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The US said it will ban all shipments of palm oil from one of the world’s biggest producers after finding indicators of forced labor and other abuses on plantations that feed into the supply chains of some of America’s most famous food and cosmetic companies. The order against Malaysian-owned Sime Darby Plantation Berhad and its local subsidiaries, joint ventures and affiliates followed an intensive months-long investigation by the US Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Trade, said Ana Hinojosa, one of the agency’s executive directors. Hinojosa said the investigation “reasonably indicates” abuses against workers that included physical and sexual violence, restriction of movement, intimidation and threats, debt bondage, withholding of wages and excessive overtime. Some of the problems appeared to be systemic, occurring on numerous plantations, which stretch across wide swaths of the country, she said. “Importers should know that there are reputational, financial and legal risks associated with importing goods made by forced labor into the United States,” Hinojosa said in a telephone press briefing. The order was announced just three months after the federal government slapped the same ban on another Malaysian palm oil giant, FGV Holdings Berhad — the first palm oil company ever targeted by Customs
Visa is calling off its marriage with fintech startup Plaid rather than fight the Justice Department’s claims that the tie-up would limit competition in the debit-card market. The two companies announced after the closing bell on Tuesday that they are terminating their planned $5.3 billion union after coming to the conclusion that it would require prolonged litigation with DoJ, which sued to block the deal in November on antitrust grounds. “We believe the combination of Visa with Plaid would have delivered significant benefits,” Visa chief Al Kelly said in a statement. “However, it has been a full year since we first announced our intent to acquire Plaid, and protracted and complex litigation will likely take substantial time to fully resolve.” Visa announced its acquisition in Jan. 2020, but the deal was held up by the DoJ review. “While Plaid and Visa would have been a great combination, we have decided to instead work with Visa as an investor and partner so we can fully focus on building the infrastructure to support fintech,” Plaid co-founder and CEO Zach Perret said in a statement. News of the the merger’s death sent Twitter afire with speculation that Plaid could become an acquisition
Tesla shares jumped as much as 5.6 percent Friday, pushing the electric-car maker’s market capitalization to more than $800 billion for the first time and inching closer to the trillion-dollar club. Tesla’s stratospheric rally has helped Chief Executive Elon Musk surpass Amazon boss Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest man, The Post reported Thursday. At today’s session high, Musk’s 21 percent stake in the automaker as per Forbes contributes more than $170 billion to his net worth, dwarfing the combined market capitalization of General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, the three Detroit automakers. In the previous session, Tesla’s market value crossed $774 billion, making it Wall Street’s fifth most valuable company, just behind Google-parent Alphabet Inc and ahead of social media giant Facebook. The company’s fortunes are an anomaly as the 17-year-old automaker has production that is just a fraction of large rivals by sales such as Toyota, Volkswagen and General Motors.