Trump Weighs Moves to Target Commodity Dumping Into U.S.

  • Order calling for probe of trade practices is under discussion
  • Aluminum, steel imports said be among goods to be scrutinized

Trump Takes Aim at Dumping of Commodities Into U.S.

The Trump administration is considering a presidential directive that would take aim at other countries’ trading practices by calling for investigations into the possible dumping of commodities, including steel and aluminum, according to a U.S. official.

The executive order would call for a review of trading practices, including whether foreign companies are unfairly dumping steel and aluminum into the U.S. at below-market prices, according to the official, who described the proposal on condition of anonymity because it’s not final.

The directive is still in the discussion stages, and the timing of any move is still fluid, the official said. The discussions were reported earlier by Axios.

Complaints about dumping have been made regularly by the U.S. steel industry for decades, targeting competition from Asia and Europe. Congress in 2015 passed legislation making it easier to file cases unfair trade cases. Most recently, in February, the Commerce Department announced anti-dumping duties against certain types of Chinese steel.

President Donald Trump made addressing what he called unfair foreign trade practices a centerpiece of his 2016 White House bid. One of his first acts in office was to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal negotiated by his predecessor, yet other key promises on trade remain unfulfilled, such as renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement and imposing border taxes on companies that move production overseas.

Trade was at the top of the agenda for Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping as they met late last week in Florida. The two leaders concluded their meeting without any major breakthroughs on trade or investment, though the two countries agreed to a “100-day plan” to discuss ways to reduce trade imbalances.

Separately, the Financial Times reported in its Monday edition that China will offer concessions to avert a trade war with the U.S., citing unidentified Chinese and U.S. officials. Those moves were said to include offering better access for U.S. financial products and ending a years-long ban on imports of U.S. beef.

Trump lauded the “goodwill and friendship” formed by Xi’s visit to Mar-a-Lago, Florida, estate. “But only time will tell on trade,” he said in a message Saturday on Twitter.

The Commerce Department defines dumping as when a foreign producer sells a product in the U.S. priced below the sales price in its home market or lower than the cost of production. It is usually done to undercut foreign competition.

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