Trump executive orders tackle trade abuses ahead of meeting with Chinese president

The orders were aimed at reducing the nation's trade deficit by cracking down on "foreign importers that cheat", the president said.

Donald Trump announced two new executive orders on trade enforcement yesterday and even planed a whole executive order signing ceremony around it.

The review of the factors and violations behind the trade deficits will be led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Trump said.

Briefing reporters on the executive orders, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the actions are created to show the world Trump is taking another step to fulfill his campaign promises. Trump added that his actions are setting the stage for "a great revival" of manufacturing in the United States.

Washington says the trade deficit with China was $347 billion last year, with both imports and exports down a bit from prior years.

That report will focus on 16 countries with which the USA had a significant trade deficit in goods past year - China, Japan, Germany, Mexico, Ireland, Vietnam, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia, India, Thailand, France, Switzerland, Taiwan, Indonesia and Canada - according to the newspaper.

The Chinese official said in his speech, which was made on Saturday, that Washington has to consider generally accepted worldwide trade rules and differences between the USA and China when it adopts trade enforcement measures.

The USTR meanwhile criticized China for its "massive excess capacity" in the steel and aluminum sectors, a situation it said was driven by state industrial polices and financial support. "American companies must be prepared to look at other alternatives".

The White House said Trump would host Xi next Thursday and Friday at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida.

Trump has portrayed trade deficits as strangling economic growth and devastating factory jobs at home.

Administration officials have 90 days to finish a country-by-country and product-by-product analysis. "This isn't a sit-around patty cake kind of conversation", White House spokesperson Sean Spicer said Friday.

Mr. Trump later signed the two orders aimed at identifying and targeting foreign trade abuses, but behind closed doors, CNN reported.

"If anyone had any doubt about the president's resolve to fix the trade problems, these two executive orders should end that speculation now and for all time", he said standing next to Trump.

"We're going to get down to some very serious business", he said.

"Those who break the rules will face the consequences, and they will be very severe consequences", Trump said at a White House news conference Friday. "This is a story about trade abuses, this is a story about an under-collection of duties".

"We have been collecting these duties", Navarro said.

"Today's executive orders are an attempt to divert attention from the fact that the Trump administration now has no plan for making America more competitive or helping American workers", said Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-Mass.).

  • Larry Hoffman