President Trump has made reducing US trade deficits a key focus of his economic agenda to try to grow American manufacturing jobs. He has taken particular aim at renegotiating trade relationships with China and Mexico.
The new order, if issued, would seek to determine whether US trade deficits for those product lines are the result of dumping of imported products below cost and unfair subsidies by foreign governments, the official said late last night in Washington.
Donald Trump planning to put additional duties on imports to grow US economy
President Trump has made reducing US trade deficits a key focus of his economic agenda
The administration would use the results of that investigation to determine the best path forward
Trump administration official
That could eventually lead to additional import duties, but any decisions on such punishments would depend on the probe's findings, not “pre-determined conclusions,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the order was still being considered.
The official did not specify which product lines could be investigated.
“The administration would use the results of that investigation to determine the best path forward, which could include everything from no action at all to the levying of supplemental duties,” the official said.
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US President Donald J. Trump gets in the driver's seat of an 18-wheeler while meeting with truck drivers and trucking CEOs on the South Portico prior to their meeting to discuss health care at the White House in Washington, DC
The Axios news website earlier quoted an official saying such an executive order would likely target steel and aluminum, two industries that are battling for more protection from Chinese imports.
Axios said it also may target household appliances, where South Korean manufacturers with Chinese factories have gained market share.
The Trump administration official did not provide any details to Reuters on timing of the executive order, which would be separate from a March 31 Trump order authorising a 90-day Commerce Department study of trade abuses and their effect on US trade deficits.