Los Angeles Times

Trade restrictions being used as punishment, coercion

SEOUL - Leaders of some of the world's most powerful nations are posing new threats to the global economy by using trade sanctions to punish and coerce other countries on issues that have no substantial connection to trade or economics.

When Norway awarded a Nobel Prize to a dissident Chinese author in 2010, Beijing responded by clamping down on imports of Norwegian salmon. It punished the Philippines in 2012 with similar tactics over a territorial dispute that had nothing to do with trade.

In the past year, President Trump choked off U.S. high-tech suppliers selling to Chinese companies citing national security, and threatened to slap tariffs on Mexican goods over border issues.

Japan this month became the latest advanced nation to weaponize trade by restricting exports to South Korea of chemicals essential to that country's vast semiconductor industry. The move came amid a reparations dispute between

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