American Coatings Association

Two New Executive Orders Focus on Trade


On March 31, President Trump signed two Executive Orders (EO) on trade issues: the EO on Establishing Enhanced Collection and Enforcement of Antidumping and Countervailing Duties and Violations of Trade and Customs Laws and the EO Regarding the Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits.

The first EO related to trade remedy duty collection directs the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and Commerce Department to issue a report within 90 days that identifies systemic trade abuses and non-reciprocal trade practices that are harming U.S. industries. The report will focus particularly on countries with which the United States runs a trade deficit. The report is to detail the major causes of trade deficits by country and product, including the extent to which the deficit is due to trade cheating or other inappropriate behavior; free trade agreements that have not lived up to their forecasted benefits; lax U.S. enforcement, currency manipulation or misalignment; World Trade Organization (WTO) constraints; systematic overcapacity; and other issues.

Per the EO, the intent is to use the findings of this report to provide the basis for appropriate trade enforcement and action.

The second EO on improved collection of trade remedy duties directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), working with other agencies, to improve the collection of antidumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders at the border by improving bonding requirements, and to take other measures to address risk assessments. This EO responds to the findings of a July 2016 General Accounting Office (GAO) report that found $2.3 billion in AD and CVD duties went uncollected through May 2015, citing inadequate bonding and risk assessment procedures.

Trade policy is one of ACA’s top federal priorities since the clear majority of U.S. paint and coatings companies are in the global marketplace. The U.S. market is largely open to imports from around the world, but some countries continue to levy tariffs on U.S. exports that, in some cases, are extremely high. Foreign governments have also erected other barriers against U.S. goods and services. America’s trade agreements, however, work to create a level playing field; and by tearing down foreign barriers to U.S. products, these agreements have a proven ability to make big markets even out of small economies.

ACA is encouraging the Trump Administration and Congress to work together to promote U.S. exports, remove tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. goods and services, and increase access to markets through free trade agreements and other bilateral and multilateral agreements.

Also on March 31, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released 2017 National Trade Estimate Report Foreign Trade Barriers. The report highlights challenges in China, including industrial overcapacity, cybersecurity challenges, and forced technology transfers, as well as other trade barriers, including tariffs, export subsidies and limitations, discriminatory localization policies, lack of intellectual property protection, and technical barriers to trade. The report also underscores trade barriers in India, Indonesia, Russia, Japan, and the European Union.

This annual report, mandated by Section 303 of the Trade and Tariff Act of 1984, covers trade barriers in more than 60 markets that protect foreign competitors and block access by U.S. goods and services to critical foreign markets, while also describing efforts by USTR and other U.S. government agencies to address those barriers.

This report is based upon information compiled within USTR, the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture, and other U.S. Government agencies, and supplemented with information provided in response to a notice published in the Federal Register, and by members of the private sector trade advisory committees and U.S. Embassies abroad.

Contact ACA’s Allen Irish for more information.