President Donald Trump signed two executive orders on trade Friday - one dealing with a review of the US trade deficit and another to strengthen anti-dumping rules and enforcement.

China was the biggest contributor to the US$734 billion (S$1 trillion) USA goods trade deficit past year, and the meeting "will be a very hard one" said Mr Trump in a tweet.

US President Donald Trump has signed two executive orders meant to step up trade enforcement.

One order calls for the completion of a large-scale report that will track trade deficits country-by-country and product-by-product, while the other would improve the collection of duties on imports.

During the signing ceremony, White House pool reporters asked Trump questions about his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has offered to testify on Russian involvement in the USA election in return for immunity from prosecution.

The second executive order calls on the Commerce Department and US trade representative to produce a comprehensive report to identify "every possible cause of the USA trade deficit".

The study which will be completed in 90 days will be the first "systematic analysis" of the trade deficit's causes, "country-by-country and product-by-product".

Talking to White House reporters, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross insisted that the executive orders were not just about China.

The US has its highest trade deficit with China, at 347 billion dollars (£278 billion) previous year.

Niles-area Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan accused Trump of "theatric signings of executive orders that do very little, instead of. the bold action he promised like declaring China a currency manipulator on day one or looking at ways to fix NAFTA".

The pair of orders are expected a week before Mr Trump meets the Chinese president at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

Both Ross and Navarro also made clear that both executive orders would tackle the sources of the US' trade deficit with China, which Trump argues has led to the loss of millions of USA jobs and the decline of U.S. manufacturing.

"India and the USA must trade more in energy, generic pharma and defence if the intention is to bring down trade deficit". "While initiating a new a federal report is a common way to avoid fixing problems, the real test will be whether the Administration takes action to create jobs and reduce the trade deficit. This is a story about trade abuses".

"President Trump carried OH largely on his promises to correct this massive job outsourcing and enormous trade imbalance that has hammered Ohio's workers and businesses since NAFTA's passage", she noted. Trump paused, and after a brief exchange with Pence - which is sadly inaudible in the video posted by the White House - the president left the room. Its findings would serve as a guideline for the government to develop trade policies going forward in a "very measured and analytical way".

"Thousands of factories have been stolen from our country, but these voiceless Americans now have a voice in the White House", Trump said.

China has repeatedly been accused of violating United States anti-dumping laws, although Navarro claimed the order was not directed at China.

"Nothing we're saying tonight is about China", Navarro said.

The directives allow President Trump to focus on meeting his campaign promises to combat the flow of unfairly traded imports into the United States just a week after his pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare imploded in Congress. Let's not make this a China story. "This is a story about trade abuses, this is a story about under-collection of duties, this is a story about 40 countries that basically subsidize their products and send them into our country or dump their products, and this is about collecting those products and defending American workers and manufacturing".

He added that other questions will include the extent to which the deficit was caused by free trade agreements that did not produce the "forecast benefit for our country".


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