News Archive


China says carefully monitoring U.S. policies on inbound investments

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s commerce ministry said on Thursday it would carefully monitor U.S. policies on inbound investments, stressing that the country opposes using national security as grounds to restrict foreign investments.

FILE PHOTO: Containers are seen at the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai, China April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he will use a strengthened national security review process to thwart Chinese acquisitions of sensitive American technologies, a softer approach than imposing China-specific investment restrictions.

The U.S. Treasury Department has recommended that Trump use the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), whose authority would be enhanced by new legislation in Congress, to control investment deals. The legislation expands the scope of transactions reviewed by the interagency panel to address security concerns, Trump said.

“China will closely monitor the legislation process and evaluate its potential impact on Chinese companies,” Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters in a regular briefing in Beijing.

“China does not agree with (the U.S.) tightening foreign investment conditions using national security as reasons,” he said.

The proposed investment restrictions are part of the Trump administration’s efforts to pressure Beijing into making major changes to its trade, technology transfer and industrial subsidy policies after U.S. complaints that China has unfairly acquired American intellectual property through joint venture requirements, unfair licensing and strategic acquisitions of U.S. tech firms.

Commerce ministry’s Gao also said cooperation between China and Europe would bring a “warm current” to the global economy as both parties strongly opposes unilateralism and protectionism.

On Monday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said at a joint news conference with French prime minister Edouard Philippe that he believed frictions and disputes between China and the United States could be resolved via talks.

“There are no winners from Fighting a trade war,” he told reporters.

Reporting by Elias Glenn and Ben Blanchard; Writing by Yawen Chen; Editing by Michael Perry Shri Navaratnam

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/KjQvaNdUCGo/china-says-carefully-monitoring-u-s-policies-on-inbound-investments-idUSKBN1JO08M

China says carefully monitoring U.S. policies on inbound investments

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s commerce ministry said on Thursday it would carefully monitor U.S. policies on inbound investments, stressing that the country opposes using national security as grounds to restrict foreign investments.

FILE PHOTO: Containers are seen at the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai, China April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he will use a strengthened national security review process to thwart Chinese acquisitions of sensitive American technologies, a softer approach than imposing China-specific investment restrictions.

The U.S. Treasury Department has recommended that Trump use the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), whose authority would be enhanced by new legislation in Congress, to control investment deals. The legislation expands the scope of transactions reviewed by the interagency panel to address security concerns, Trump said.

“China will closely monitor the legislation process and evaluate its potential impact on Chinese companies,” Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters in a regular briefing in Beijing.

“China does not agree with (the U.S.) tightening foreign investment conditions using national security as reasons,” he said.

The proposed investment restrictions are part of the Trump administration’s efforts to pressure Beijing into making major changes to its trade, technology transfer and industrial subsidy policies after U.S. complaints that China has unfairly acquired American intellectual property through joint venture requirements, unfair licensing and strategic acquisitions of U.S. tech firms.

Commerce ministry’s Gao also said cooperation between China and Europe would bring a “warm current” to the global economy as both parties strongly opposes unilateralism and protectionism.

On Monday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said at a joint news conference with French prime minister Edouard Philippe that he believed frictions and disputes between China and the United States could be resolved via talks.

“There are no winners from Fighting a trade war,” he told reporters.

Reporting by Elias Glenn and Ben Blanchard; Writing by Yawen Chen; Editing by Michael Perry Shri Navaratnam

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/KjQvaNdUCGo/china-says-carefully-monitoring-u-s-policies-on-inbound-investments-idUSKBN1JO08M

Exclusive: China rejects U.S. request for talks on airline website row

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China has rejected U.S. requests for talks over how American airlines and their websites refer to Chinese-claimed Taiwan, according to sources, including a U.S. official, adding to tensions in a bilateral relationship already frayed by a major trade dispute.

