Trump Considering ‘Explosive’ Executive Order on Unfair Trade

China's operating steelmaking capacity increased by 36.5 million tonnes in 2016 -- more than twice as much as the total production capacity of Britain, says a report
AFP/Wang Zhao

The Trump administration is working on an executive order that could be much broader than the anti-steel dumping measures reported earlier, according to Axios.

Last week, the New York Times reported that President Donald Trump would sign an executive order targeting Chinese dumping into the U.S. soon after the conclusion of China President Xi Jinping state visit in Florida. Under the Obama administration, a preliminary study by the Commerce Department found that China was dumping steel into the U.S. at below market prices.

Back in September, the U.S. International Trade Commission affirmed a decision to impose anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on certain steel imports from Australia, Brazil, Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea and Turkey.

The Trump administration recently launched a wide-sweeping investigation into the massive and persistent trade deficits the U.S. runs with so-called “trading partnets” and the unfair trading policies that may be causing them.

Axios describes the potential for an executive order with broader trade sanctions as “explosive,” although it reports that while the plans are “very fluid” and there are internal disagreements about how aggressive the order will be, it likely won’t be confined to steel.

Axios report Jonathan Swan says White House sources have told him:

  • Steel and aluminum will be targeted.
  • Other products, including household appliances, could be targeted as well.
  • If the investigations result in new import duties — as some senior Trump officials believe should happen — it could make some consumer goods more expensive and could hurt the stock prices of American companies that rely on cheap steel imports. A good number of American manufacturing companies, however, could benefit from this hit to their low-cost competitors.

A White House official told Breitbart News that it is likely any executive order to emerge prior to the investigation into trade deficits is completed would be narrowly tailored to commodities and metals such as steel and aluminum and wouldn’t include broader manufactured goods such as appliances.