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Economy

The 1980s auto trade wars are back

Trump's rebuke echoes disputes from decades past

WASHINGTON After U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 23 pulling the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, he quickly turned to Japan and criticized the nation's trade practices regarding automobiles, calling them unfair. The stinging rebuke recalls the two decades of auto trade wars that peaked in the 1980s.

"We sell a car into Japan, and they do things to us that make it impossible to sell cars in Japan, and yet they sell cars into us," Trump told a group of corporate chiefs on Jan. 23. He argued that Japan has nontariff barriers to its domestic market, such as strict environmental standards.

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