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Trump talks up orders on trade, but neglects to sign them

03 April 2017

President Donald Trump will sign two executive orders on Friday that the White House says will combat global trade abuses and protect USA workers.

The one of the orders focuses on a major review of the reasons behind USA ever-growing deficit, as the other addresses issues of related to antidumping and countervailing duties.

The findings of the examination will be used to take "necessary and lawful action to end those many abuses", Trump said.

China, Japan and other countries with which the United States incurs hefty deficits will be subject to the review, ordered just ahead of the first summit between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping this week and the first round of a high-level economic dialogue between the United States and Japan later this month.

"But taking a very measured and analytical approach", Ross said.

White House video showed Trump entering the Oval Office to announce the orders, but leaving before actually signing any documents.

He added that when he took the job as Commerce Secretary, he was horrified to learn that the government failed to collect billions of dollars of duties that have been won after hard-fought cases.

The first calls for a report every imbalance contributing to the current USA trade deficit. The inverse of a trade deficit is a trade surplus.

Navarro said the inability of the United States to collect anti-dumping duties on a wide range of products is a "long festering problem".

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He pointed to statements made by Trump and his associates both before and after the president was elected in November. That block was upheld on appeal, and the administration said it would revise the ban to better adhere to the law.

As a result of the first executive order, the Commerce Department and USA trade representative will compile a thorough accounting of the US's trade deficits with its top trading partners within 90 days.

Some economists say these arguments are about how we calculate import and export figures.

Navarro said $2.8 billion in import taxes imposed against violators of USA anti-dumping laws have gone uncollected since 2001.

"For the first time, we're looking at what's been the source of the large and persistent trade deficit that has contributed to job losses", Navarro said.

The second order will empower the Department of Homeland Security to help deal with trade and customs violations.

That's compared to a trade deficit of $69 billion with Japan; $65 billion with Germany; $63 billion with Mexico; and from $24 billion to $36 billion with Ireland, Vietnam, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia and India. "From now on, those who break the rules will face the consequences, and they'll be very severe consequences".

Speaking to reporters before signing the orders, Trump said the actions will "set the stage for a great revival of American manufacturing".

Officials will have 90 days to produce a country-by-country, product-by-product report that will serve as the basis of future decision-making by the administration on trade-related issues.

Trump talks up orders on trade, but neglects to sign them