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Ross Trade Aide Kaplan Quits Commerce as U.S.-China Talks Resume

Jenny Leonard

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Gilbert Kaplan, a key figure in enforcing trade rules for the Trump administration as undersecretary for international trade at the U.S. Commerce Department, resigned from his position, according to people familiar with the matter.

A spokesperson for the Commerce Department confirmed the resignation Friday and declined to comment. Kaplan couldn’t be reached.

His resignation on Thursday came on the same day that U.S. and Chinese trade deputies resumed in-person trade talks in Washington, which continued Friday.

As under secretary, Kaplan led the 2,100-strong International Trade Administration tasked with monitoring unfair global competition from dumping and subsidies, enforcing U.S. trade laws and boosting America’s trade competitiveness. He helped negotiate parts of the trade deal that fell apart in May after what the U.S. said was a backtracking by China on key commitments.

Kaplan filed and prosecuted the first successful anti-subsidy case ever against China in 2007 under the George W. Bush administration, and he also worked at Commerce in the Reagan presidency, according to the department’s website.

Prior to being confirmed for his latest role in March 2018, Kaplan was a partner at King & Spalding and part of the International Trade Practice Group.

(Updates with Commerce Department comment confirming resignation.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Jenny Leonard in Washington at jleonard67@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Margaret Collins at mcollins45@bloomberg.net, Sarah McGregor

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