Trump To Sign Executive Orders Seeking To “Halt Trade Abuses”, Boost Collection Of Duties

Friday, March 31, 2017
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Mar 31, 2017

In a reminder that Donald Trump’s trade policies – at least as he represented in the past, before surrounding himself with ex-Goldman globalists – are largely protectionist, on Friday, the US President will sign executive orders aimed at “identifying abuses” that are causing “massive U.S. trade deficits” and clamp down on non-payment of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on imports, his top trade officials said quoted by Reuters.

The latest executive orders come at a sensitive time, one week before Trump is set for his first face-to-face meeting with Chinese President Xi next week in Florida, where trade issues promise to be a major source of tension. China was the biggest contributor to the $734 billion U.S. goods trade deficit last year, and the meeting “will be a very difficult one” Trump said in a tweet on Thursday night.

The directives, if actually implemented, should allow Trump to focus on meeting his campaign promises to combat the flow of unfairly traded imports into the United States just a week after his pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare imploded in Congress. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters that one of the orders directs his department and the U.S. Trade Representative to conduct a major review of the causes of U.S. trade deficits.

These include trade abuses such as dumping of goods below costs and unfair subsidies, “non-reciprocal” trade practices by other countries and currencies that are “misaligned.”

Ross was careful to differentiate that currency misalignment was not the same as manipulation, and only the U.S. Treasury could define currency manipulation. But he said in some cases, currencies can become misaligned from their traditional valuations unintentionally, citing the Mexican peso’s sharp decline late last year after Trump’s election.

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