FILE PHOTO: Delta planes line up at their gates while on the tarmac of Salt Lake City International Airport in Utah September 28, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

China has demanded that foreign firms, and airlines in particular, begin referring to Taiwan as Chinese territory on their websites, along with Hong Kong and Macau, a move described by the White House in May as “Orwellian nonsense”.

Numerous non-U.S. carriers, such as Air Canada, Lufthansa and British Airways have already made changes to their websites, according to Reuters checks.

But several U.S. companies, including Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, were among carriers that sought extensions to a May 25 deadline to make the changes. The final deadline is July 25.

In late May, the U.S. State Department presented China’s Foreign Ministry with a diplomatic note requesting consultations on the matter, but the ministry has since refused it, two sources briefed on the situation told Reuters.

“This has definitely become a foreign policy issue,” one of the sources said on condition of anonymity, noting that the U.S. government did not view it as a technical matter for bilateral aviation cooperation.

The spat had become “another grain of sand in the wound” amid escalating trade tensions, a second source said, referring to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports to punish Beijing for intellectual property abuses.

An official with the State Department confirmed to Reuters that China had rejected its request for talks on June 25, adding that it was “disappointed” and had maintained close communication with the airlines but had not told them how to respond to Beijing’s demands.

“U.S. airlines should not be forced to comply with this order,” the State Department official said. “We have called on China to stop threatening and coercing American companies and citizens.”

Chinese companies are free to operate their websites without political interference in the United States, the official added.

China’s rebuff has left the U.S. government weighing its next move. The White House convened a staff-level meeting on the issue on Wednesday, but it is not clear what it plans to do.

FILE PHOTO: A United Airlines Boeing 737-900ER plane takes off from Los Angeles International airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, California, U.S. March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

“GOOD PLAN OF ACTION”

Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue, and Beijing considers the self-ruled, democratic island a wayward province. Hong Kong and Macau are former European colonies that are now part of China but run largely autonomously.

Armed by the United States, Taiwan has always been a major source of tension between Beijing and Washington, but it has been an increasingly contentious issue since Trump took office.

China’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to a faxed request for comment, but in May said: “No matter what the United States says, it cannot change the objective fact that there is only one China in the world and that Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are indivisible parts of Chinese territory.”

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the latest developments, but this month urged companies to show “courage” in the face of China’s “bullying” over the website issue.

The companies have little incentive to defy Chinese regulations, but compliance could put them at odds with U.S. foreign policy.

Delta’s chief executive, Ed Bastian, said at a forum in Washington on Wednesday that the airline was working with the U.S. government but would not say whether it would comply.

“We’re working with the U.S. authorities on the topic and we’ll stay close to our U.S. government,” Bastian said, calling it a “good plan of action”.

The chief executive of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz, told Reuters in Washington on June 7 that the website issue was a “government-to-government diplomatic issue and again we’ll see what comes out of that and we’ll react accordingly”.

Asked if he would defer to the White House, Munoz said that “I fly to both places and I am deferential to our customers, and again this is not something I am going to solve”.

American Airlines said in early June that it had not made changes on its website, and that it was following the direction of the U.S. government.

It is unclear how China might seek to punish airlines that do not comply. But in December it changed rules governing foreign airlines operating in the country, including adding a clause that regulators could change a company’s permit if it did not meet “the demand of public interest”.

Reporting by Matthew Miller and Michael Martina in BEIJING, Brenda Goh in SHANGHAI, Jess Macy Yu in TAIPEI and David Shepardson in WASHINGTON; Editing by Tony Munroe and Philip McClellan

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/8_Cjt5N4EmE/exclusive-china-rejects-u-s-request-for-talks-on-airline-website-row-idUSKBN1JO0JP

Exclusive: China rejects U.S. request for talks on airline website row

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China has rejected U.S. requests for talks over how American airlines and their websites refer to Chinese-claimed Taiwan, according to sources, including a U.S. official, adding to tensions in a bilateral relationship already frayed by a major trade dispute.

