US President Donald Trump on Friday vowed to target countries that are major contributors to America’s huge trade deficit and India figures in his ‘hit list’.
Trump also reiterated his resolve to root out unfair trade practices from the world and warned that those breaking the rules will face consequences.
"From now on those who break the rules will face the consequences, and there will be very severe consequences," Donald Trump said.
Taking the first step in this direction, Trump on Friday issued an executive order asking officials to pinpoint "cheaters" -- either countries or firms -- who are responsible for America's nearly $50 billion a month trade deficit.
Giving details of Trump’s executive order, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that it would result in analysts going "country by country, and product by product," reporting back to Trump within 90 days.
The US officials will look for evidence of "cheating," inappropriate behaviour, trade deals that have not lived up to their promise, lax enforcement, currency misalignment and troublesome World Trade Organization constraints.
"Needless to say the number one source of the deficit is China," Ross said.
The US Commerce Secretary listed more than a dozen other countries including India “that will potentially be involved."
The other countries listed by Ross are: Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
It’s not that the list of such countries is not in public domain and that’s why Trump’s order is being seen as a protectionist warning shot a week before he meets Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Florida resort.
"Thousands of factories have been stolen from our country, but these voiceless Americans now have a voice in the White House," Trump said.
“The well-being of America and the American worker is my North Star," he added.
Trump conceded that without the issue of trade, he would not have been US President.
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump had vowed to put America's trading relationship with the world on a more advantageous basis and follow the policy of "America first."