U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who will hold tariff talks with European officials, told FOX Business that previous administrations within both political parties allowed outdated trade policies to continue after World War II.
“Concessions that were perfectly logical to make to Germany in 1951 are no longer at all appropriate, same with Japan,” Ross said in an interview with FOX Business’ Lou Dobbs.
Ross’s discussions with EU members about trade policy and eliminating tariffs on U.S. imports will follow Trump’s decision to impose a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports last week.
“For the first time, there’s a good chance that we will have consorted international action dealing with overproduction, dealing with subsidized dumping and dealing with overcapacity,” he said.
Speaking in Pennsylvania on Saturday, the president talked about the Europeans’ poor treatment of American farmers and manufacturers.
“I said, open up your countries, that’s countries, they banded together. Why did they band together? To screw the United States on trade and that’s ok. They are allowed, you know,” Trump said.
The loss of trillions of dollars in economic growth from the trade deficit threatens the country’s national security, according to Ross.
“Economic security is military security,” Ross said. “Without a strong economy, without improving our relative balance sheet, without improving our cash flow, it’s going to be very hard to defend ourselves in a world that’s filled with actual and potential enemies,” he said.
The Commerce Secretary says he expects to reduce Europe’s trade barrier in an expedited manner, but expects challenges when dealing with the bureaucratic European Commission.
“The decision process in Europe is even more complicated than here because you have all the separate countries, but they can’t literally negotiate for themselves. They have to go through the European Commission,” he said.