President Trump’s economic nationalist agenda has spurred a trend of American companies filing a record number of trade lawsuits against foreign competitors in 2017.
According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, “a wave” of trade lawsuits by American companies against their foreign competition, complaining of unfair “dumping” practices where cheap foreign goods are imported to the U.S. by taking advantage of subsidies, have been filed.
The Times reports:
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 U.S. and 29 counties, 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.
In a statement to the Times, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a Trump loyalist who has spearheaded the pro-American trade effort in the White House, said American companies “know” that the Trump administration “will stand with American workers in the face of unfair trade practices.”
Ross told the Times:
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.
The analysis of Washington Post data reveals that overall there were 79 new investigations by the Commerce Department in 2017 into unfair trade practices by foreign competitors of American companies. This, according to the LA Times analysis, means there was a 65 percent jump in demands for tariffs on foreign competitors from 2016, marking a 16-year high.
The Trump administration made history when it announced in November that it would be taking action against China for dumping cheap aluminum sheet in the U.S., unfairly hurting American companies.
Breitbart’s John Carney reported:
The Commerce Department announced Tuesday that it is undertaking anti-dumping investigations into imports of common alloy aluminum sheet from China.
The investigations announced Tuesday are being conducted on the Commerce Department’s own initiative. Typically anti-dumping investigations are prompted by complaints of U.S. companies. The last time the Commerce Department self-initiated a so-called antidumping and countervailing duty investigation was against Japan in the 1980s.
Separately, Secretary Ross also announced that it had reached a “final determination” that China is providing unfair subsidies to producers of tool chests and cabinets. Last year, imports of tool chests and cabinets for China were valued at an estimated $230 million. As a result of the final determination, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customers and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of tool chests to offset the value of the subsidies.
Generally, trade lawsuits are initiated by American companies when they allege that foreign competitors are unfairly taking advantage of U.S. trade policy to dump cheap products in the country, hurting American-owned business in the meantime. From there, the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission take up the complaint.
Breitbart News Executive Chairman and former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon most recently spoke extensively about the negative impact free trade and China’s rise have had on American workers and manufacturing jobs.
“If you are a high school graduate, you have not had a raise in 50 years,” Bannon said during a conference in Tokyo, Japan this month. “What we have in the United States today is not capitalism, so much as it is socialism for the wealthy.”
“The ascendant economy in the United States, of Silicon Valley, of Wall Street, and Hollywood, and the imperial capitol of Washington, D.C. has no interest in taking on China. They’ve all benefitted from China’s rise,” he said. “It is the working class people … that have had to bear the brunt of that. The Trump voters.”
The Trump administration’s pro-American trade initiatives are a more than a two-decade break from the globalist trade agendas of past administrations under President George W. Bush and President Obama. For years, both political establishments have joined forces to push multinational free trade deals that outsource and offshore Americans’ jobs to foreign nations.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.