The US has pledged to step up its sometimes controversial recent policy of trade measures in 2018, with the aim of tackling what it perceives as unfair trading practices around the world.
During the World Economic Forum in Davos, key US ministers have laid out an uncompromising commitment to continuing to push for reforms of current trading measures, with the stated goal of addressing existing imbalances and making sure that major economic partners are fulfilling their responsibilities.
Since the election of Donald Trump as president, the US has seen a significant shift in its trade policies, pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and pushing to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. This aligns with President Trump's repeated criticisms of such deals, which he believes have led to trade imbalances that do not favor the US.
Speaking in Davos, US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said many of the trade initiatives launched by the Trump administration in 2017 will "come to fruition" in 2018, saying the World Trade Organization has not kept up with changes in the global trading environment, and that the current approach to global trade regulation "needs to be updated, at best".
Meanwhile, US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said the government will continue to take action to reform trade relationships that are not favorable to the US - potentially stoking fears of a trade war between the US and nations such as China and Russia.
He told the Financial Times: "We don't even like to use the word 'protectionism' … We don't use that word. This is not about protectionism. This is about free and fair reciprocal trade. Anybody who wants to do trade with us on reciprocal terms is welcome to do so."