There was this:
President Trump on Wednesday said he would not label China a currency manipulator, contradicting one of the biggest economic promises he made on the campaign trail.
And there was also this:
COMMERCE TAKES ‘UNPRECEDENTED’ STEP IN TRADE CASE: The Trump administration flexed its enforcement muscles by taking the “unprecedented action” of invoking a new authority Congress granted under the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015. The action resulted in higher dumping margins on imports of oil country tubular goods — steel pipe used in oil extraction — from South Korea after an administrative review.
“There is fair and unfair trade, and the distinction is not very hard to make,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement late Tuesday announcing the action. “We will not stand for the distortions in foreign markets being used against U.S. businesses. The Trump administration will continue to employ all of the tools provided under the law to take swift action against harmful trade practices from foreign nations attempting to take advantage of our markets, workers, and businesses.”
The new authority allows the U.S. to apply a “particular market situation” as justification for ratcheting up duties -- which it did in this case by raising the maximum tariffs from 16 percent to 24.9 percent. In the South Korea case, the domestic industry argued that imports deserved more dire tariffs because of allegations that South Korean producers were using unfairly priced Chinese steel to make the pipe and tube. The so-called particular market situation of cheap Chinese steel in this case allowed Commerce to disregard home market prices or costs of production when calculating dumping margins.
Is this the future of Trump's trade policy? Pulling back on the most aggressive trade threats, and focusing instead on methodological and other changes that generate higher trade remedy duties?