FILE PHOTO: Delta planes line up at their gates while on the tarmac of Salt Lake City International Airport in Utah September 28, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

China has demanded that foreign firms, and airlines in particular, begin referring to Taiwan as Chinese territory on their websites, along with Hong Kong and Macau, a move described by the White House in May as “Orwellian nonsense”.

Numerous non-U.S. carriers, such as Air Canada, Lufthansa and British Airways have already made changes to their websites, according to Reuters checks.

But several U.S. companies, including Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, were among carriers that sought extensions to a May 25 deadline to make the changes. The final deadline is July 25.

In late May, the U.S. State Department presented China’s Foreign Ministry with a diplomatic note requesting consultations on the matter, but the ministry has since refused it, two sources briefed on the situation told Reuters.

“This has definitely become a foreign policy issue,” one of the sources said on condition of anonymity, noting that the U.S. government did not view it as a technical matter for bilateral aviation cooperation.

The spat had become “another grain of sand in the wound” amid escalating trade tensions, a second source said, referring to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports to punish Beijing for intellectual property abuses.

An official with the State Department confirmed to Reuters that China had rejected its request for talks on June 25, adding that it was “disappointed” and had maintained close communication with the airlines but had not told them how to respond to Beijing’s demands.

“U.S. airlines should not be forced to comply with this order,” the State Department official said. “We have called on China to stop threatening and coercing American companies and citizens.”

Chinese companies are free to operate their websites without political interference in the United States, the official added.

China’s rebuff has left the U.S. government weighing its next move. The White House convened a staff-level meeting on the issue on Wednesday, but it is not clear what it plans to do.

FILE PHOTO: A United Airlines Boeing 737-900ER plane takes off from Los Angeles International airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, California, U.S. March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

“GOOD PLAN OF ACTION”

Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue, and Beijing considers the self-ruled, democratic island a wayward province. Hong Kong and Macau are former European colonies that are now part of China but run largely autonomously.

Armed by the United States, Taiwan has always been a major source of tension between Beijing and Washington, but it has been an increasingly contentious issue since Trump took office.

China’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to a faxed request for comment, but in May said: “No matter what the United States says, it cannot change the objective fact that there is only one China in the world and that Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are indivisible parts of Chinese territory.”

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the latest developments, but this month urged companies to show “courage” in the face of China’s “bullying” over the website issue.

The companies have little incentive to defy Chinese regulations, but compliance could put them at odds with U.S. foreign policy.

Delta’s chief executive, Ed Bastian, said at a forum in Washington on Wednesday that the airline was working with the U.S. government but would not say whether it would comply.

“We’re working with the U.S. authorities on the topic and we’ll stay close to our U.S. government,” Bastian said, calling it a “good plan of action”.

The chief executive of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz, told Reuters in Washington on June 7 that the website issue was a “government-to-government diplomatic issue and again we’ll see what comes out of that and we’ll react accordingly”.

Asked if he would defer to the White House, Munoz said that “I fly to both places and I am deferential to our customers, and again this is not something I am going to solve”.

American Airlines said in early June that it had not made changes on its website, and that it was following the direction of the U.S. government.

It is unclear how China might seek to punish airlines that do not comply. But in December it changed rules governing foreign airlines operating in the country, including adding a clause that regulators could change a company’s permit if it did not meet “the demand of public interest”.

Reporting by Matthew Miller and Michael Martina in BEIJING, Brenda Goh in SHANGHAI, Jess Macy Yu in TAIPEI and David Shepardson in WASHINGTON; Editing by Tony Munroe and Philip McClellan

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/8_Cjt5N4EmE/exclusive-china-rejects-u-s-request-for-talks-on-airline-website-row-idUSKBN1JO0JP

Exclusive: China rejects U.S. request for talks on airline website row

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China has rejected U.S. requests for talks over how American airlines and their websites refer to Chinese-claimed Taiwan, according to sources, including a U.S. official, adding to tensions in a bilateral relationship already frayed by a major trade dispute.

