Here’s what to expect in the week ahead:
The seventh round of negotiations over the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement will kick off this week in Mexico City, as negotiators from Canada, Mexico and the United States once again meet to try to hammer out their differences over the trade pact. President Trump’s recent statements suggest that the threat of the United States imminently withdrawing from the agreement has receded in recent months. But the countries are still at odds over issues like rules on automobile manufacturing and investment. The countries will face a challenging task as they try to move toward consensus on these issues before the end of the negotiating round on March 5. Ana Swanson
Jerome H. Powell, the new Federal Reserve chairman, who arrived in that role as a relative unknown, will make his public debut on Tuesday morning when he testifies before the House Financial Services Committee. On Thursday, he will reprise the performance before the Senate Banking Committee. Mr. Powell has said that he plans to continue the Fed’s gradual retreat from its economic stimulus campaign, slowly raising interest rates and slowly reducing the Fed’s bond portfolio. While the economy is gaining strength, Mr. Powell is likely to emphasize that so far, stronger growth is increasing the Fed’s confidence in its plans, rather than giving it a reason to move more quickly. Binyamin Appelbaum
Some events sell themselves: On Tuesday afternoon at the Brookings Institution, Janet L. Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chairwoman, will be interviewed by Ben S. Bernanke, her predecessor at the Fed. It will be Ms. Yellen’s first public appearance since she completed her four-year term as Fed chairwoman this month. Both Ms. Yellen and Mr. Bernanke are now fellows at Brookings and so free to speak candidly about their experience leading the Fed through the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Brookings says they’ll address Ms. Yellen’s career, “her time at the Fed, her observations about the current state of the economy and the challenges that confront us.” Binyamin Appelbaum
After passage of the Republican tax overhaul in December, big companies including Apple and Walmart said they would share their tax savings with employees in the form of raises and bonuses. Economists are skeptical of the cause and effect, noting that the low unemployment rate is also putting pressure on companies to raise pay. But whatever the reason, the bonuses are real — and could show up in data that the Commerce Department will release on Thursday. The report, which covers Americans’ income and spending in January, won’t capture the direct effects of the tax cuts, which mostly didn’t show up in workers’ paychecks until February. But it could show the impact of bonuses and pay increases, as well as any extra spending they might have generated. Don’t expect a big bump, however: Economists surveyed by Bloomberg said both income and spending probably grew more slowly in January. The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, will be watching the report for any signs that inflation is picking up. Ben Casselman
More than 3,000 officials from across China will gather in Beijing at the end of the week for the annual twin sessions of the country’s top advisory body and the country’s Legislature. The advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, includes many tycoons and other business leaders and will start meeting on Saturday. The Legislature, the National People’s Congress, will start meeting the next Monday and is expected to stay in session for nearly two weeks.
The congress typically starts with the annual work report of the premier, Li Keqiang. That is followed by the rubber-stamp approval of a long list of government initiatives — a couple of constitutional amendments are expected this year to cement the primacy of President Xi Jinping. Perhaps most important is that the congress will confirm a new slate of government ministers after the twice-a-decade Communist Party national gathering in Beijing last October. Most of the new lineup is already known, but considerable uncertainty surrounds who might succeed Zhou Xiaochuan, who turns 70 this year and is expected to retire after serving as governor of the central bank since 2002. Keith Bradsher