The U. S. runs a trade deficit. In order to get more leverage for protectionism that will harm the U. S. economy the administration is thinking of fixing the books so the trade deficit looks larger.
"The leading idea under consideration would exclude from U.S. exports any goods first imported into the country, such as cars, and then transferred to a third country like Canada or Mexico unchanged, these people told The Wall Street Journal.
Economists say that approach would inflate trade deficit numbers because it would typically count goods as imports when they come into the country but not count the same goods when they go back out, known as re-exports."
Basic conservative playbook. If yu can't win on the merits, change the rules.