Executive orders address trade issues

President Trump signed a pair of executive orders late last week about trade.  One of them calls for a report on the causes of trade deficits the U.S. has with sixteen of its trading partners.  Another provides for the collection of anti-dumping duties owed to the U.S.

The report on the reasons for trade deficits will look into whether the World Trade Organization failed to enforce trade rules, or whether trade shortfalls are the result of currency manipulation.  The latest estimated trade deficit in manufactured goods is $648 billion – twice what it was in 2000.

The order to collect antidumping duties would require new importers, or those guilty of abusive trade practices, to post a bond before their goods are permitted into the U.S.  The Government Accountability Office says importers are more than $2.3 billion in arears for anti-dumping and countervailing duties since 2001.  Administration officials have put that figure at $2.8 billion.

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