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US President Donald Trump to examine trade imbalances with over 15 countries, including China and India

Trump has signed executive orders to address UsA's increasing imbalanced trade deficit

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US President Donald Trump, VOA
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Washington, Mar 31, 2017: US President Donald Trump is again ready to take actions regarding South Asia, especially India and China.He has signed executive orders instructing his administration to examine the cause of trade imbalances with over 15 countries, including China and India.

As Donald Trump is soon to meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping,it is being assumed that the prime target of these orders is China. However, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, during his interaction with White House reporters, insisted that the executive order expected to be signed today is not just about China.

It is about all major countries with which the United States has significant trade deficit.
Having a look at statistics, The US has a massive trade deficit of USD 347 billion with China, followed by Japan (USD 68.9), Germany (USD 64.9), Mexico (USD 63.2 billion), Ireland (USD 35.9 billion) and Vietnam (USD 32 billion)and India(USD 24 billion).
“This is not meant to say that everybody on this little list is an evil doer. That’s not the case,” Ross said, noting that China is the number one source of trade deficit.

As per the executive order, Ross said President would instruct the Department of Commerce and the US Trade Representative to review and report back to him within 90 days on actionable items to reduce the trade deficits, mentioned PTI.

Echoing similar views, Peter Navarro, Director of White House National Trade Council, said, “Nothing we’re saying tonight is about China. 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 subsidise 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,” Navarro said.

According to Navaro, USD 2.8 billion in import taxes imposed against violators of US anti-dumping laws have gone uncollected since 2001.

“For the first time, we’re looking at what’s been the source of the large and persistent trade deficit that has contributed to job losses,” he said.

-prepared by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram Twitter @NikitaTayal6

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U.S. Welcomes Pakistan’s Actions Towards Peace in Afghanistan

Pakistani officials say their influence over the Taliban has significantly declined over the years because the insurgents have gained control over large areas of Afghanistan

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Imran Khan, Pakistan, Afghanistan,
Pakistan"s Prime Minister Imran Khan is seen during talks in Beijing, China, VOA

The United States said Saturday it welcomes actions Pakistan is taking to promote a negotiated solution to the war in neighboring Afghanistan.

The acknowledgement came a day after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced his country has arranged another round of Washington’s peace talks with the Afghan Taliban scheduled for Monday.

“The United States welcomes any actions by the Pakistani government to promote greater cooperation, including fostering negotiations between the Taliban, the Afghan government, and other Afghans,” a U.S. embassy spokesperson in Kabul told VOA.

US negotiator

U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, has met, and will continue to meet, with all interested parties, including the Taliban, to support a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan, the spokesperson added.

Neither Khan nor the U.S. spokesperson have disclosed the possible venue for the upcoming meeting with Taliban officials.

Some Afghan sources say Monday’s meeting will take place in Islamabad, but no official confirmation is available.

USA, afghanistan
U.S. special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, talks with local reporters at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 18, 2018. VOA

Khalilzad, who is visiting regional countries to gather support for Afghan peace talks, is to lead the U.S. delegation in talks with insurgent representatives. This will not be the first time Khalilzad has met with the Taliban.

Since taking office in September, the special U.S. envoy has held two publicly known rounds of preliminary discussions with insurgent negotiators in Qatar, where the Taliban runs its so-called political office. The talks have been for the sake of talks, according to insurgent and other sources aware of the meetings.

Trump’s letter to Khan

U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this month wrote a formal letter to Khan asking for his help to bring the Taliban to the table for negotiations. A day later, Khalilzad visited Islamabad where he met with Khan and his military chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, to follow-up on Trump’s request, Pakistani officials say.

Speaking in northwestern city of Peshawar on Friday, Khan said the U.S. has changed its tune by requesting help instead of saying Islamabad is not doing enough, as U.S. officials have previously insisted.

“By the grace of Allah, the dialogue is now happening inshallah [God willing] on the 17th [Khan did not mention the month] and Pakistan has facilitated the talks between America and the Taliban,” Khan said. He did not share further details.

taliban, afghanistan
Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, right, head of the Taliban’s political council in Qatar, takes part in the multilateral peace talks on Afghanistan in Moscow, Nov. 9, 2018. VOA

Khan recounted Friday that critics used to mock him as “Taliban Khan” for saying the Afghan war could not be ended without political negotiations but now all key stakeholders are jointly working to pursue a political settlement to end the violence in Afghanistan.

“If peace were achieved, God willing, Peshawar will change and become a hub of commerce and tourism, as things around the 2,500 years old living city are likely to change,” Khan said Friday.

Ambassador Khalilzad is 13 days into an 18-day visit to the region. He has traveled to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Belgium and plans to visit the U.A.E. and Qatar.

Withdrawal an issue

Pakistani officials privy to the U.S. interaction with the Taliban have told VOA that until now no progress has been achieved because the insurgents adamantly demand “a date or timeframe” for all foreign troops to withdraw from Afghanistan before the Taliban decides to participate in an intra-Afghan peace process.

Also Read: What to Make of Taliban’s Continued Rare Silence on Ghani’s Peace Offer? 

U.S. officials have long maintained Taliban leaders are sheltering in Pakistan with covert support from the country’s intelligence agency. Washington has been urging Islamabad to use its influence to bring the insurgents to the negotiating table.

Pakistani officials say their influence over the Taliban has significantly declined over the years because the insurgents have gained control over large areas of Afghanistan and continue to pose serious battlefield challenges for U.S.-backed Afghan security forces. (VOA)