President Trump Signs Two Executive Orders Impacting Trade

Container Cargo ship in the ocean with Birds flying in blue sky, Freight Transportation.

On March 31, President Trump signed two Executive Orders (EO) aimed at fulfilling his campaign promises for more favorable global trade for the U.S. The Presidential EO regarding the Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits establishes a 90-day review of factors that contribute to U.S. trade deficits. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s , Economic Indicator Division, the U.S. has maintained the world’s largest trade deficit since 1975. For goods and services the deficit topped $502 billion in 2016. Imports were $2.7 trillion and exports were only $2.2 trillion.  The largest categories of U.S. exports are commercial aircraft, automobiles and food.  The largest categories of imports are automobiles, petroleum and cell phones. Countries that maintain the largest trade deficits in goods with the United States include:

Country Amount of deficit (in $ billion)
(Of note: President Trump is scheduled to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida next week.)
The second Executive Order on Establishing Enhanced Collection and Enforcement of Antidumping and Countervailing Duties and Violations of Trade and Customs Laws cites that as of “May 2015, $2.3 billion in antidumping and countervailing duties owed to the U.S. Government remained uncollected, often from importers that lack assets located in the U.S.” The Order imposes bonding requirements, based on risk assessments, on articles entering the U.S. that are subject to antidumping and countervailing duties.
Within 90 days of the date of the EO the Secretary of Homeland Security must consult with the Secretaries of Treasury and Commerce, and the United States Trade Representative, to develop a plan that requires covered importers to provide security for antidumping and countervailing duty liability through bonds and other legal measures, and also would identify other appropriate enforcement measures.
Also within 90 days of the date of the EO the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) must develop and implement a strategy for combating violations of U.S. trade and customs laws for goods and for enabling interdiction and disposal, including through methods other than seizure, of inadmissible merchandise entering through any mode of transportation.

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