US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order seeking a comprehensive review of the massive trade deficit totalling more than United States dollars 500 billion per annum with 16 countries, including China and India, according to a news report by agency.
The one of the orders will focus on a major review of the reasons behind U.S. ever-growing deficit, as the other will address issues of related to antidumping and countervailing duties.
The orders come just a week before Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida.
Among those in attendance were Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Peter Navarro, the director of the White House National Trade Council, and Steve Bannon, the president's chief strategist.
However, Ross said the presence of a deficit does not necessarily mean that retaliatory or remedial action would be taken.
Moments before he left the Oval Office, Trump had declared that the two orders would start a "great revival" for United States manufacturing, repeating his campaign message that trade pacts have caused factory jobs to flow overseas.
Now his administration appears to be taking a more cautious approach.
The White House said Trump later signed the orders in another room.
The second order aims to improve collection of anti-dumping and countervailing duties.
The action, put in motion by one of a pair of executive orders signed by the president, is part of his administration's efforts to reduce America's deficits and address what it says are unfair trading practices.
Much of that deficit data is already publicly available and well known, but Trump's initiative doubles down on his tough trade rhetoric and is being taken as a protectionist warning shot across the world. -China trade imbalance was mostly the result of differences in the two countries' economic structures and noted that China had a trade deficit in services.
According to him, his first executive order ensures that the government collects all duties imposed on foreign importers and those who break the rules would face severe consequences.
The Commerce Department and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) will undertake the study on U.S. trade deficits and report its findings to Trump in 90 days.
"Needless to say, the No. 1 source of the deficit is China", Ross argued, before listing more than a dozen other countries that would potentially be involved, including Germany, Japan and Mexico. Navarro said the U.S.is owed $2.8 billion that hasn't been collected from these types of trade abuse cases over the past fifteen years alone.
Trump administration officials have said they plan tougher enforcement of US trade remedy laws and will initiate more unilateral trade deals. "Today, I am signing two executive orders that send this message loud and clear, and that set the state for a great revival of American manufacturing".