US has 'very unfair' trade relationship with EU: Trump

The United States' trade deficit with the EU reached nearly $169 billion in 2018

The U.S. has a "very unfair" trade relationship with the European Union, President Trump said Tuesday during a NATO summit in London.

The United States' trade deficit with the EU reached nearly $169 billion in 2018 and has reached more than $133 billion so far in 2019, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

"I came into a position where the European Union was making anywhere from $100-$150 billion a year in deficits to the United States. They were making it and we were losing it, and so we had to do something that is fair," Trump said during a bilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at the summit.

President Trump sits for lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron, right, at the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, southwest France, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

"We're losing tremendous amounts of money," Trump said. "As you know, the EU is very strong on barriers. ... Some of our products can't come in, including agricultural products. ... And yet, the EU sells openly to the U.S. and generally untaxed or taxed at a low level. So, these are problems that we're talking about. These are problems we're working out."


The president added that France's digital tax -- which would place a 3 percent tax on American tech companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon in France -- is the "least" of the two countries' problems.

Trump said EU countries are taking advantage of the U.S. "very brilliantly," adding, "It's not right. I've exposed it. A lot of people didn't know it. We're doing this about it ... because the U.S. can't continue to lose the kind of money that they've lost over the last -- literally since the formation of the EU."

President Donald Trump waves as he walks toward Air Force One on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., for a trip to the NATO Summit in London. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

"We have a very unfair trade situation where the U.S. loses a lot of money for many years with the EU. Billions and billions of dollars. To be specific, over $150 billion a year," he concluded.

The U.S. contributes nearly 22 percent of NATO's annual $2.5 billion budget split between 28 partner countries, which Trump plans to cut to 16 percent.

The president's comments came after he reacted to Macron's early November interview with The Economist in which he said the United States' actions in Syria are contributing to the "brain death" of NATO. Trump called Macron's comments "very, very nasty."