The President signed a new law this week overturning a right-wing court ruling banning the Obama Adm from bringing trade cases. At the ceremony he announced an official action before the WTO to force China to resume the sale of rare earth metals. These exotic metals are required to produce anything more advanced than what might be made by a 18th century blacksmith. The US was a major producer of rare earths until the Bush Administration allowed China to purchase, close and strip all the mining and refining facilities in America. China did this worldwide and now controls 97% of the supply.
Obama did slap China with 99% tariffs on tires and steel pipe early in his administration. He’s been blocked from similar actions since then by the corporate dominated courts. Enough Republicans were publicly shamed during this election year into supporting today’s law allowing Obama to resume these trade actions.