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Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, which makes, bottles and distributes Coca-Cola products to 14 states in the Mid-South, plans to expand its West Memphis production facility and transfer about 60 jobs to it, the company said Wednesday.

The 60 additional jobs will nearly double its current workforce.

The firm's separate Memphis transportation and logistics facility, and its 300 workers, will remain in place, according to company officials.

"When an iconic American company like Coca-Cola continues to invest in Arkansas, we know we're doing things right," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a news release.

The company will invest $33 million into the 200,000-square-foot expansion.

"This expansion is welcome news for our partners in West Memphis and Crittenden County, the crossroads for the U.S. transportation industry," said Mike Preston, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission's executive director. "We look forward to working with Coca-Cola to finalize the details for more jobs and millions of dollars of investment."

-- David Smith

Walmart to upgrade 5 state supercenters

Walmart Inc. will remodel five Arkansas supercenters this year as part of a $31.3 million upgrade in technology and stores statewide, the retailer said Wednesday in a news release.

The stores scheduled for remodeling are at 230 Market St., Clarksville; 1500 Ark. 25B, Heber Springs; 1601 Albert Pike Road, Hot Springs; 60 U.S. 79, Magnolia; and 1621 N. Business 9, Morrilton.

The Bentonville retailer also is adding its popular grocery pickup service to at least 30 stores statewide, and it will build 11 of its 16-foot-tall, kiosk-like pickup towers. Nineteen stores will get the robotic floor scrubbers the company has been testing, and seven will get robotic shelf scanners.

In addition, eight stores will receive the the automated delivery truck unloaders, called FAST Unloaders. These conveyor systems reduce the time needed to move merchandise from trucks to store shelves.

Earlier this week, Walmart said it was expanding these retail innovations to stores nationwide. The retailer has tested them in select markets over the past year, according to a news release.

-- Serenah McKay

U.S., China plan deal-enforcement steps

The U.S. and China have agreed to open "enforcement offices" as a way to make sure each side lives up to the terms of a trade deal still under negotiation, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Wednesday.

"We've pretty much agreed on an enforcement mechanism," Mnuchin said on CNBC. "We've agreed that both sides will establish enforcement offices that will deal with the ongoing matters. So this is something that both sides are taking very seriously."

President Donald Trump has said the two sides are nearing a trade deal after recent high-level meetings in Beijing and Washington. Officials are discussing text of an agreement that would cover technology transfers, intellectual property protections, nontariff measures, services, agriculture, trade balance and enforcement, according to China's state-run Xinhua.

Drafts of the broader trade agreement now under discussion would give Beijing until 2025 to meet commitments such as allowing American companies to wholly own enterprises in China, people familiar with the talks said earlier. Those would be binding pledges that could trigger U.S. retaliation if unfulfilled, the people said.

-- Bloomberg News

Executive orders favor energy projects

President Donald Trump has signed two executive orders that he said will accelerate the approval of energy infrastructure projects in the U.S.

Trump signed the orders Wednesday before applauding union workers at a training facility in Crosby, Texas. Trump is ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to issue new guidance that states will have to follow to comply with the federal Clean Water Act.

One directive could make it harder for states to scuttle pipelines and other energy projects over concerns about the effect on water quality. A second executive order will streamline the process for infrastructure projects that cross international borders. The move follows Trump's decision to issue a new permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Pointing to Washington state and New York, Republican lawmakers have complained about states using the permitting process to stop energy projects.

-- The Associated Press

Trump, legislators split on cars' tax credit

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump has proposed ending tax credits to encourage the purchase of electric cars, but a bipartisan group in Congress moved Wednesday to stop him.

U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, both D-Mich., as well as Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., instead proposed legislation that would expand the credits.

Under the current regulations, a consumer purchasing an eligible electric-powered vehicle can receive a tax credit of up to $7,500. The Trump administration has said getting rid of that credit could allow the U.S. Treasury Department to take in another $2.5 billion.

Eliminating or changing the credits, however, would take an act of Congress, and the program has enjoyed bipartisan support in the past. Lawmakers' current proposal would expand the credit rather than eliminate it, raising the limit at which it currently begins to phase out.

Current law says that once an auto manufacturer sells 200,000 vehicles, the credit begins to phase out entirely over the next calendar year.

-- Tribune News Service

House passes Net neutrality legislation

WASHINGTON -- The House passed legislation Wednesday that would guarantee broadband Internet users equal access to online content, in a step toward reviving so-called Net neutrality regulations overturned at the start of President Donald Trump's administration.

In a 232-190 vote, divided along party lines, the Democratic majority made good on a promise that became a rallying cry in many liberal circles during the 2018 election.

But the legislation, called the Save the Internet Act, faces long odds in the Republican-led Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said this week that the legislation would be "dead on arrival."

The legislation prohibits blocking and throttling Web traffic and categorizes broadband as a service open to heavy regulation.

-- The New York Times

Business on 04/11/2019

Print Headline: Coca-Cola distributor in Arkansas plans $33M expansion; Walmart to upgrade 5 state supercenters


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Archived Comments

  • sjmays
    April 11, 2019 at 10:12 a.m.

    For someone who thought executive orders were wrong when President Obama did them, Trump has certainly had a change of heart. I think he is right, we should not have too much concern for the quality of our drinking water. It might interfere with our economy. Money is more important.

  • GeneralMac
    April 11, 2019 at 10:27 a.m.

    SJMAYS....would you rather have tanker trucks or pipelines?

    Pipelines have proven to be much safer than taker trucks clogging the freeways.