US President Donald Trump has signed two executive orders intended to step up trade enforcement.

The Republican inked the orders on 30 March, giving the go-ahead for an investigation into the reason behind US trade deficits and violations of trade rules, The Hill reported.

Tough talk on trade, Trump said as he signed the orders, was what won him the popular vote. He claimed that he would restore American manufacturing.

"Thousands of factories have been stolen from our country. But these voiceless Americans now have a voice in the White House," Trump said in comments carried by the political news site.

"Under my administration the theft of American prosperity will end.

"We're going to defend our industry and create a level playing field for the American worker, finally."

The president explained that there would also be a plan to collect the taxes imposed on foreign exporters who broke trade rules.

"Nobody has ever made bad trade deals like our country has made," he said in a dig at the previous administration.

The president took to Twitter prior to signing the orders to share his thoughts on trade with China – a subject he discussed frequently during his election campaign.

The US has a trade deficit of $347bn (£277bn) with China – something Trump said in his Tweet he did not want to continue.