– This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on May 2, Tuesday.
Welcome to CNBC Business Daily, I'm Qian Chen.
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said the Trump administration is waiting for Congress to grant trade promotion authority to push ahead on renegotiating trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement.
However, ahead of the talk, the US will impose preliminary anti-subsidy duties averaging 20 percent on imports of Canadian softwood lumber, escalating a long-running trade dispute between the two neighbors. According to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, unfair subsidies have been given to Canadian competitors who procure their timber from government lands at cheaper rates.
[Wilbur Ross, U.S. Secretary of Commerce] "The Canadians until recently had 31.5% market share here and a lot of it was being dumped. What happens is in many of the provinces, the forests are owned by the province and the province charges an artificially low rate for what they call Stumpage, the right to take down the trees. Then that rate gets passed into the marketplace. So it's not a proper means of competition."
Meanwhile, Trump also raised eyebrows after he lashed out at Canada, suggesting the country was unfairly disadvantaging U.S. dairy products.
The recent rhetorics are seen as Trump setting stage for NAFTA talks, which Wilbur Ross sees as a window to fix the rules of origin a priority.
U.S. negotiators might seek changes in the rules of origin that dictate how much of a final product must be made from material produced in the U.S., Canada or Mexico to qualify for duty reductions.
[Wilbur Ross, U.S. Secretary of Commerce] "The rules of origin in NAFTA need some tightening. Rules of origin are what let material outside of NAFTA to come in and benefit from all the taxes and tariff reductions within NAFTA. It was a silly idea to let a lot of outside stuff in. The whole idea of a trade deal is to build a fence around participants inside and give them an advantage over the outside, so there's a conceptual flaw in that, one of many conceptual flaws in NAFTA."
The administration is consulting with Congress over precise negotiating objectives, which might include a right to re-impose temporarily tariffs, expanding market access, and fixing anti-dumping or anti-subsidy duties, etc.
CNBC's Qian Chen, reporting from Singapore.