Trump tackles trade abuses ahead of meeting with Chinese president

Apr 01, 2017, 00:47
Trump tackles trade abuses ahead of meeting with Chinese president

As with NAFTA, Trump has been highly critical of the World Trade Organization and what he calls unfair treatment of the United States, even though Washington has a very successful track record of winning complaints brought against other countries, especially China.

"It will demonstrate the administration's intention not to hipshoot, not to do anything casual, not to do anything abruptly", Ross told a White House briefing.

President Trump will be meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago next week.

"We can no longer have massive trade deficits. and job losses".

"American companies must be prepared to look at other alternatives", he wrote.

China tops the list, with a $347 billion surplus past year, followed by Japan, with a $69 billion surplus, Germany at $65 billion, Mexico at $63 billion, Ireland at $36 billion and Vietnam at $32 billion.

Trump's executive orders initiate a large-scale review of the causes of the US' trade deficits with some of its largest trading partners and order stricter enforcement of United States anti-dumping laws to prevent foreign manufacturers from undercutting U.S. companies by selling goods at an unfair price. 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 USA economy through unfair trading practices.

"For the first time", said Peter Navarro, director of Trump's National Trade Council, "we're looking comprehensively at the source of what has been a large and persistent trade deficit that has contributed to job losses, the loss of our manufacturing base and other things".

"Needless to say the No. 1 source of deficit is China with some $347 billion, Japan with $69 billion, Germany $65 billion, Mexico $63 billion, Ireland $36 billion, Vietnam $32 billion, Italy $28 billion, South Korea $28 billion, Malaysia $25, India $24, Thailand $19, France $16, Switzerland $14, Taiwan $13, Indonesia $13, Canada $11", he said.

Trump declared that the two orders would start a "great revival" for US manufacturing, repeating his campaign message that trade pacts have caused factory jobs to flow overseas. "This is a story about trade abuses, this is a story about under-collection of duties, this is a story about 40 countries that basically subsidize their products unfairly and send them into our country or dump their products".

The second order will focus on stepping up the collection of anti-dumping and countervailing duties, which are levied against foreign governments that subsidise products so they can be sold below cost.

Ross named 16 countries that the USA runs major trade deficits with. "Wilbur Ross and his team are going to...look comprehensively at all of the different ways that we are getting that deficit", Navarro said.

The trade gap reached a record level since 2012 a year ago, though the imbalance remains below its previous high in 2006. This has created savings for US consumers.

Both exports abroad and imports into the United States fell in 2016, but exports declined by a greater sum in part due to a stronger dollar making American-made goods and services more expensive overseas.

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