Political News

Trump Exaggerates Trade Deficit With European Union by $50 Billion

Posted June 7, 2018 8:37 p.m. EDT


“Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the U.S. massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers. The EU trade surplus with the U.S. is $151 Billion, and Canada keeps our farmers and others out. Look forward to seeing them tomorrow.”


This is exaggerated.

President Donald Trump’s numbers are off. The European Union had a $153 billion trade surplus in goods with the United States in 2017 and a total trade surplus of $101 billion when trade in services is included.

This means that the European Union exported more goods to the United States than it imported. Put another way, the United States had a total trade deficit of $101 billion with the European Union.

Trump often ignores trade in services — like finance, technology and law — when making claims about the trade balance. He has done so against the advice of most economists and his own economic report, as The New York Times reported in March:

Trump’s preoccupation with trade in goods contradicts his own White House economic report, which he signed and was released in February.

The United States’ economy has shifted “away from manufacturing and toward service provision industries” in recent decades, according the report. “Focusing only on the trade in goods alone ignores the United States’ comparative advantage in services.”

Trump’s Twitter post Thursday evening followed one from President Emmanuel Macron of France, who accused the American leader of isolationism. The dueling Twitter posts previewed a two-day meeting in Canada with the Group of 7 industrialized nations.

Sources: Census Bureau, Twitter, The New York Times