FILE PHOTO: Delta planes line up at their gates while on the tarmac of Salt Lake City International Airport in Utah September 28, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

China has demanded that foreign firms, and airlines in particular, begin referring to Taiwan as Chinese territory on their websites, along with Hong Kong and Macau, a move described by the White House in May as “Orwellian nonsense”.

Numerous non-U.S. carriers, such as Air Canada, Lufthansa and British Airways have already made changes to their websites, according to Reuters checks.

But several U.S. companies, including Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, were among carriers that sought extensions to a May 25 deadline to make the changes. The final deadline is July 25.

In late May, the U.S. State Department presented China’s Foreign Ministry with a diplomatic note requesting consultations on the matter, but the ministry has since refused it, two sources briefed on the situation told Reuters.

“This has definitely become a foreign policy issue,” one of the sources said on condition of anonymity, noting that the U.S. government did not view it as a technical matter for bilateral aviation cooperation.

The spat had become “another grain of sand in the wound” amid escalating trade tensions, a second source said, referring to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports to punish Beijing for intellectual property abuses.

An official with the State Department confirmed to Reuters that China had rejected its request for talks on June 25, adding that it was “disappointed” and had maintained close communication with the airlines but had not told them how to respond to Beijing’s demands.

“U.S. airlines should not be forced to comply with this order,” the State Department official said. “We have called on China to stop threatening and coercing American companies and citizens.”

Chinese companies are free to operate their websites without political interference in the United States, the official added.

China’s rebuff has left the U.S. government weighing its next move. The White House convened a staff-level meeting on the issue on Wednesday, but it is not clear what it plans to do.

FILE PHOTO: A United Airlines Boeing 737-900ER plane takes off from Los Angeles International airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, California, U.S. March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

“GOOD PLAN OF ACTION”

Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue, and Beijing considers the self-ruled, democratic island a wayward province. Hong Kong and Macau are former European colonies that are now part of China but run largely autonomously.

Armed by the United States, Taiwan has always been a major source of tension between Beijing and Washington, but it has been an increasingly contentious issue since Trump took office.

China’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to a faxed request for comment, but in May said: “No matter what the United States says, it cannot change the objective fact that there is only one China in the world and that Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are indivisible parts of Chinese territory.”

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the latest developments, but this month urged companies to show “courage” in the face of China’s “bullying” over the website issue.

The companies have little incentive to defy Chinese regulations, but compliance could put them at odds with U.S. foreign policy.

Delta’s chief executive, Ed Bastian, said at a forum in Washington on Wednesday that the airline was working with the U.S. government but would not say whether it would comply.

“We’re working with the U.S. authorities on the topic and we’ll stay close to our U.S. government,” Bastian said, calling it a “good plan of action”.

The chief executive of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz, told Reuters in Washington on June 7 that the website issue was a “government-to-government diplomatic issue and again we’ll see what comes out of that and we’ll react accordingly”.

Asked if he would defer to the White House, Munoz said that “I fly to both places and I am deferential to our customers, and again this is not something I am going to solve”.

American Airlines said in early June that it had not made changes on its website, and that it was following the direction of the U.S. government.

It is unclear how China might seek to punish airlines that do not comply. But in December it changed rules governing foreign airlines operating in the country, including adding a clause that regulators could change a company’s permit if it did not meet “the demand of public interest”.

Reporting by Matthew Miller and Michael Martina in BEIJING, Brenda Goh in SHANGHAI, Jess Macy Yu in TAIPEI and David Shepardson in WASHINGTON; Editing by Tony Munroe and Philip McClellan

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/8_Cjt5N4EmE/exclusive-china-rejects-u-s-request-for-talks-on-airline-website-row-idUSKBN1JO0JP

Exclusive: China rejects U.S. request for talks on airline website row

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China has rejected U.S. requests for talks over how American airlines and their websites refer to Chinese-claimed Taiwan, according to sources, including a U.S. official, adding to tensions in a bilateral relationship already frayed by a major trade dispute.

