The daily business briefing: September 18, 2018

Harold Maass
A SpaceX rocket on a launch pad in Florida
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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Trump hits China with new tariffs on $200 billion in imports

President Trump on Monday hit China with 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion more in Chinese imports, escalating his trade war with the world's second largest economy. The new tariffs take effect next Monday and are scheduled to rise to 25 percent in the new year. Beijing has vowed to retaliate, and Trump said he would step up pressure on China if it does. "If China takes retaliatory action against our farmers or other industries, we will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267 billion of additional imports," Trump said in a statement. U.S. officials said last week they had invited China to hold a new round of talks aimed at easing tensions, but David Loevinger, a managing director at TCW Emerging Markets Group, said, "It looks like both sides are digging in." [Los Angeles Times, Business Insider]


SpaceX says a Japanese billionaire will be its first moon passenger

SpaceX announced Monday that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa would be the first private passenger to take a trip around the moon. Maezawa, the 42-year-old founder and chief executive of online fashion retailer Zozo, will travel into space aboard the company's 387-foot BFR rocket, still in development. Maezawa is an art lover known for paying $110.5 million for a painting by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat at auction. He said he plans to take a group of artists on his week-long lunar loop, and see what art their trip inspires. The trip is expected to take place in 2023, more than 50 years after the last Apollo mission. Maezawa said he "couldn't pass up this opportunity to see the moon up close," because it has always "filled my imagination." [The Associated Press, Bloomberg]


Some Apple products excluded from Trump's latest China tariffs

Apple's smart watch, wireless headphones, and smart speaker were not included on a list of Chinese imports affected by President Trump's latest tariffs. Other Apple products such as the MacMini will be among the goods covered by the tax. Apple shares briefly bounced back partially from heavy losses before losing more ground and closing 2.7 percent lower. Apple warned earlier this month that the tariffs would raise prices for consumers, and it sent a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative requesting that the Trump administration reconsider the tariffs. Shares of wearable fitness tracker Fitbit also bounced back from session lows following the report. [CNBC]


Coca-Cola considers cannabis-infused drinks

The Coca-Cola Co. is working with a cannabis producer to explore developing beverages infused with cannabidiol, or CBD, BNN Bloomberg reported Monday. CBD is the non-psychoactive chemical in marijuana, and the soda company is reportedly in "serious talks" with Aurora Cannabis to explore CBD-infused drinks intended to ease inflammation, pain, and cramping. A Coca-Cola spokesperson said that "no decisions have been made at this time," but added that the company is "closely watching the growth" of the CBD industry. Bloomberg notes that a CBD Coca-Cola drink would be a "groundbreaking move" that would boost the already-booming CBD market, which is currently on track to grow to $2.1 billion over the next two years. [BNN Bloomberg]


Audi unveils electric SUV

German luxury car brand Audi on Monday unveiled its plans for a new electric sport utility vehicle that could rival vehicles made by Tesla. Audi plans to start selling its e-tron midsize SUV in the U.S. next year. The vehicle's starting price will be $75,795 before a $7,500 tax credit. Audi also is partnering with online retail giant Amazon to sell and install home charging stations to e-tron buyers. "I want Audi to be the number-one electric vehicle seller in America over the long term," Audi of America President Scott Keogh told Reuters. The e-tron is the latest in a flurry of electric vehicle offerings from VW brands. Other companies, including BMW, Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover, and Daimler-owned Mercedes Benz, also have electric vehicles coming. [Reuters]