President Donald Trump is expected to urge Congress in his State of the Union address this month to pass new legislation that would expand his powers to break down non-tariff barriers to American exports, according to people familiar with the plan.
The bill, crafted by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro’s office along with the Trade Representative’s office and the Commerce Department, would seek to give the president broad authority to increase US tariffs if he considers other countries’ tariff and non-tariff measures to be too restrictive, a person briefed on the legislation said.
The White House has been working on the initiative, known as the US Reciprocal Trade Act, with a few House Republicans, the person said. The proposal to give Trump more authority to raise duties without congressional approval comes after failed attempts by Republican senators to rein in his trade and tariff powers.
The White House last year applied rarely used legal provisions to skirt Congress and slap tariffs on Chinese goods as well as steel and aluminum from most US trading partners.