Commerce secretary pick says Mexico has better trade deals than America

Ross: We need to get rid of tariff barriers

Wilbur Ross, President-elect Donald Trump's choice for Commerce secretary, told CNBC on Wednesday he wants to overhaul "dumb trade" deals that the U.S. has with countries around the world.

"Believe it or not, Mexico has better treaties with the rest of the world than the United States has. We're going to fix that," Ross said as Trump's choice was being announced.

"Mexico has 44 treaties with other countries that make it very advantageous to do international shipping from Mexico rather than from the United States," Ross said in a "Squawk Box" interview.

"Protectionism is a pejorative term. It's not really something that's meaningful," he said. "There's trade. There's sensible trade. And there's dumb trade. We've been doing a lot of dumb trade, and that's the part that's going to get fixed."

Ross called the Trans-Pacific Partnership a "horrible deal."

"Everybody talks about tariffs as the first thing. Tariffs are the last thing. Tariffs are part of the negotiation," Ross said. "The real trick is going to be increase American exports. Get rid of some of the tariff and nontariff barriers to American exports."