Critics of trade talks warn of reckless deregulation

Trade negotiations that began Monday between the United States and the European Union could lead to drastically weakened health, safety and financial protections, a coalition of public interest groups from both sides of the Atlantic warned.

With tariffs between the world’s two largest trading partners already low — roughly 3 percent, on average — the talks are likely to focus on regulatory barriers as negotiators look to boost the economy via a new Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA).


Agencies increase contracts to small businesses, fall short of goal

The federal government contracted out to small businesses more in fiscal 2012 than the previous year, but for the seventh year in a row still fell short of its goal.

A Small Business Administration (SBA) review of contracting last year found that 22.25 percent of federal contract money went to small businesses, compared to 21.65 percent in 2011.

That is just shy of 23 percent, though — the goal that agencies had set for contracts with small businesses.


Fiorina: Regulations ‘choking the entrepreneurial life’ out of economy

The economy is underperforming because a thicket of regulations is killing small companies and discouraging start-ups, former Hewlett-Packard CEO and Senate candidate Carly Fiorina said Monday.

During remarks at the National Press Club, Fiorina pointed to federal statistics showing that more small firms are failing and fewer are starting up than any point in the last 40 years.

The proliferation of new rules drafted at federal agencies is a key factor, Fiorina said.

“Our regulatory environment has become so complex,” Fiorina said, describing it as a, “geologic sediment of complexity.”


Senate panel to probe Smithfield Foods purchase

A Senate committee will hold a hearing to examine the purchase of Smithfield Foods by the Chinese meat company Shuanghui International.

On July 10, the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee will review the $4.7 billion sale, the largest-ever acquisition of an American company by a Chinese firm. The panel will also look at food safety and intellectual property ramifications of foreign purchases of American companies more broadly.


Airline hit with $750K fine for bumping passengers on oversold flights

The Transportation Department on Wednesday penalized Delta Air Lines to the tune of $750,000 for violating federal regulations designed to protect and compensate passengers who are denied boarding on oversold flights against their will.

The airline also was issued a cease and desist order directing them to halt the improper actions, the agency said.


Appeals court allows loan guarantees for Indian airline

A federal appeals court is allowing loan guarantees to help an Indian airline purchase Boeing airplanes, but making the federal agency that issued the loans explain how they will impact Americans.

The Export-Import Bank needs to further explain how its $3.4 billion in financing for Air India will affect U.S. industries and workers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled on Tuesday.