A new US trade representative says the US should “cut” exports to Europe to ensure the region’s economies are “safe”.
International Trade Representative Michael Froman made the remarks in response to a question about whether the US would be able to “keep a lid on” trade to the European Union (EU).
Froman said the US is “very clear that if the United States is unable to keep a lid off on the trade deficit, then it’s going to have a difficult time competing in Europe”.
“If you think about it, what is the difference between having a surplus and having a deficit?” he said.
“So, in a sense, we’ve made a very clear commitment to the EU, in which we’re not going to trade with the EU in a way that’s going.
And that’s something we’ll continue to talk about in terms of the trade policy.”EU leaders have made it clear they are unhappy with the way the US has treated its own trade partners.EU President Donald Tusk has said US exports to the bloc have increased by nearly $2bn in the last five years, and there is widespread anger over how US exports are perceived.
The US is a member of the EU’s customs union, and US tariffs on EU products are set to rise.
Froman said “we would not be able, at this point, to make trade agreements with the United Kingdom, France or Germany without the United State taking part in the agreement”.
He also said “our ability to negotiate a deal with a trading partner that we can count on in the future is one of the most important things in negotiating trade deals”.
“We are not going out and trying to make deals with anybody,” he said, and the US trade relationship is “not going to be the same as it was five or 10 years ago”.
Froman, who was first elected in January, has been in the US since November 2016.
He has been tasked with overseeing the US’s response to the Paris climate agreement and has been critical of Trump.