Trump to examine 16 trade partners, including Canada


"It's been very bad, what's happening to our country, in terms of our companies and in terms of our jobs", Trump said during a press conference.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro said the Trump administration will launch a wide-ranging review of the United States trade deficit with the objective of identifying forms of "trade abuse" that have contributed to the deficit, reported The Hill newspaper reported.

The first executive order concentrates on tougher enforcement of anti-dumping laws and increasing the collection of anti-dumping penalties and so-called countervailing duties.

Since 2001, $2.8 billion in import taxes have gone uncollected, he said.

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

China, the largest source of the US's trade deficit, has repeatedly run afoul of the US' anti-dumping laws, and Trump has repeatedly accused the country of hurting the United States economy through unfair trading practices.

The executive orders came a week before Trump is holding his first meeting with China's President Xi Jinping, but officials insisted the measures were not meant to put the communist country on notice.

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

Vice president Mike Pence is then left rushing after Trump to tell him that he'd forgotten to sign the orders.

Trade is expected to be a big topic of conversation next week when President Trump meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago.

First, the president arrived to the Oval Office ready to sign two executive orders regarding trade, which together are seen as a symbolic shot at China.

The countries involved will be those that have the largest overall trade surpluses with the U.S. almost all of the countries involved are major trading partners for agriculture, but also are some with major barriers on U.S. agricultural goods.

The president took to Twitter prior to signing the orders to share his thoughts on trade with China - a subject he discussed frequently during his election campaign.

"These actions are created to let the world know that this is a president taking another step to fulfil his campaign promise", Mr Ross said.

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While Trump has long argued that trade deficits imperil U.S. workers, Ross cautioned that they aren't necessarily all bad. Open, global markets are key to supporting U.S. businesses - saving customers millions of dollars while meeting American consumers' demands for products anytime, anywhere. "We're going to defend our industry and create a level playing field for the American worker, finally", the USA president said.

He blames export-driven countries for destroying with unfair export subsidies that undercut American producers and wants to investigate what he calls trade abuses.

Other countries mentioned in the list were Italy, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, France, Switzerland, Taiwan, Indonesia and Canada. Ross said the USA has never made such an analysis to follow up with trading partners and assess how the trade relationship has worked out or why a deficit developed.

"Thousands of factories have been stolen from our country, but these voiceless Americans now have a voice in the White House", Trump said. Let's not make this a China story.

"It will demonstrate the administration's intention not to hip-shoot, not to do anything casual, not to do anything abruptly, but to take a very measured and analytical approach", Ross said.

The second order will address the failure of US agencies to collect anti-dumping penalties.

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