President Donald Trump is expected to sign two executive orders related to trade on Friday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and National Trade Council Peter Navarro said on a call with reporters Thursday night.
The first executive order will launch a wide-ranging review of the U.S. trade deficit with the purpose of identifying forms of “trade abuse” that have contributed to the deficit. Ross said the investigation will go through U.S. trade relationship country-by-country to look for issues like cheating, lax enforcement or currency misalignment.
“It will demonstrate the Trump 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 executive order seeks to strengthen anti-dumping rules and enforcement. Navarro called it an action to address the “long-festering problem” of anti-dumping and countervailing. The order will direct the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretaries of Commerce and Treasury, to impose requirements and strengthen enforcement.
The World Trade Organization describes “dumping” as countries exporting a product at a lower price than it would be sold in its home market. WTO procedures allow countries to charge extra duties, called countervailing duties, on subsidized products that the country finds hurt its domestic imports.
“From a policy point of view it really goes like a laser at a problem and it solves it quickly, one that’s been going on for 15 years,” Navarro said.
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.
“These actions are designed to let the world know this is another step of the president fulfilling his campaign promise,” Ross said.
Still, Ross noted that China is…