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May 24, 2019, 3:55 p.m. EDT

New rule would let U.S. companies sue foreign rivals over currency weakness

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By Josh Zumbrun

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

U.S. companies would be able to seek penalties against foreign competitors they say benefit from artificially weak currencies, under a new rule proposed by the Trump administration.

The proposal -- on which the Commerce Department is now seeking public comment -- would treat an undervalued currency as a subsidy that allows foreign businesses to export their goods more cheaply. The rule would allow U.S. companies to file a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, the first stop in arguing for countervailing duties that could lead to additional tariffs on certain imports.

Currently, companies can’t cite currency weakness in claims of improper foreign subsidization of their competitors.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the measure adds to the administration’s arsenal in fighting foreign-currency manipulation, which the Trump administration says hurts American industry.

An expanded version of this story is available at WSJ.com

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