During the signing ceremony on Friday, White House pool reporters asked Mr. Trump questions about his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has offered to testify on alleged Russian involvement in the U.S. election in return for immunity from prosecution.
During his campaign, Trump promised to make a fair trade deal for the United States.
However, Ross said the presence of a deficit does not necessarily mean that retaliatory or remedial action would be taken. And the order on trade duties appears to duplicate the standards of a trade enforcement act signed into law by then-President Obama in 2016, according to congressional staff.
The signing comes a week before Trump is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The U.S. has its highest trade deficit with China at $347 billion a year ago. "This is a story about trade abuses, this is a story about an under-collection of duties", he told reporters at a Thursday evening briefing.
President Trump will sign two executive orders attacking the nation's trade deficit on Friday, targeting trade agreements, intellectual property theft and $2.8 billion in unpaid duties.
Earlier on Friday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who is taking the lead on producing the large-scale report, called enforcement a "very primary objective of this administration on trade", during an interview with Bloomberg. In some cases, for instance, the USA simply can't produce enough of a product to meet domestic demand.
The first calls for a report every imbalance contributing to the current USA trade deficit.
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In January, Trump withdrew the US from the massive Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement and has stepped up attacks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), spurring concern that his next target could be the pact with Korea that he denounced as a job-killing deal during the campaign.
This may be an acknowledgement that any meaningful progress with China could be slow, said David Dollar, a former World Bank and U.S. Treasury Department official.
Despite Trump's campaign rhetoric, Ross said the report would not focus extensively on currency manipulation, which is under the purview of the U.S. Treasury Department.
The second executive order Trump is to sign Friday calls for using the results of the analysis described above to strengthen the federal government's ability to prevent product dumping and other forms of trade cheating.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel charged the step breached global trade rules and unfairly disadvantaged suppliers in Germany, as well as in Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
The proposals being considered by United States customs officials could impose more substantial bonding requirements at the border or examine products' risk more stringently.
Though the orders come just a week before Trump will welcome Chinese President Xi to his Florida estate - where the two leaders are expected to discuss trade extensively - Ross and Navarro said the actions should not be interpreted as putting China on notice.
He has promised tougher enforcement of U.S. trade laws and more anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases initiated by the Commerce Department, rather than relying on companies to claim injuries from imports.