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Business News Roundup, March 30, 2021

A timetable for the Biden administration’s planned infrastructure bill, a suspension of a Myanmar trade deal, a retreat from office space, and container shipping shortages are among the top business news items this morning.


President Joe Biden will debut parts of his “Build Back Better” infrastructure proposal on Wednesday and is hoping the $3 trillion measure can pass this summer. Biden said he is also hoping to win bipartisan support for the proposal, though congressional Republicans have expressed concerns about the tax implications of the bill as well as its scope.

The United States has suspended a trade deal with Myanmar in response to a military coup and violent crackdown on protests in that country. The action doesn’t stop all trade, but suspends an agreement where the U.S. and Myanmar collaborate on trade and investment issues until a democratic government is restored in Myanmar; the U.S. is also separately imposing sanctions on Myanmar.

Business trends

The exodus from office space is ongoing as remote work becomes more permanent, with JPMorgan Chase and Salesforce among the companies that are significantly downsizing their office footprint. The amount of office space available to let in 2020 was up 40 percent compared to the previous year.

The giant ship that blocked the Suez Canal for six days has been removed, but the mishap is likely to exacerbate an existing shortage of shipping containers. The incident resulted in ships waiting for the canal to be reopening or taking a longer route around Africa, disrupting schedules and causing containers to arrive in ports later than expected.

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