Trade order, campaign rally on Trump's 100th day

Cheryl Sanders
April 30, 2017

Back in Washington, media organizations and a few stars were gathering on Saturday for the annual White House Correspondents Association Dinner.

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Saturday seeking to identify any problems caused by the nation's existing trade agreements, including an examination of USA involvement in the World Trade Organization, a top trade official said.

Trump planned to sign an executive order directing the Commerce Department and the US trade representative to conduct a study of USA trade agreements. The aim is to determine whether America is being treated fairly by its trading partners and the 164-nation World Trade Organization. While Trump has billed the 100-day mark as a "ridiculous standard", he later said he would be holding the rally in Harrisburg to mark the occasion.

Trump will sign the order in Hampden, Pa., at the Ames True Temper Tool Company, according to WFMZ-TV.

Meanwhile, North Korea's missile launch Saturday signaled its continued defiance against the U.S., China and other nations, on which Trump tweeted: "Bad!"

At the 100-day mark, polls show that Trump's supporters during the campaign remain largely in his corner.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the US involvement with the WTO would be a key part of this review, and the findings could lead the country to try to amend how the organization operates.

All of those countries are WTO members, Ross said, except for Germany and Ireland, which only negotiate trade agreements as part of the European Union, and South Korea, which has a separate bilateral trade agreement with the United States.

A major problem with current U.S. trade policy and agreements, Ross remarked, is the United States being one of the least protectionist countries in the world for many years, which has enabled other countries with higher tariffs to have more leverage to negotiate free trade agreements. During the campaign, Trump railed against Obama's use of orders, which don't need congressional approval.

His return to Pennsylvania is a thank you, like the one he delivered to Florida voters last month in Tampa.

The order will task the two agencies and other government entities with taking "every appropriate and lawful action to address violations or abuses of trade law", the Commerce Department said. "They're fed up with some of the destructive practices", he said. "And the president heard that message".

The expected order will look at the United States' membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) in addition to NAFTA, Reuters said. The administration is also imposing duties on Canadian softwood timber and is investigating whether steel and aluminum imports pose a threat to national security.

Washington naively assumed China was "merely a more exotic version of Canada", Lighthizer once testified, and would learn to live within WTO rules and open its market to American exports; instead, China has limited foreign competition, manipulated its currency and subsidized its exporters.

Trump has pushed a model of "reciprocal trade" agreements in which the US would raise or lower tariffs on a country's imports depending on how that country treats the U.S.

Other reports by iNewsToday