White House preparing for trade crackdown

President Donald Trump’s administration is preparing to unveil an aggressive trade crackdown in the coming weeks that is likely to include new tariffs aimed at countering China’s and other economic competitors’ alleged unfair trade practices, according to three administration officials.

Trump is tentatively scheduled to meet with Cabinet secretaries and senior advisers as soon as this week to begin finalizing decisions on a slew of pending trade fights involving everything from imports of steel and solar panels to Chinese policies regarding intellectual property, according to one of the administration officials.

Senior aides are also laying plans to use Trump’s State of the Union address at the end of the month to flesh out the president’s trade vision and potentially preview a more aggressive posture toward China, according to the official.

Aides stressed that the specifics are still in flux, but multiple officials told POLITICO that internal conversations have moved beyond Continue reading “White House preparing for trade crackdown”

U.S. trade gap soars as imports from China hit record high

The U.S. trade deficit jumped 8.6 percent in October as imports from China and other suppliers hit a record high ahead of the holiday shopping season, a Commerce Department report released Tuesday showed.

The monthly trade gap totaled $48.7 billion, the highest level for a full month since President Donald Trump took office on Jan. 20.

Ahead of the election, a Trump campaign adviser asserted they could eliminate the deficit in one or two years. Instead, the 2017 deficit is on track to exceed the 2016 level of $505 billion.

Imports of goods and services hit a record high of $244.6 billion as the U.S. economy continued to strengthen and suck in more goods from abroad. Imports totaled $48.2 billion from China, $39.4 billion from the EU and $28.7 billion from Mexico — all record highs.

In addition, the average price for Continue reading “U.S. trade gap soars as imports from China hit record high”

Trump’s idea of new NAFTA deal is ‘take, take, take,’ Canadian envoy says

The United States promised Canada and Mexico a new "win, win, win" NAFTA deal, but the Trump administration’s approach is more like “take, take, take,” Canada’s ambassador to the United States told POLITICO.

"If what is happening here is the negotiation is all about how do we increase production in the United States — whether it be in autos or anywhere else — at the expense of Canada and Mexico, this is not going to end well,” Ambassador David MacNaughton said in an interview at the Canadian Embassy. “What we need to do is find a way where we can see jobs created in the United States, and also in Canada.”

The candid comments Wednesday came in response to U.S. complaints that Canada has not seriously engaged in talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement. President Donald Trump’s promise to renegotiate or else withdraw from the Continue reading “Trump’s idea of new NAFTA deal is ‘take, take, take,’ Canadian envoy says”

Trump ratchets up pressure on China with rare trade action

The Trump administration fired a trade salvo at China on Tuesday by launching a pair of investigations that could lead to steep duties on imports of aluminum sheet valued at more than $600 million.

The move was the first time a U.S. administration has “self-initiated” an anti-dumping or countervailing duty case in at least 25 years and marked an escalation of the Trump administration’s antagonistic trade relationship with Beijing.

Most trade remedy cases begin with a petition, whether it be filed by an industry group, a collection of companies, or even an individual firm. Such petitions generally accuse foreign producers of selling products in the U.S. at unfairly low — or “dumped” — prices, or they take issue with a foreign company receiving government subsidies that give them an unfair advantage.

But in this case, the Trump administration took action in the absence of a petition as it Continue reading “Trump ratchets up pressure on China with rare trade action”

Trump’s trade boasts in Asia mask looming China problem

President Donald Trump may be boasting that his Asia trip will multiply into more than a "trillion dollars’ worth of stuff," but the real work on trade has been left undone.

All his braggadocio on business deals struck on his trip belie the simmering trade tensions between the U.S. and China that many analysts believe will now come to the fore.

“For me, we’re moving inexorably toward the edge of the cliff,” said Dan Ikenson, head of the Cato Institute’s Center for Trade Policy Studies.

Despite Trump’s glee over $250 billion in corporate deals announced in Beijing, he personally had little hand in them and they collectively did nothing to address his main grievance over Chinese industrial policies that restrict American firms and contribute to the large trade deficit between the world’s two biggest economies.

Bloomberg did a detailed look at the deals announced during the stop in China Continue reading “Trump’s trade boasts in Asia mask looming China problem”

Trump’s Asia trip highlights lack of trade deals

President Donald Trump is likely to tout new business deals as he barnstorms through Asia this week, but his trip is highlighting a broader failure on the world stage: None of the countries he’s visiting wants to negotiate a two-way trade deal with the United States.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to celebrate a number of new business agreements when the two leaders meet on Wednesday and Thursday, thanks to a delegation of nearly 30 American companies that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has brought to Beijing. Xi could also announce progress in policy areas ranging from investment to drug approvals. Trump has also talked about making arms sales to South Korea and Japan.

But by pulling out of the 12-nation TPP on his third day in office, Trump walked away from free trade deals with Japan, the world’s third largest economy, and from Vietnam, one of the Continue reading “Trump’s Asia trip highlights lack of trade deals”

U.S. trade deficit grew again under Trump in September

The U.S. trade deficit widened in September and remained on track in President Donald Trump’s first year to exceed the 2016 level, a Commerce Department report Friday showed.

The trade gap, which measures the difference between imports and exports, increased 1.7 percent in September to $43.5 billion. The deficit for the first 9 months of the year totaled $405.2 billion, compared to $370.7 billion during the same period in 2016.

During the presidential campaign, Trump and his surrogates railed against the size of the deficit, with key campaign aide Peter Navarro, who is now a White House adviser, asserting they could eliminate the trade deficit "within a year or two."

The trade gap with China, which Trump repeatedly blasted during last year’s campaign, decreased slightly in September to $34.6 billion.

But it also remains on track to exceed the 2016 level. It totaled Continue reading “U.S. trade deficit grew again under Trump in September”