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  World   Americas  01 Apr 2017  Donald Trump targets nations in trade deficit

Donald Trump targets nations in trade deficit

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Published : Apr 1, 2017, 2:01 am IST
Updated : Apr 1, 2017, 6:42 am IST

The order comes a week before Mr Trump meets Chinese President Xi Jinping and is likely to be seen as a warning shot across Beijing’s bow.

US President Donald Trump
 US President Donald Trump

Washington: President Donald Trump will order staff on Friday to pinpoint countries and goods responsible for America’s nearly $50 billion trade deficit, in a protectionist warning shot to trade partners like China.

Top administration officials said Mr Trump will issue a pair of executive orders aimed at rooting out the causes and culprits behind America’s trade deficit, in a first step toward converting tough trade rhetoric into action.

 

Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said one order would result in analysts going “country by country, and product by product,” reporting back to Trump within 90 days. They will look, he said, for evidence of “cheating,” inappropriate behaviour, trade deals that have not lived up to their promise, lax enforcement, currency misalignment and troublesome World Trade Organisation constraints.

“It will form the basis for decision making by the administration,” he said.

The order comes a week before Mr Trump meets Chinese President Xi Jinping and is likely to be seen as a warning shot across Beijing’s bow.

“Needless to say the number one source of the deficit is China,” Mr Ross said, before listing more than a dozen other “countries that will potentially be involved.” The others listed were: Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

 

However, Mr Ross said the presence of a deficit does not necessarily mean that retaliatory or remedial action would be taken. “It’s a little bit hard to say that someone is an evildoer if they are providing a product we can’t,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump has also set the tone for a tense first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week by tweeting on Thursday that the US could no longer tolerate massive trade deficits and job losses.

The White House said Mr Trump would host Mr Xi on next Thursday and Friday at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida. It said Mr Trump and his wife, Melania, would host Mr Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, at a dinner next Thursday.

 

Tags: donald trump, world trade organisation, xi jinping
Location: United States, Washington