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Published: Wed, April 12, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Trump walks out before signing executive orders


"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.

President Donald Trump signed two executive orders Friday that targeted trade abuses he promised to address during his campaign.

The second order will reportedly strengthen the government's ability to enforce anti-dumping laws, a form of trade manipulation in which foreign manufacturers attempt to undercut USA suppliers by selling goods at artificially low prices.

Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, insisted the orders had nothing to do with the visit and were not an attempt to send a message to China.

Ross explained that under the first order, the Commerce Department would conduct a 90-day review of the causes of trade deficits country by country, product by product.

Ross said the report will form the basis of future decisions by the Trump administration to tackle trade imbalances.

Though the orders come just a week before Trump will welcome Chinese President Xi to his Florida estate - where the two leaders are expected to discuss trade extensively - Ross and Navarro said the actions should not be interpreted as putting China on notice.

The US has its highest trade deficit with China, at 347 billion dollars (£278 billion) past year.

On Thursday, Trump took to Twitter to say the meeting with the Chinese leader will be "a very hard one".

It is about all major countries with which the United States has significant trade deficit.

Gabriel said the United States seemed prepared to give U.S. companies "unfair competitive advantage" over European producers, even though this violated worldwide trade legislation.

The second order is also expected to direct the Department of Homeland Security to better combat violations of USA trade and customs laws and enable enhanced seizure of counterfeit and pirated goods.

During last year's presidential election campaign, Trump took a line which was widely interpreted as heralding a more protectionist and less globalist approach to trade. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who briefed reporters in advance, said the two executive actions weren't intended as a warning to China.

Trump said "the well-being of America and the American worker is my north star".

He told reporters: "Nothing we're saying tonight is about China. But these voiceless Americans now have a voice in the White House", Trump said adding that under his administration, the theft of American prosperity will end.

The announcement says the U.S. must address the challenges to economic growth and employment that may arise from large and chronic trade deficits and the "unfair and discriminatory" trade practices of some of their trading partners.

Trump said before leaving: 'Thank you everybody, you're going to see some very, very strong results very, very quickly. "Let's not make this a story about China".

The study would focus on countries that have chronic goods trade surpluses with the US. "We're going to investigate all trade abuses and, based on those findings, we will take necessary and lawful action to end those many abuses".

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