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A Washington Post analysis of Commerce Department data found 23 new trade disputes initiated since January, making 2017 the busiest year for tariff cases since 2001. The new cases target trade between the United States and 29 countries, the most in any year since 2001.
The cases include fights over Korean washing machines, Spanish olives, Chinese aluminum foil, Vietnamese tool chests, Argentine biodiesel and Canadian jetliners. The U.S. trade warriors include financially strapped solar panel manufacturers, downsizing Rust Belt steel plants and declining California olive farms.
Several requests came from companies that are under foreign ownership. And in a shift from previous years, some profitable corporations are asking the government to place new restrictions on their foreign rivals, taking advantage of a recent change in federal law.
The surge of complaints comes as the White House moves to redefine America’s role in the global economy.
“At President Trump’s direction, we have told American businesses that we will be more enforcement minded than any recent administration, while also remaining committed to a fair and transparent process that is professionally and impartially implemented,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an emailed statement. “They know we will stand with American workers in the face of unfair trade practices.”
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