FILE PHOTO: Delta planes line up at their gates while on the tarmac of Salt Lake City International Airport in Utah September 28, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

China has demanded that foreign firms, and airlines in particular, begin referring to Taiwan as Chinese territory on their websites, along with Hong Kong and Macau, a move described by the White House in May as “Orwellian nonsense”.

Numerous non-U.S. carriers, such as Air Canada, Lufthansa and British Airways have already made changes to their websites, according to Reuters checks.

But several U.S. companies, including Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, were among carriers that sought extensions to a May 25 deadline to make the changes. The final deadline is July 25.

In late May, the U.S. State Department presented China’s Foreign Ministry with a diplomatic note requesting consultations on the matter, but the ministry has since refused it, two sources briefed on the situation told Reuters.

“This has definitely become a foreign policy issue,” one of the sources said on condition of anonymity, noting that the U.S. government did not view it as a technical matter for bilateral aviation cooperation.

The spat had become “another grain of sand in the wound” amid escalating trade tensions, a second source said, referring to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports to punish Beijing for intellectual property abuses.

An official with the State Department confirmed to Reuters that China had rejected its request for talks on June 25, adding that it was “disappointed” and had maintained close communication with the airlines but had not told them how to respond to Beijing’s demands.

“U.S. airlines should not be forced to comply with this order,” the State Department official said. “We have called on China to stop threatening and coercing American companies and citizens.”

Chinese companies are free to operate their websites without political interference in the United States, the official added.

China’s rebuff has left the U.S. government weighing its next move. The White House convened a staff-level meeting on the issue on Wednesday, but it is not clear what it plans to do.

FILE PHOTO: A United Airlines Boeing 737-900ER plane takes off from Los Angeles International airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, California, U.S. March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

“GOOD PLAN OF ACTION”

Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue, and Beijing considers the self-ruled, democratic island a wayward province. Hong Kong and Macau are former European colonies that are now part of China but run largely autonomously.

Armed by the United States, Taiwan has always been a major source of tension between Beijing and Washington, but it has been an increasingly contentious issue since Trump took office.

China’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to a faxed request for comment, but in May said: “No matter what the United States says, it cannot change the objective fact that there is only one China in the world and that Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are indivisible parts of Chinese territory.”

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the latest developments, but this month urged companies to show “courage” in the face of China’s “bullying” over the website issue.

The companies have little incentive to defy Chinese regulations, but compliance could put them at odds with U.S. foreign policy.

Delta’s chief executive, Ed Bastian, said at a forum in Washington on Wednesday that the airline was working with the U.S. government but would not say whether it would comply.

“We’re working with the U.S. authorities on the topic and we’ll stay close to our U.S. government,” Bastian said, calling it a “good plan of action”.

The chief executive of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz, told Reuters in Washington on June 7 that the website issue was a “government-to-government diplomatic issue and again we’ll see what comes out of that and we’ll react accordingly”.

Asked if he would defer to the White House, Munoz said that “I fly to both places and I am deferential to our customers, and again this is not something I am going to solve”.

American Airlines said in early June that it had not made changes on its website, and that it was following the direction of the U.S. government.

It is unclear how China might seek to punish airlines that do not comply. But in December it changed rules governing foreign airlines operating in the country, including adding a clause that regulators could change a company’s permit if it did not meet “the demand of public interest”.

Reporting by Matthew Miller and Michael Martina in BEIJING, Brenda Goh in SHANGHAI, Jess Macy Yu in TAIPEI and David Shepardson in WASHINGTON; Editing by Tony Munroe and Philip McClellan

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/8_Cjt5N4EmE/exclusive-china-rejects-u-s-request-for-talks-on-airline-website-row-idUSKBN1JO0JP

Amazon wants to foster small independent delivery fleets

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc on Wednesday said it would offer incentives to entice entrepreneurs to set up their own small package-delivery businesses as part of Amazon’s latest effort to solve the challenge of getting goods the last mile to customer doorsteps.

