Trump adviser Navarro: U.S, Germany should discuss trade outside EU

Mon Mar 6, 2017 3:53pm EST
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By David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Trump administration trade adviser Peter Navarro said on Monday the $65 billion U.S. trade deficit with Germany was "one of the most difficult" trade issues, and bilateral discussions were needed to reduce it outside of European Union restrictions.

Navarro, the director of the new White House National Trade Council, also in an address to economists in Washington depicted chronic trade deficits as a threat to national security and said the Trump administration would seek to "reclaim" parts supply chains that had moved overseas.

Navarro said that Germany has too long used the argument that the EU dictates its trade policy and that it does not control the value of the euro.

"I think that it would be useful to have candid discussions with Germany about ways that we could possibly get that deficit reduced outside the boundaries and restrictions that they claim that they are under," Navarro told a National Association for Business Economics conference.

"But it's a serious issue. Germany is one of the most difficult trade deficits that we're going to have to deal with but we're thinking long and hard about that."

He said an visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Washington next week could include discussions on how to improve the U.S.-German economic relationship as part of the administration's agenda to make trade "free, fair and reciprocal."

Navarro's comments follow his complaints last month that Germany was exploiting a weak euro to gain a trade advantage.

But the Trump adviser, who shares the trade policy spotlight with new U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said he would wait until a Treasury currency report due in mid-April to learn whether China is manipulating its currency and the yuan is undervalued.   Continued...

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump, watched by (L-R) Vice President Mike Pence, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, head of the White House Trade Council Peter Navarro and senior advisor Jared Kushner, signs an executive order that places a hiring freeze on non-military federal workers in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington January 23, 2017.   REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque