Afternoon Coffee: White House Announces Another $16 Billion of China Tariffs, Voice-Activated Buying Remains Unpopular with Consumers


The U.S. will impose tariffs on another $16 billion of Chinese imports starting Thursday Aug. 23, The Wall Street Journal reports. The new tariffs, which were widely expected, tax 279 products, mainly chemicals and electronic parts. China has already announced plans to retaliate on an equivalent amount of U.S. goods.

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China Trade

Meanwhile, China’s exports unexpectedly grew in July, rising 12.2% from a year earlier, Reuters reports. Despite the escalating trade war between China and the U.S., the trade gap between the two countries fell only slightly to $28.09 billion last month from a record $28.97 billion in June.

Voice Buying 

Voice-activated assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa-powered devices, may be popular tools for music playing and information retrieval, but no company has yet cracked the code of getting consumers to consistently buy things with these devices, according to TechCrunch. Of about 50 million Alexa users, only about 100,000 reportedly bought something via voice interface more than once, according to data published by The Information.

Brexit Sandwiches

And finally, a Brexit update. The departure of the U.K. from the European Union could threaten one of the island nation’s most treasured creations: the sandwich. As Quartz writes, the interior of the common British sandwich relies on a complex supply chain of European imports. Most of the U.K.’s ham actually comes from Germany and Denmark, and 82% of cheese imports come from neighboring Ireland.

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