Trump seeking allies on China

The Trump administration is pressing countries to ally with the United States in pushing back against Chinese trade policies in exchange for relief from American tariffs on steel and aluminum, according to a European official. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has been leading negotiations under which countries may be excluded from the tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum. American trading partners and US companies are pressing for exemptions and exclusions from the tariffs, which take effect on Friday. In talks with the United States, Lighthizer has laid out five conditions that countries must address before being excluded, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The information was also contained in an internal European Commission document seen by Bloomberg. A second non-US official confirmed the broad outlines of the five conditions. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Rhode Island enrollment on upswing

Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange saw a nearly 5 percent increase in enrollment this year. HealthSource RI said Monday that 30,637 people enrolled and paid for 2018 coverage, up from 29,224 last year. More than 8,000 of those customers were new to the exchange, and 35 percent of those were ages 18 to 34, the age range that includes typically healthier people who use fewer medical services. HealthSource RI director Zachary Sherman said that helps the stability of the market. The marketplace adopted higher rates this year because the Trump administration ended cost-sharing subsidies to insurers. But it says the increase will be offset by tax credits for many customers after the exchange and state insurance officials took steps to increase financial assistance for Rhode Islanders by 46 percent. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Apple toying with own displays

Apple Inc. is designing and producing its own device displays for the first time, using a secret manufacturing facility near its California headquarters to make small numbers of the screens for testing purposes, according to people familiar with the situation. The technology giant is making a significant investment in the development of next-generation MicroLED screens, which use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and promise to make future gadgets slimmer, brighter, and less power-hungry. The screens are far more difficult to produce, and Apple almost killed the project a year or so ago, the people said. Engineers have since been making progress, though consumers will probably have to wait a few years before seeing the results. Its move into displays has the long-term potential to hurt a range of suppliers, from screen makers like Samsung Electronics Co., Japan Display Inc., Sharp Corp., and LG Display Co. to companies like Synaptics Inc. that produce chip-screen interfaces. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Trump bans US use of Venezuelan cryptocurrency

The Trump administration Monday banned all use by Americans of Venezuelan cryptocurrency, saying that its introduction is intended to skirt US sanctions. The move follows the introduction last month of a Venezuelan cryptocurrency known as the ‘‘petro,’’ for which the government says it has received investment commitments of $5 billion. In an executive order, Trump said it was an ‘‘attempt to circumvent US sanctions’’ imposed for democratic backsliding. Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro last year said he was creating the digital currency to outmaneuver US sanctions. In February, cash-strapped Venezuela became the first country to launch its own version of bitcoin, the petro, and backed it with the country’s crude oil reserves, the largest in the world. The socialist country is deep into an economic crisis marked by soaring inflation and food shortages. The government has promised that Venezuelans will be able to use the $60 coins to pay taxes and for public services. But with the minimum wage hovering around $3 a month, it’s unlikely citizens will buy in large amounts. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Former students say data used to limit loan relief

A group of former students defrauded by for-profit colleges is claiming in court that the Education Department illegally obtained and used their Social Security data to limit their student loan relief. The Education Department announced in December that it will start granting some former students at the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges only partial federal student loan forgiveness, in part to save taxpayers money. The agency said it will use students’ earnings data to determine how much of their loans to forgive. Some students have already received notice from the department that they will see 50 percent or less of their loan wiped out, the Associated Press reported last week. But a motion filed by several former Corinthian students over the weekend claims that the agency had obtained the figures from the Social Security Administration in violation of several laws as well as the Constitution. Attorneys with the Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard University representing the students say the agency should have turned to the students for their data as well as notified them of its actions in order to give them a chance to react. The department ‘‘has secretly and illegally coopted Social Security data to try to argue for something less than the complete cancellation and refund that these borrowers are due,’’ said attorney Joshua Rovenger. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Canadian rules call for health warnings

Canada’s legalized marijuana must be sold with plain packaging and health warnings, while smaller producers face strict limits on crop sizes, according to draft rules released in advance of legalization. Among other proposals, marijuana packages can only display one “brand element” beyond the product’s name, and symbols can’t be larger than a government warning that’s shaped like a stop sign. The federal government said it plans to license “micro” growers if they restrict their crop area to 200 square meters, or about 2,150 square feet. Canada’s Parliament must still give final approval to a legalization bill, with the market expected to open sometime this summer. The labeling rules also called for health warnings on a bright yellow background with accompanying text such as “Do not use if pregnant or breastfeeding,” pushing the rules more toward those governing the sale of tobacco. Some companies had asked for more relaxed rules, similar to those for beer and wine. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


New concerns about car air bags

Safety regulators in the United States are investigating air bags in certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles that failed to deploy in frontal collisions linked to four deaths and six injuries. As many as 425,000 automobiles made by the South Korean manufacturers may be affected, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is investigating whether vehicles made by other carmakers also may be at risk. The six crashes involved 2011 model year Hyundai Sonatas as well as 2012 and 2013 Kia Fortes, according to federal officials. The 2013 Forte crash occurred in Canada. Hyundai on Feb. 27 recalled almost 155,000 Sonatas after determining that an electrical overstress failed to inflate the air bags during collisions. Hyundai is looking into a supplier for a possible cause for the electrical problem. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Jobless rate unchanged

The nation’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in February, but there was one bright spot many economists weren’t expecting: an influx of retail jobs. In all, retailers added 50,300 jobs in February — four times the number from the month before. One reason for the gains, economists said: Americans are increasingly renovating their homes instead of buying new ones, helping create thousands of retail jobs at companies like Home Depot and Lowe’s. ‘‘This is a housing repair and remodeling story — and not just because of the recent hurricanes and fires,’’ said Diane Swonk, chief economist at professional-services firm Grant Thornton. ‘‘In many cases, people are realizing it’s cheaper and easier to add on to their homes than to buy new ones.’’ Low housing supply and high costs, particularly in larger cities, are prompting prospective buyers to think twice before buying a house, Swonk said. Other factors, such as rising interest rates and changes to mortgage-related tax credits, are also contributing to their decisions. — WASHINGTON POST