February 26, 2020

Trump’s Next Trade Fight Could Be With Europe

Such an outcome would be a positive step forward for a strained relationship. Mr. Trump has accused Europe of unfair trade practices, at times saying they are “worse” than China’s. Administration officials privately accuse their European counterparts of being out-of-touch bureaucrats who would meddle in American sovereignty and impede Mr. Trump’s ability to keep his promises to his voters on trade.

And they say that the W.T.O., an outgrowth of Europe’s zealous faith in multilateralism, has failed to confront the world’s biggest economic challenges, like competition from China, which has cost American factory jobs.

One big area of contention for Mr. Trump and his advisers is the fact that Europe ships more goods to the United States than it purchases in return — $169 billion more in 2018, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative. They see trade deficits as a sign of failure in trading relationships, though most economists disagree.

In an interview with the Fox Business Network in December, Mr. Lighthizer said the United States had a “very unbalanced” relationship with the European Union on trade, and that reducing the trade deficit with Europe was “something the president cares about.”

Mr. Hogan dismissed that argument in his remarks on Wednesday. He pointed out that the United States economy was mostly powered by services, like health care, finance and technology, rather than goods, and that the United States ran a surplus with Europe in services, supporting jobs and wealth.

Mr. Hogan also said the European Union may bring a case to the W.T.O. about the new deal between the United States and China if it determines that it violates global trading rules.

He did not limit his barbs to the United States. He also dismissed the claims by Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, that Britain, which is in the process of separating from the European Union, would reach a comprehensive trade deal with Europe this year. Such an outcome, he said, was “just not possible.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/16/business/economy/trump-EU-trade-fight.html?emc=rss&partner=rss

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