(CN) - President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order aimed at slashing federal regulations on small businesses.
During a signing ceremony in the Oval Office, as several small business leaders looked on, Trump explained the order requires federal agencies wanting to pass a new rule for businesses to cut two existing regulations.
Trump said the order will reduce the regulatory burdens on the private sector, particularly small businesses.
"If you have a regulation you want, number one, we're not going to approve it because it's already been approved probably in 17 different forms," the president said.
"But if we do, the only way you have a chance is we have to knock out two regulations for every new regulation. So if there's a new regulation, they have to knock out two," he said.
Last week, the White House placed a temporary
regulatory freeze on federal agencies. Monday's order codifies new rules for moving forward. However, it does not apply to the military and national security agencies, and there is also an exception to allow flexibility in responding to emergencies.
Prior to signing the order, Trump met with small business owners in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, telling them his administration is "going to create an environment for small business like we haven't had in many, many decades."
“The American dream is back," he continued. "This isn’t a knock on President Obama; this is a knock on many presidents preceding me.”
Trump said small businesses employ more than 56 million people in the United States -- about 48 percent of the private-sector workforce.
He repeated his goal of having up to 75 percent of federal regulations reduced or eliminated on his watch.
“Regulation has been horrible for big business, but it’s been worse for small business,” he said, noting that small businesses cannot hire the talent and compliance personnel that larger businesses do.
“I’ve dealt with the small businesses and the big businesses, and I love you all the same,” Trump said.