Afternoon Coffee: Tariffs, uncertainty remain after U.S.-China trade deal; 6 AP automation firms merge into 1; federal supply chain plan decried

After the United States and China signed the phase one of their trade deal yesterday, businesses are trying to figure out what the tariffs and terms mean for their supply chains.

Supply Chain Management Review talks with industry experts that say this deal is a sign that things aren’t getting worse, at least. And the Review reports that the office of the United States Trade Representative has announced that the U.S. will be maintaining 25% tariffs on approximately $250 billion of Chinese imports, coupled with 7.5% tariffs on approximately $120 billion worth of Chinese imports, down from an original levy of 15%.

Supply Chain Dive breaks down the $200 billion more in exports to China that is expected to flow over the next couple of years. And the Dive has reaction from several industry and businesspeople. "The trade war won’t be over until all of these tariffs are gone," National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. "We are glad to see the phase one deal signed, and resolution of phase two can’t come soon enough."

6 firms merge into 1 AP automation company

Six expense and AP automation companies have decided to combine their efforts and create one company, Emburse, naming industry veteran Eric Friedrichsen as chief executive officer, according to a press release.

Emburse brings together Abacus, Captio, Certify, Chrome River, Nexonia and Tallie, which offer specific solutions for organizations of all sizez. The company has 750 employees around the world, serving more than 4.5 million users at 14,000 customers in 120 countries, the release said.

“We are so much stronger as one company,” Friedrichsen said of Emburse in the press release. “With significant scale and disruptive technology, we’re redefining how organizations view travel and expense management and AP automation. We will continue to actively support and will increase our rate of innovation on each of our six core expense solutions, which are uniquely tailored for specific industries, company sizes and geographies. Coming together, we are now also able to share key technologies — such as real-time expenses, sophisticated data capture and extraction, and deep integrations with corporate cards — across the different solutions.”

Business groups push back on U.S. Commerce Department supply-chain security proposal

Businesses and other groups oppose a Trump administration plan that they allege will give the Commerce Department new powers to block any international transaction on national security grounds, The Washington Examiner reports. As part of this pushback, the National Taxpayers Union and 20 other taxpayer and business groups have demanded the rule be withdrawn.

"There’s no due process. (Commerce Secretary) Wilbur Ross can terminate a transaction with a snap of his fingers, even retroactively, with this proposal," said Brandon Arnold, the executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union, an advocacy group.

Expert committee says FAA should mandate safety management systems for Boeing, others

An expert panel on Thursday has said the Federal Aviation Administration’s require Boeing Co and other aircraft manufacturers to adopt new safety management tools in the wake of two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes. It also did not support the long-standing practice of delegating some certification tasks to aircraft manufacturers, Reuters said.

The expert panel, led by a retired Air Force general and a former head of the Air Lines Pilot Association, also called for improvements in how the Federal Aviation Administration certifies new planes.

Aramark announces programs for third-party diversity certifications

Well-known food service provider Aramark announced a tie-up with Certify My Company to assist self-classified suppliers in getting third-party diversity certifications. The partnership furthers Aramark’s commitment to increase overall spend with small and diverse suppliers to 25% by 2025. Aramark’s supply chain includes more than 6,000 small or diverse suppliers.

For ‘50/50’ in 2020, update your Almanac listing

Be sure to add or update your company profile at Spend Matters Almanac by Feb. 7 to be considered for our 2020 “50 Providers to Know” and “50 Providers to Watch” lists.

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