Trump’s orders target trade abuses, import duty evasion

U.S. President Donald Trump sought to push his crusade for fair trade and more manufacturing jobs back to the top of his agenda on Friday by ordering a study into the causes of U.S. trade deficits and a clampdown on import duty evasion. The executive orders came a week after Trump’s promise to replace Obamacare imploded in Congress and a week before he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida, a summit that promises to be fraught with trade tensions. Trump said at a White House signing ceremony that he and Xi were “going to get down to some serious business” next week and vowed that “the theft of American prosperity” by foreign countries would end. One of the orders directed the Commerce Department and the U.S. trade representative to conduct a 90-day review of the causes of massive U.S. trade deficits. It will study the effects of abuses such as the dumping of products below costs, unfair subsidies, “misaligned” currencies and “non-reciprocal” trade practices by other countries. “We’re going to investigate all trade abuses, and, based on those findings, we will take necessary and lawful action to end those many abuses,” Trump said, adding that he wasn’t beholden to any businesses. Trump administration officials have said they plan tougher enforcement of U.S. trade remedy laws and will initiate more unilateral trade deals. In his 2016 White House bid, the New York businessman campaigned heavily against free-trade deals and accused China of draining jobs from U.S. factory towns with cheap exports.