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Trump Preparing Executive Order To Review Trade Deals

| by Jordan Smith

The administration of President Donald Trump is preparing to issue executive orders calling for the review of all 14 U.S. free trade deals.

Trump is also expected to urge the government to reexamine its procurement processes to favor American companies, according to Reuters.

Anonymous sources in the administration say the orders could be issued as early as the week of March 27.

The North American Free Trade Agreement, which includes Canada and Mexico, is one of the main agreements the administration will review.

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Although White House media representatives refused to confirm the plans, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah welcomed the news.

"I think we've got to start moving," Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, told Reuters. "If he wants to do these unilaterally or bilaterally, he's got to get going on them."

Citing a document the Trump administration produced, The Economist reported that the Republican administration views reducing trade deficits as the second most important element in a trade deal.

However, the magazine also noted that the 14 free trade agreements Trump will target make up just two fifths of American two-way trade and only 10 percent of its trade deficit in goods. By contrast, 77 percent of America's trade deficit comes from trade with China, the European Union and Japan, none of which have a free trade deal with the U.S.

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Michael Froman, the trade representative under the Barack Obama administration, does not expect the review to help reduce America's trade deficit. Noting that such deals were about compromise, Froman said, "other countries have politics, too."

Trump has made clear since taking office that his administration would work to renegotiate some trade deals and pull out of others. After Trump gave his inaugural address on Jan. 20, the White House announced Washington was pulling out of the Trans Pacific Partnership, a free trade deal that included 12 countries.

"To carry out his strategy, the President is appointing the toughest and smartest to his trade team, ensuring that Americans have the best negotiators possible," a White House press release at the time stated, according to Auto News. "For too long, trade deals have been negotiated by, and for, members of the Washington establishment. President Trump will ensure that on his watch, trade policies will be implemented by and for the people, and will put America first."

In his inaugural address, Trump summed up his views on trade deals and public procurement with the statement, "buy American, hire American," Reuters notes.

"By fighting for fair but tough trade deals, we can bring jobs back to America’s shores, increase wages, and support U.S. manufacturing," the White House news release added, Auto News reports.

Sources: The Economist, Auto News, Reuters via Fortune / Photo credit: Sean Spicer/Wikimedia Commons

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