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Trump Executive Orders Target Unfair Trade Practices

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President Trump signed two new executive orders Friday aimed at eliminating trade abuses.

Trump said the two orders would “set the stage for a great revival of American manufacturing.” He again attributed his campaign win, at least in part, to his firm stance on trade and his commitment to extracting the U.S. from “bad” deals.

“Under my administration, the theft of American prosperity will end,” Trump said during the signing of the orders on Friday. “We’re going to defend our industry and create a level playing field for the American worker—finally.”

The first executive order called for a 90-day comprehensive review of the causes for America’s trade deficits. The country-by-country review, which will be led by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, will highlight any violations of trade rules that harm the U.S. These findings will serve as a guide as the Administration takes action on trade going forward, allowing for it to take a “measured and analytical approach,” Ross told CNBC.

The second order called for enforcement of antidumping rules, the practice of export goods at a lower price than the price in its home country. The president said this deprives the U.S. of revenue and creates unfair competition for American workers. The order also enhances the ability for the U.S. to collect counterveiling duties in response to foreign goods found to have broken any trade rules. The order requires importers to put up bonds through Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection to cover any counterveiling duties the company would owe if it were found to be guilty. To date, Ross said the U.S. has missed out on about $3 billion in uncollected duties because of goods imported via companies that are a front for others and have no financial resources with which to pay.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association released a statement in response to the second order in which it called for “a prospective collection system” to enable the U.S. to collect antidumping and counterveiling duties.

The statement also read: “We are committed to work with the Administration and Congress to promote sound trade policies that help American retailers to continue to create jobs here at home while saving American families millions of dollars each year.”

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