Economy & Innovation

Foreign Trade Zone
4:58 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Area Foreign Trade Zone expanded to all of St. Louis City, County

St. Louis mayor Francis Slay at a press conference regarding the expansion of the region's Foreign Trade Zone to include all of St. Louis and St. Louis County.
(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis city and St. Louis County officials say they've gotten federal approval that will help local companies compete in the global market. The area's Foreign Trade Zone has expanded to include all of St. Louis County and City.

The expanded zone will allow more local manufacturing and distribution companies to import goods duty-free and avoid other customs fees.

Mayor Francis Slay announced the expansion at Sunset Transportation in south St. Louis. Slay says the approval from the US Department of Commerce also streamlines the time it takes for businesses to qualify.

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Business/Post-Dispatch lawsuit
3:37 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Post-Dispatch faces lawsuit over retiree benefits

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch building in St. Louis.
(via Flickr/pasa47)

Twelve former employees of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have sued the paper, saying corporate officials lied to them about the benefits the employees would receive after taking an early retirement offer in 2007.

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Lee Enterprises / St. Louis Post-Dispatch
5:51 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Parent company of St. Louis Post-Dispatch announces Chapter 11 filing

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch building in St. Louis.
(via Flickr/pasa47)

The owner of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch announced today that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this month.

Lee Enterprises, based in Davenport, Iowa, says it will allow the company to restructure its debt and exit bankruptcy within 60 days.

The company said in a press release that the filing would not affect employees, vendors and customers.

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Missouri / China
5:41 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Mo. reaches $200M export agreement with China

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and China's Ambassador to the United States Zhou Wenzhong during a state dinner in Feb. 2010.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri officials have completed an agreement to boost exports and investment in northwestern China by $200 million.

Gov. Jay Nixon's office said Friday that the deal calls for state Department of Economic Development to work with officials in Xinjiang Uygur to increase Missouri exports from 2012 to 2014.

Economy
6:13 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Old North St. Louis neighborhood wins national "smart growth" award

Old North was one of two St. Louis neighborhoods to participate in this year's Open Streets festival.
(Courtsey of the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group)

Updated 5:01 p.m. with comment from EPA, and 6:05 with comment from Sean Thomas.

Old North St. Louis has won the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2011 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement.

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Business
4:55 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Retailers push for “e-fairness”

The homepage of online retailer eBay.
(St. Louis Public Radio/Screen Capture)

Some retailers in Illinois are lobbying for E-fairness nationally; a move to require online vendors to charge sales tax just like brick-and-mortar businesses.

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association helped push legislation through in Springfield this year to force remote online retailers with affiliates in the state to charge sales tax.

President and CEO David Vite says 18 e-commerce businesses have registered with the Illinois Department of Revenue since then bringing in $1.5 million.

Vite says the effort in Illinois helped spur a push for a federal law.

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Grape Tomato Recall
9:35 am
Thu December 1, 2011

Grape tomatoes from St. Louis-based company recalled over salmonella concern

Grape tomatoes.
(via Flickr/Squash Valley Produce)

A St. Louis-based produce company is recalling some grape tomatoes that could potentially be contaminated with salmonella.

Front Row Produce says it is recalling 10-ounce pint and 10-pound bulk grape tomatoes supplied by Rio Queen Citrus of Mission, Texas. The recalled produce was distributed to foodservice distributors and retail stores in Missouri and Illinois.

No illnesses have been reported. Front Row Produce says contamination was discovered after random testing by Rio Queen Citrus.

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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
6:22 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

St. Louis Federal Reserve district the exception in national economic summary

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
(via Flickr/ChrisYunker)

The latest report by the Federal Reserve finds that there was slow to moderate growth in all the Federal Reserve districts, except St. Louis.

What’s known as the Beige Book, or a summary of current economic conditions, is published by the United States Federal Reserve Board eight times a year.

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Ameren / FutureGen
3:41 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

Ameren pulling out of FutureGen coal project

Coal - the material itself. Ameren has decided to withdraw from the FutureGen coal project.
(via Flickr/350[sic])

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Sean Crawford used in this report.

Yet another change has been announced regarding the long awaited FutureGen coal project. Ameren's announcement over the summer that it was closing a coal fired power plant in Meredosia, Ill. was more than just a normal business decision.  It cast doubt on the FutureGen project since that Morgan County plant was to be retrofitted and used to demonstrate a different way to use coal. 

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Illinois / Tax Cuts
1:15 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

Ill. legislative committee OKs smaller tax-break package

An interior look at the dome of the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield, Ill.
(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Updated 3:47 p.m.:

A package of tax breaks for Illinois businesses made it through a legislative committee despite major concerns by lawmakers.

The House Revenue Committee approved the measure 6-0 Monday. But two important legislators said they may oppose the bill when it comes up on the House floor.

The package would cost state government about $250 million a year. That's down from $850 million in an earlier proposal.

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