An Amazon Prime van sits on a hill overlooking downtown Seattle during a press conference announcing Amazon.com’s new program to help entrepreneurs build businesses delivering Amazon packages, including $1 million to fund startup costs for military veterans, at an event space in Seattle, Washington, U.S., June 27, 2018. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

At a press event in Seattle, Amazon unveiled one of the dark gray Prime-logoed vans that it wants to lease to delivery businesses on what it says are attractive terms. It also said it would provide uniforms, fueling plans and insurance programs for fleet operators and even offer classes on tax, payroll and other small-business challenges.

The new program promises more competition for delivery companies like United Parcel Service Inc and FedEx Corp.

An Amazon Prime van during a press conference announcing Amazon.com’s new program to help entrepreneurs build businesses delivering Amazon packages, including $1 million to fund startup costs for military veterans, at an event space in Seattle, Washington, U.S., June 27, 2018. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

Amazon says qualified entrepreneurs could start businesses with as little as $10,000, although that does not include the cost of hiring drivers. “A 40-vehicle fleet could earn as much as $300,000 a year in profits,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations.

Clark said he would expect to see operators with 20 to 40 vans employ 100 drivers. Amazon did not offer any details on the incentives or say whether it would pay per delivery, per mile driven or per month.

The branded vans can only be used for Amazon deliveries, an Amazon spokeswoman said. Last-mile delivery is among the retail industry’s biggest challenges as customers increasingly expect quick and cheap delivery of almost anything ordered online.

Amazon rivals like U.S. grocery chain Kroger Co and retail giant Walmart Inc are also experimenting with different delivery models.

Slideshow (14 Images)

Earlier this year, Reuters reported that Walmart had ended grocery delivery partnerships with ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft. Walmart has also offered to pay its store employees to complete deliveries on their way home from work. Walmart is now doing grocery delivery with DoorDash and Postmates.

Meanwhile, Amazon has for nearly three years had its Flex program where drivers can get paid for deliveries using their personal cars. That program will continue, Clark said, but only solves part of the problem.

“Flex is all about leveraging available capacity,” said Clark. Salting the landscape with new delivery operators offers scale.

“We looked at our history with small business” on the Amazon marketplace platform, Clark said, “and we said we can do the same thing in last mile and people can own a manageable size business.”

Reporting By Jane Lanhee Lee; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Cynthia Osterman

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/MHcNX2UmNyc/amazon-wants-to-foster-small-independent-delivery-fleets-idUSKBN1JO0DD

Amazon wants to foster small independent delivery fleets

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc on Wednesday said it would offer incentives to entice entrepreneurs to set up their own small package-delivery businesses as part of Amazon’s latest effort to solve the challenge of getting goods the last mile to customer doorsteps.

An Amazon Prime van sits on a hill overlooking downtown Seattle during a press conference announcing Amazon.com’s new program to help entrepreneurs build businesses delivering Amazon packages, including $1 million to fund startup costs for military veterans, at an event space in Seattle, Washington, U.S., June 27, 2018. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

At a press event in Seattle, Amazon unveiled one of the dark gray Prime-logoed vans that it wants to lease to delivery businesses on what it says are attractive terms. It also said it would provide uniforms, fueling plans and insurance programs for fleet operators and even offer classes on tax, payroll and other small-business challenges.

The new program promises more competition for delivery companies like United Parcel Service Inc and FedEx Corp.

An Amazon Prime van during a press conference announcing Amazon.com’s new program to help entrepreneurs build businesses delivering Amazon packages, including $1 million to fund startup costs for military veterans, at an event space in Seattle, Washington, U.S., June 27, 2018. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

Amazon says qualified entrepreneurs could start businesses with as little as $10,000, although that does not include the cost of hiring drivers. “A 40-vehicle fleet could earn as much as $300,000 a year in profits,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations.

Clark said he would expect to see operators with 20 to 40 vans employ 100 drivers. Amazon did not offer any details on the incentives or say whether it would pay per delivery, per mile driven or per month.

