Trump seeks free and fair trade, reforms in international institutions

WASHINGTON, Apr 28: Seeking a free and fair trade with other countries with which the US has trade deficit, President Donald Trump today asked for reforms in international financial institutions, including the World Trade Organization, which has not treated America “well”.

“We must have a fair and reciprocal trading relationship with our friends and partners. We have a trade deficit in goods with the European Union of approximately, hard to believe, USD 151 billion a year, including a USD 50 billion annual trade deficit in autos and auto parts,” he told reporters at a joint White House news conference with the visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Trump said he was committed to work with Merkel to reduce barriers for US exports to deepen economic ties between the two countries.

He welcomed Merkel’s partnership in promoting major reforms to international organisations, like the World Trade Organization, “which has not treated the United States well, to protect sovereignty and ensure fairness”.

Merkel said it was important to see that “very close” relations on trade exist between Germany and the European Union on the one hand and the United States on the other.

“We want fair trade. We want a trade that is in line with the multilateral trading system of the WTO,” she said.

“For many, many years, the WTO has not been able to bring about international agreements. So bilateral agreements may well replace that, that’s something that we, on behalf of the European Union, already have done and have negotiated with a number of countries over the past few years,” Merkel said.

She said the US and Germany have been able to reduce trade surplus between them.

“Our trade surplus that is with the United States, but we still have a long way to go. But the United States, also due to the tax reform, again has become a very interesting place to invest for our companies,” Merkel said.

Trump insisted that there needs to be a “reciprocal relationship, which is not there”.

“The US right now has a trade deficit with the European Union of USD 151 billion. And the chancellor and I have discussed it today at length and we’re working on it. We want to make it more fair and the chancellor wants to make it more fair,” he said. (PTI)