Falls Church, VA. April 17, 2017. The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) has announced that it and the United States Trade Representative (USTR) have been directed by the President to prepare a study on the countries with which the United States has significant balance-of-trade deficits and the reasons for these deficits.

According to the DOC, the countries with which the United States had a significant trade deficit in 2016 (in alphabetical order) were Canada, China, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Among the subjects to be covered by the study are:

(1) The major causes of the trade deficit including, as applicable, differential tariffs, non-tariff barriers, injurious dumping, injurious government subsidization, intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, denial of worker rights and labor

standards, and any other form of discrimination against the commerce of the United States.

(2) The effects of the trade relationship on the production capacity and strength of the manufacturing and defense industrial bases of the United States.

(3) Identification of imports and trade practices that may be impairing the national security of the United States.

(4) The extent to which non-market economies create trade imbalances.

(5) The extent to which chronic industrial overcapacity resulting from government subsidies affect the U.S. trade deficit.

(6) The extent to which free trade agreements contributed to bilateral trade deficits.

While the impact of steel and other metal imports are not specifically mentioned in the DOC’s announcement, we expect that the U.S. steel and metals industries will submit comments – particularly with respect to items (1), (2), (4), and (5).

Comments are due by May 10, and the DOC and the USTR will hold a public hearing on May 18.

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