Trump Signs Two New Executive Orders On Trade

President Donald Trump signed a pair of executive orders Friday focused on reducing the trade deficit just days before he holds his first meeting with his Chinese counterpart.

The second order will step up efforts to combat dumping by foreign companies and countries, which is considered a form of trade cheating.

Much of that deficit data is already publicly available and well known, but Trump's initiative doubles down on his tough trade rhetoric and is being seen as a protectionist warning shot a week before the United States leader meets Chinese President Xi Jinping.

As of past year, China incurred a $347 billion trade surplus with the United States, followed by Japan with $69 billion, Germany with $65 billion and Mexico with $63 billion.

"It's a little bit hard to say that someone is an evil-doer, if they're providing a product we can't", he stated. Trump said these firms had to "be prepared to look for other alternatives".

Like most Trump executive orders, his actions on trade won't have an immediate effect. Navarro said that these orders are meant to shed light on trade abuses in general.

China's Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang says it's trying to narrow that gap.

"Nobody has ever made bad trade deals like our country has made", he said in a dig at the previous administration.

"Nothing we're saying tonight is about China, let's not make this a China story", Navarro said.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who briefed reporters in advance, said the two executive actions weren't intended as a warning to China.

"We are [already] in a trade war", he said.

Hufbauer considered Trump administration's approach to the bilateral trade balance as a display of mercantilist doctrines, adding that a trade balance makes little economic sense as a guide to trade policy in the 21st century, nor as a focal point for shrinking the U.S. trade deficit.

The United States and China were Thailand's two top export markets previous year, with each accounting for about 11% of total shipments. "Quite miraculously, that equals the net trade surplus with the rest of the world". Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump vowed to put America's trading relationship with the world on a more advantageous basis.

"The Chamber supports strong enforcement of trade rules and agreements, as long as such enforcement is based on facts and the proper interpretation of those facts and not politics", said CEO Thomas Donohue.

Ross took the opportunity to dispel such illusions.

But foreign trade has also helped reduce prices for clothing, cars and furniture, among other items.

The administration may not even wait for the reports to be brought down in three months' time before initiating action, and already measures are under way. Now his administration appears to be taking a more cautious approach.

"We're not here for tweets", Navarro shot back at a reporter who asked about the tweet.

Gabriel accused the administration of abandoning worldwide principles of free trade.

We are going to defend our industry and create a level playing field for the American workers.

Under the order, following an investigation into the pricing of steel plate from Germany and a number of other countries, the administration will be able to collect tariffs before a final determination in May.

A trade deficit refers to a negative value in the worth of a country's exports versus its imports. While Trump has taken to Twitter to address the issue, he has not publicly answered media questions regarding the Flynn situation.

  • Larry Hoffman