White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow asserted on Sunday that President Donald Trump has the power to order private American companies to cease doing business with China, despite questions over the legality of such a demand.
“Ultimately he does have authority,” Kudlow told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “It’s an emergency economic power authority. So, in theory that law exists, but that’s not what the president said. He’s asking American companies to take a look, take a fresh look at frankly moving out of China. Go in someplace else, preferably coming home to America.”
White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow tells @margbrennan the president does have “authority to block private businesses from investing in China.” But he added “He is not intending to right now. That is not his intention.” pic.twitter.com/bO0UNKGjb9
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) August 25, 2019
In a series of tweets on Friday, Trump declared that U.S. companies “are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.”
However, is is unclear whether the edict, if enforced, would withstand potential legal challenges. Trump cited the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977, which, according to the Congressional Research Service, gives him “authority to regulate a variety of economic transactions following a declaration of national emergency.”
However, he must first consult with Congress, declare an emergency and provide an explanation for the action.
Overall, the extent of Trump’s power under the act has been debated.
According to The New York Times, trade and international law experts have generally concluded that the president could punish companies for working in China, but ordering them back to the U.S. entirely may be crossing the line.
Furthermore, Kudlow acknowledged that relocating companies would take years, saying “that’s why there’s no immediate action here” and claiming that Trump “just put that out there.”
“Maybe the way it was phrased was a little tougher than usual, but come home. Come home to America,” Kudlow continued. This is the best place to work and live and earn and invest.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.