Business briefs



Office furniture companies merge

McWaters Inc. in Augusta and VDL Total Office in North Augusta, both interior designers and office furniture dealers, merged last week.

Columbia-based McWaters Inc. has offices and showrooms in Columbia, Augusta and Savannah, Ga. The company has approximately 60 employees.

VDL's three employees will move to McWaters' office in Augusta, the company announced.


U.S., China agree on treaty negotiations

WASHINGTON --- The United States and China, concluding high-level economic talks, agreed to launch negotiations on an investment treaty that holds out the promise of greatly expanded opportunities for U.S. companies in China's vast market.

The countries pledged greater cooperation to deal with energy shortages and global pollution.

The agreements were announced Wednesday by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who said he believed the initiatives would produce "significant progress" on two shared priorities of both nations.

Group backs Boeing's protest of contract

WASHINGTON --- Boeing scored a major victory Wednesday in its battle to wrestle back a $35 billion Air Force contract from Northrop Grumman and its European partner.

The Government Accountability Office upheld Boeing's protest of the refueling tanker contract and recommended the service hold a new competition. The congressional watchdog said it found "a number of significant errors" in the Air Force's February decision

The Air Force will determine its next steps after completing a review of the ruling within 60 days.

-- From staff and wire reports