The branded vans can only be used for Amazon deliveries, an Amazon spokeswoman said. Last-mile delivery is among the retail industry’s biggest challenges as customers increasingly expect quick and cheap delivery of almost anything ordered online.

Amazon rivals like U.S. grocery chain Kroger Co and retail giant Walmart Inc are also experimenting with different delivery models.

Slideshow (14 Images)

Earlier this year, Reuters reported that Walmart had ended grocery delivery partnerships with ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft. Walmart has also offered to pay its store employees to complete deliveries on their way home from work. Walmart is now doing grocery delivery with DoorDash and Postmates.

Meanwhile, Amazon has for nearly three years had its Flex program where drivers can get paid for deliveries using their personal cars. That program will continue, Clark said, but only solves part of the problem.

“Flex is all about leveraging available capacity,” said Clark. Salting the landscape with new delivery operators offers scale.

“We looked at our history with small business” on the Amazon marketplace platform, Clark said, “and we said we can do the same thing in last mile and people can own a manageable size business.”

Reporting By Jane Lanhee Lee; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Cynthia Osterman

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/MHcNX2UmNyc/amazon-wants-to-foster-small-independent-delivery-fleets-idUSKBN1JO0DD

Amazon wants to foster small independent delivery fleets

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc on Wednesday said it would offer incentives to entice entrepreneurs to set up their own small package-delivery businesses as part of Amazon’s latest effort to solve the challenge of getting goods the last mile to customer doorsteps.

An Amazon Prime van sits on a hill overlooking downtown Seattle during a press conference announcing Amazon.com’s new program to help entrepreneurs build businesses delivering Amazon packages, including $1 million to fund startup costs for military veterans, at an event space in Seattle, Washington, U.S., June 27, 2018. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

At a press event in Seattle, Amazon unveiled one of the dark gray Prime-logoed vans that it wants to lease to delivery businesses on what it says are attractive terms. It also said it would provide uniforms, fueling plans and insurance programs for fleet operators and even offer classes on tax, payroll and other small-business challenges.

The new program promises more competition for delivery companies like United Parcel Service Inc and FedEx Corp.

An Amazon Prime van during a press conference announcing Amazon.com’s new program to help entrepreneurs build businesses delivering Amazon packages, including $1 million to fund startup costs for military veterans, at an event space in Seattle, Washington, U.S., June 27, 2018. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

Amazon says qualified entrepreneurs could start businesses with as little as $10,000, although that does not include the cost of hiring drivers. “A 40-vehicle fleet could earn as much as $300,000 a year in profits,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations.

Clark said he would expect to see operators with 20 to 40 vans employ 100 drivers. Amazon did not offer any details on the incentives or say whether it would pay per delivery, per mile driven or per month.

The branded vans can only be used for Amazon deliveries, an Amazon spokeswoman said. Last-mile delivery is among the retail industry’s biggest challenges as customers increasingly expect quick and cheap delivery of almost anything ordered online.

Amazon rivals like U.S. grocery chain Kroger Co and retail giant Walmart Inc are also experimenting with different delivery models.

Slideshow (14 Images)

Earlier this year, Reuters reported that Walmart had ended grocery delivery partnerships with ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft. Walmart has also offered to pay its store employees to complete deliveries on their way home from work. Walmart is now doing grocery delivery with DoorDash and Postmates.

Meanwhile, Amazon has for nearly three years had its Flex program where drivers can get paid for deliveries using their personal cars. That program will continue, Clark said, but only solves part of the problem.

“Flex is all about leveraging available capacity,” said Clark. Salting the landscape with new delivery operators offers scale.

“We looked at our history with small business” on the Amazon marketplace platform, Clark said, “and we said we can do the same thing in last mile and people can own a manageable size business.”

Reporting By Jane Lanhee Lee; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Cynthia Osterman

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/MHcNX2UmNyc/amazon-wants-to-foster-small-independent-delivery-fleets-idUSKBN1JO0DD