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Trump to sign executive order directing comprehensive review of major causes of trade deficits

All Headlines 01:06 April 01, 2017

WASHINGTON, March 31 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump will sign an executive order directing a comprehensive review of major sources of trade deficits, officials said, as they named South Korea one of the 16 countries the U.S. runs large deficits with.

The executive order calls for the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative to come up within 90 days with a report on detailed causes of trade deficits "country-by-country, product-by-product," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said at a briefing previewing the order.

"It will form the basis for decision making by the administration," he said.

Ross named 16 countries that the U.S. runs major trade deficits with.

"Needless to say the No. 1 source of deficit is China with some $347 billion, Japan with $69 billion, Germany $65 billion, Mexico $63 billion, Ireland $36 billion, Vietnam $32 billion, Italy $28 billion, South Korea $28 billion, Malaysia $25, India $24, Thailand $19, France $16, Switzerland $14, Taiwan $13, Indonesia $13, Canada $11," he said.

"These actions are designed to let the world know that this is another step in the president fulfilling his campaign promise" to tackle trade abuses, Ross said.

During the campaign, Trump blamed free trade deals for being a key cause of job losses and other American economic problems in an attempt to woo voters struggling with economic difficulties. Since taking office, Trump also made protection of American workers and companies from foreign competitors his No. 1 priority.

In January, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the massive Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement and has stepped up attacks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), spurring concern that his next target could be the pact with Korea that he denounced as a job-killing deal during the campaign.

Early this month, the U.S. trade representative released an annual trade policy report highlighting negative effects of the Korea trade pact, arguing that the pact "coincided with a dramatic increase in our trade deficit" with the South.

The report was seen as a strong indication that the U.S. could seek a renegotiation of the pact.

Trump to sign executive order directing comprehensive review of major causes of trade deficits - 1

jschang@yna.co.kr
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