Afternoon Coffee: E.U. Makes Last Pitch for Steel Tariff Exemptions, IBM Introduces Blockchain for Diamonds

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While other U.S. trading partners have secured longer-term exemptions from President Trump’s Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs, the E.U. is still lobbying to resolve the conflict, the Wall Street Journal reports. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is traveling to Washington Friday to make her final case for the bloc, which faces expiring temporary exemptions for the new tariffs on Monday night.

IBM Tackles Diamonds

IBM is increasingly doubling down on blockchain, and its latest test case is a perfect example of a supply chain that needs more transparency: diamonds. As TechCrunch writes, Big Blue unveiled Thursday its TrustChain offering, which “proves the provenance of jewelry by following the supply chain from mine to store.”

Cocoa Sustainability

Cocoa and chocolate companies have made well-intentioned commitments to improve the sustainability of their supply chains over the last 10 years, but many of these efforts have had little impact, Supply Chain Dive reports. Persistently high levels of child labor and low farmer incomes continue to plague the industry, one study found.

U.S. GDP

And finally, an economic update: The U.S. economy expanded at a slower pace in the first quarter, according to CNBC, as consumer spending pulled back to its weakest pace in nearly five years. GDP increased at a 2.3% annual rate in the first three months of the year, compared with 2.9% in the fourth quarter.

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