Trump walks out before signing executive orders

Paterniano Del Favero
Aprile 2, 2017

Adding that the findings from this exercise will enable "measured" decision making in fair trade practices, Spicer said that this is the first such review which will lay out problems country-wise and product-wise, so that the true causes of USA's heavy trade deficit can be pinned down. They mark the latest step in the administration's efforts to bolster US manufacturing and prevent trading partners from taking advantage of the U.S.'s free trade stance. He joined VP Mike Pence and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. He said there are 187 pending cases on steel alone, about half of which are against China. It will also look into the past enforcement policies and World Trade Organization rules that hamper U.S. companies' competitiveness. "We have been for decades", Ross said. That's right: Trump held an executive order signing ceremony without signing any executive orders.

Trump took an adversarial tone with China in a Thursday evening tweet, but he also appeared to dampen expectations about the meeting with Xi at his Mar-a-Lago estate. "American companies must be prepared to look at other alternatives", Trump tweeted. "And because of the determination of other countries who don't agree with the academics, who are desperately trying to have the trade surplus with us", he said.

The executive orders, rushed out of the ceremony by a clearly confused Mike Pence, did reportedly eventually get Trump's signature, but away from prying eyes and inquisitive reporters. The US has a massive trade imbalance of $347 billion with China, followed by Japan with $68.9, Germany ($64.9), Mexico ($63.2 billion), Ireland ($35.9 billion) and Vietnam ($32 billion). And quite miraculously, that also equals the net trade surplus of the rest of the world.

"President Trump carried OH largely on his promises to correct this massive job outsourcing and huge trade imbalance that has hammered Ohio's workers and businesses since NAFTA's passage", she noted.

The White House said he later signed the two orders, which focused on reducing the trade deficit, out of view of cameras.

However, China for many months has been intervening in currency markets to prop up the renminbi, contrary to the administration charges. The exceptions would include oil imports by the USA that may have cost large trade deficits, or because some products that are not made in the U.S. and have to be imported.

The trade abuses study will focus on those countries that have chronic goods trade surpluses with the United States. Because Germany uses the euro, it can not directly impact the exchange rate.

The draft also contained elements from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-country Asia-Pacific trade agreement championed by Obama but rejected by Trump for hurting US workers. Although the 12-nation pact faced stiff opposition in both parties, trade experts worry that, without a coherent strategy, withdrawing from the agreement cedes influence in the region to China.

"It is hard to predict and speculate about what United States trade policy will be". While trade deficits with some countries-particularly those with oil exporting countries-are to be expected and not the result of abusive practices, persistent trade deficits in manufactured goods may be the result of unfair trade practices.

Ross said he hoped the investigation would provide solutions on how the USA can reduce deficits and increase exports. But such unilateral actions could violate WTO rules and are nearly certain to open the U.S. to legal challenges by other members.

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