Two White House officials confirmed that President Donald Trump has the power to force US companies to move their operations out of China, but clarified that no official order has yet been made by the US government.
“There’s nothing right now in the cards. Ultimately we do have such authority but it is not going to exercised presently,” White House economic director Larry Kudlow told CNN on Sunday. “What he is suggesting to American businesses and it’s something he’s said to many different companies in many different forms and many different occasions — you ought to think about moving your operations and supply chains away from China and secondly, we’d like you to come back home.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin shared similar comments to those made by Kudlow in an interview with Fox News Sunday, saying the president has “lots of options.” …According to the White House officials, the ability to force US companies to move their operations and supply chains from China would fall under the scope of the [Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977].
Under the Emergency Economic Powers Act, the US president has the power to regulate the commerce of US companies if a national emergency is declared against an “unusual and extraordinary threat”. This would trigger a special authority for the president to regulate “any transactions in foreign exchange” by Americans. While Trump has ordered various tariffs against China during the trade war, he has yet to declare a national emergency in respect to Chinese trade.
MacDailyNews Take: Seems more like a negotiating tactic than actually invoking the International Emergency Economic Powers Act in order to compel U.S. companies to move their operations out of China.