U.S. Trade Deficit with European Union Climbs Over 11 Percent, Despite Trump's Gripes

The U.S. trade deficit with the European Union in the first half of the year rose more than 11 percent when compared to a year earlier.

Although Trump has complained about the EU's trade surplus with the U.S. it has risen under his watch. Bloomberg reported that while America's trade deficit with the E.U.was just 18.7 billion euros 10 years ago, it was 75 billion euros, or $83 billion, in the first half of 2019.

The figures illuminate the tension between the president's rhetoric on trade and long-running U.S. trends. Despite Trump's focus on trade deficits, the U.S. has operated at a global deficit for more than 40 years. The gap between the number of products the exported to, and imported from, the EU has significantly widened in recent years.

Trump's has sought to diminish the U.S. trade deficit with China -- a major factor motivating tensions between Washington and Beijing. At the same time, America's total goods trade deficit rose. And exports to China decreased more than the imports did in the first half of this year.

As part of his protectionist measures, Trump has railed against EU trading policies, claiming they are unfair to the U.S. He has previously threatened to impose tariffs on imports of cars assembled in EU, a move that would create a hefty financial burden for European automobile companies. Such a decision would particularly affect Germany, which sold $31 billion of cars and parts to the U.S. last year. The U.S. imported $125.9 billion of goods from the country, while exporting $57.7 billion, leaving the U.S. with a sizable trade deficit.

Trump's criticism of Europe has infused tension into military and trade alliances between the U.S. and some of its longstanding partners. He has claimed that EU treats the U.S. worse on trade than China does and again railed against European nations at a Thursday night campaign rally in New Hampshire.

Trump's attempts to renegotiate and restructure trade relations have thrown uncertainty into the global economy and spurred fears of a recession. Central banks around the world have pursued aggressive rate cuts in hopes of stimulating their economies.

Global markets have responded with downward trends this month as economic data appear to signal ominous signs of future slowdown. New data released this week also bolstered fears of a recession. In addition to U.S. consumer confidence declining in response to trade tensions, Germany's economy, the world's fourth-largest, shrank in the second quarter of the year. China's factory output grew at the slowest rate in 17 years.

European Union Ambassador to the United States Stavros Lambrinidis, Deputy Head of Mission of the Presidency of the Council of the E.U. Jani Raappana, U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images