Business News from The Columbian

Promises improvement
Apple CEO Tim Cook apologizes to Chinese consumers over iPhone warranty issues
In the second major mea culpa of his reign at the most valuable company in the United States, Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook openly apologized Monday to Chinese customers for its warranty policies, which have been the target of government ire for the past week. Cook signed a letter posted to Apple's website in China in which he apologizes for the appearance that the company did not care about feedback from its Chinese consumers, and he promises to improve the repair policy on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. The Apple CEO, pictured above during a 2012 visit to a Chinese factory, also promised to provide clear and concise warranty information on the Apple website, increase supervision and training of authorized Apple retailers, and improve accessibility to feedback.The Cupertino, Calif., company has been the target of a campaign from the country's communist leadership recently. Last Monday, the People's Daily, the Communist Party's flagship newspaper, lambasted Apple for not adequately responding to warranty complaints raised by an earlier broadcast on CCTV, the government-run television network. The news report suggested the company treats consumers in China differently than it does customers in other countries. It was also critical of Apple's warranty policies.

Today's close:
Dow Jones
S&P 500
14,572.85, down 5.69
                    3,239.17, down 28.35
1,562.17, down 7.02
Clark County stocks:
Northwest Pipe (NWPX)
Barrett Business (BBSI)
Riverview Bancorp (RVSB)
Nautilus (NLS)
$27.57, down $0.41
$51.53, down $1.13
$2.54, down $0.10
$7.25, down $0.05
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Monday, April 1, 2013

Downtown Vancouver
picks up more tech
office tenants

Office space in downtown Vancouver has officially become a hot commodity among engineering, commercial real estate and information technology firms. The businesses are taking advantage of new  opportunities to move into more visible, and often a better class of office space, according to Michael Jenkins, a Vancouver commercial real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Commercial Jenkins Associates and MAJ Development. "You're seeing some repositioning," said Jenkins, whose company triggered a string of move-up leasing activity when the real estate firm moved into a Class A office structure on the corner of West 15th and Columbia streets. When Jenkins and about two dozen employees moved out of its space at 1500 D St, PBS Engineering & Environmental snapped up the opportunity to move into Coldwell's vacated space, for its more visible location off East Mill Plain Boulevard, near its entrance to Interstate 5. That's when Bob Berry decided to move his information technology business into the engineering firm's former site at 1314 Main St. The company is in the midst of moving from an east Vancouver business park to the downtown location, also with quick access to I-5. "It's a more convenient location because we have some Oregon-based clients," said Bob Berry, owner of ITPro.  

Businesses ask for cut in corporate tax rates
Top executives from 18 large companies, including FedEx Corp., CVS Caremark Corp. and Boeing Co., are trying to keep up pressure on Congress to cut corporate tax rates. The executives sent a letter to congressional leaders Monday, urging action on the one-year anniversary of Japan's rate cut, which left the United States and its 35 percent statutory corporate tax rate as the highest in the industrialized world. "We stand ready to support your efforts to make the U.S. more competitive," wrote the group. "We know that some choices may be difficult and understand that base-broadeners, such as eliminating tax expenditures, may be necessary to achieve the significant reduction in the statutory rate that is required for the U.S. to better compete globally." Offering up tax breaks for elimination is easier for companies that don't benefit from many of them and don't have subsidiaries in low-tax foreign jurisdictions. CVS, for example, reports no foreign income. The lack of agreement on how to offset the cost of a corporate rate cut - along with political differences over broader fiscal questions - have prevented lawmakers from turning a general agreement on revenue-neutral corporate tax rate reduction into specific law.

SBA offers Vancouver event for "encore entrepreneurs"
The U.S. Small Business Administration and AARP are hosting an "Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Meet Up" event on April 11, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., at Latte Da, 205 East 39th St. in Vancouver. The event is one of 100 such events across the nation targeted at entrepreneurs over the age of 50. The goal is to match “encore entrepreneurs” with successful business owners and community leaders for advice and assistance. The SBA's Portland district office will have representatives available with handouts and information about programs and resources available through the SBA and a network of partner organizations. The event will provide information on how to get started on a business plan, and start-up capital, among other topics. More information is available by email at or by phone at 503-326-5200.

Marc Jackson of Vancouver has been named a financial representative for Country Financial. Jackson earned a bachelor's degree in business from Washington State University Vancouver, in 2012.  He works from the Country office at 16821 S.E. McGillivray Blvd., Suite 213.

If you missed it
Prevailing wage for public works debated
In many states, including Washington and Oregon, construction wages are based not on the low bid but on a formula-based rate known as the prevailing wage.

Washington state seeks to keep marijuana out of bars
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants the state Liquor Control Board to figure out how to stop the spread of bars allowing marijuana consumption.

Quote of the Day
“Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems."
 - Rainer Maria Rilke, German poet, (1875 - 1926).

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