German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries told reporters after a meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer late last week that the two officials had a “lively exchange” about their differing views of what causes the U.S. trade deficit with Germany, adding that she is confident they will make progress on key issues after agreeing to establish “continuous lines of communication.”
[Jenny Leonard] May 30th, 2017 [Inside Trade]
“We of course had differences, especially when it comes to how to reduce the U.S. trade deficit. We believe the U.S. should first and foremost become more competitive and export more, and Germany is willing to help with that,” Zypries said on May 26, according to an informal translation of her remarks.
“We do not believe that the sizeable U.S. trade deficit can be attributed to free trade agreements and we had a lively exchange with Ambassador Lighthizer about this,” she added.
Zypries said she and Lighthizer had different opinions about the reasons for the German trade surplus “because he said we would predominantly export manufactured goods to the U.S., whereas I said we mostly export machines and equipment.” The USTR and Zypries “agreed to look at this again together,” she added.
Asked whether she believes the U.S. will continue its attempts to reduce trade deficits, Zypries said “yes, of course,” and added that Washington is “seeking — especially in us — an ally in the fight against China. They believe the main trade deficit is with China, of course correctly so, and are very worried about that.”
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