Financial Daily Dose 9.16.2020 | Top Story: WTO Finds U.S.’s 2018 Tariffs on China Broke Trade Rules

Robins Kaplan LLP

Robins Kaplan LLP

A World Trade Organization panel on Tuesday declared that the U.S.’s 2018 tariffs on China “violated international trade rules,” siding with China and its allegations that the White House’s trade war broke, among other things, a “provision that requires all W.T.O. members to offer equal tariff rates among the body’s trading partners” – NYTimes and WSJ and Law360

And while we’re talking tariffs and trade, the U.S. decided this week to remove the 10% aluminum levy it put on Canada last month after threats of “retaliatory duties” from the North – Bloomberg and Law360

The DOJ has joined the SEC’s fun in probing Nikola over claims that it misled investors by “making exaggerated claims about its technology” – WSJ and Bloomberg

Meanwhile, the FTC is reportedly nearing a decision on filing an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook. The Commission, which has been investigating for the better part of a year whether Zuck & Co. have “harmed competition,” could launch its suit by the end of 2020 – Bloomberg and WSJ

With the soft numbers for Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” coming in, the major movie theater chains—officially back open in nearly 70% of the U.S.—and Hollywood studios are rethinking plans to debut new releases, prompting some analysts to “re-sound alarm bells about the future of the theater business” – NYTimes

They’re far from alone in their pandemic-induced economic worries. Hotel owners—many of whom “spent years loading up on CMBS,” the cheap type of debt in which they must make “regular payments to the bondholders who own the debt”—are in serious trouble as occupancy rates have fallen dramatically, and they’re furiously lobbying the White House (and hoping to call in favors) for a federal bailout package – NYTimes

Here’s hoping that, if they get it, it’ll work better than the Fed’s Main Street Lending Program, which has largely flopped (less than .2% of the allocated $600 billion has been taken-up) thanks to the nation’s banks deciding to either forgo participation altogether or demanding “such crushing terms that discussions have stalled from the get-go” – Bloomberg

The FOMC wraps up its September meetings today. There is A LOT on the agenda. Here’s some of what the Governors are kicking around – NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

All the latest from Apple’s big fall event, including a new fitness service and editions of its Watch and iPad  – WSJ and MarketWatch and Mashable

KraftHeinz is cutting its U.S. natural-cheese business (and a handful of other cheese brands) as part of a $3.2 billion deal with France’s Groupe Lactalis SA – WSJ

A new settlement involving the CFPB and 47 state attorneys general means that “tens of thousands of former students at ITT Technical Institute, a for-profit chain that collapsed four years ago, will not have to repay $330 million in private student loans that prosecutors called ‘reckless’ and deceptive” – NYTimes

Carlos Ghosn is, famously, absent, but his legacy at Nissan is still firmly in the hot seat at the trial of Ghosn’s former top aide, Greg Kelly, in Tokyo this week – WSJ

The latest on Judy Shelton’s nomination to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors: according to a GOP Senator, don’t bank on it – Bloomberg

Federal prosecutors have indicted a Chicago-area rabbi on charges that he ran a Ponzi scheme that led to the $146 million default of a nursing home chain—the “biggest default in the history of a federal mortgage-guarantee program” – NYTimes

Hey cool kids—don’t overthink this.  Just listen to Paul Rudd – YouTube

Stay safe.

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Robins Kaplan LLP

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