Donald Trump will sign a pair of executive orders Friday in his first move to fulfill one of his major campaign promises — reshaping the U.S. trade policy.
According to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the president will sign an order giving the Commerce Department and U.S. Trade Representative 90 days to create a report that targets every form of trade abuse and every nonreciprocal practice that contributes to the U.S. trade deficit.
“We are going to be very busy during the next 90 days,” Ross said during a call with reporters Thursday night. “What this report will do is within 90 days, come back to the president with the detailed causes by country and by major product.”
“It will form the basis for decision-making by the administration subsequently and that will be decision-making that will be based on hard facts, not theories.”
Though Ross said no country in particular is being targeted with this review, he listed those with the biggest trade advantages over the United States — China, Japan, Germany and Mexico.
The second executive action, White House National Trade Council head Peter Navarro said, will direct a review of the lax enforcement of an “under-collection” of anti-dumping and counterveiling duties. Navarro said this will fortify the collection of penalties on unfairly traded foreign products.
“The problem here is that this isn’t just money lost to the Treasury,” Navarro said during the same call. “It’s the fact that the domestic workers and the domestic manufacturers who were supposed to be being defended against these unfair trade practices were not being defended because of this under-collection.”
“Nothing we’re saying tonight is about China,” Navarro added. “Let’s not make this a China story. This is a story about trade abuses, this is a story about an under-collection of duties.”
The moves on trade come one week before Trump is scheduled to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago next weekend.