President Trump is expected to sign two trade-related executive orders on March 31, one directing the Commerce Department to examine the causes of U.S. trade deficits, country-by-country, with the results likely to lead to concrete actions, according to administration officials.
[Brett Fortnam] March 30th, 2017 [Inside US Trade]
The second order is geared toward improving the collection of antidumping and countervailing duties at the border.
In a March 30 press briefing, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said his department would complete a comprehensive analysis of why the U.S. is trading at a deficit with certain partners in 90 days.
“What’s driving it is the U.S. has the lowest tariff rates and the lowest non-tariff barriers of any developed country in the world,” Ross said. “Many countries talk about free trade, but they are far more protectionist than we are.”
Ross said the analysis — which will include both goods and services — will assess whether a bilateral trade deficit is caused by one of seven reasons: cheating or other inappropriate behavior; free trade agreements that have not produced their forecasted benefits; a lack of enforcement by the U.S.; policy decisions made by previous U.S. administrations; currency misalignment in relation to the U.S. dollar; constraints put in place by the World Trade Organization on U.S. behavior, particularly in the area of tax policy; systemic overcapacity in one or more industries; and asymmetrical trade barriers.