slow roll protest against three proposed laws that will negatively affect them. Truckers will drive at the minimum speed limit on interstates to make their point. Organizers say the proposed laws would increase insurance, change the speed limit for truckers and take away jobs by investing in autonomous trucks.

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