Banana Wars

A trade fight over fruit threatens to spread to other food groups, clothes and even hobbies

There's something inherently smirk-inducing about a trade dispute over bananas. You've seen it in the papers in headlines like BANANA SPLIT or GOING BANANAS. But Clark Davis isn't laughing. One day the quality-assurance engineer was contentedly playing in the basement of his Wexford, Pa., home with his N-gauge model railroad--three lines spread over 36 sq. ft. of diorama, styled after turn-of-the-century Europe. The next day, Davis, 66, heard from his supplier of German-made Fleischman engines that not only could the price be doubling but the supplier's hobby shop might even be put out of business. All because the U.S. wants to...

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