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Trump warns Germany that trade terms may be changing

President Donald Trump (R) holds a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the East Room of the White House on March 17, 2017 in Washington, DC.
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President Donald Trump (R) holds a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the East Room of the White House on March 17, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Donald Trump wasted little time Friday warning German Chancellor Angela Merkel that trade relations with one of America's biggest export markets may be up for review.

"Germany has done very well in its trade deals with the U.S., and I give them credit for it," Trump told a White House press conference. "Virtually any country we do business with — it's not exactly good for our workers."

"The U.S. has been treated unfairly and that's going to stop," he told reporters.

In fact, the U.S. has no direct, bilateral trade deals with Germany. As Merkel quickly pointed out, Germany's trade with the U.S. is governed by rules negotiated by the European Union on behalf of member states.

If it were a single trade partner, Germany would be the fifth largest in total trade flows with the U.S. But it runs the third largest trade surplus, after China and Japan.

Last year, the U.S. shipped nearly $50 billion worth of goods to Germany and bought more than $114 billion in return, creating a trade deficit of nearly $65 billion.

That compares with a trade deficit of $69 billion with Japan and nearly $350 billion with China.

Like many of the largest U.S. trade partners, Germany is a big market for American-made autos and vehicle parts, aircraft and aircraft engines, pharmaceuticals, crude oil, chemicals and farm products.

The German market for U.S. exports varies widely from one state to another. Driven largely by farm products, California is the biggest exporter to Germany, followed by Texas, a major supplier of oil and chemicals.

Some states rely much more heavily on Germany as an export market.

Germany represents one of top markets for products made in Connecticut, Alabama and South Carolina. In fact, Germany buys more than 10 percent of everything those three states export.

Connecticut is a big exporter of aircraft engines and parts; Alabama and South Carolina export billions of dollars' worth of cars and parts to Germany and the rest of the world.