Monthly Archives: January 2017

Trump’s administration has a new target on trade — and it’s not China or Mexico

By Ana Swanson

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Volker Hartmann/Getty Images)

President Trump’s top trade adviser said Germany was using a “grossly undervalued” euro to “exploit” its trading partners in Europe and the U.S., comments that triggered a spike in the euro’s value to a one-week high.

In comments to the Financial Times, Peter Navarro, the head of Trump’s National Trade Council and an architect of many of the administration’s trade policies, also declared a proposed trade agreement between the United States and Europe to be dead, citing Germany’s currency as an impediment.

Trump’s tough campaign rhetoric regarding trade has long fueled speculation of tensions with China and Mexico, countries that export large volumes of cheap goods to the United States. But Navarro’s aggressive statements against Germany and the European Union appear to have taken markets and European leaders by surprise.

Navarro’s comments appear to reflect a deep antipathy on the part of the Trump administration to multilateral trade deals and institutions, an attitude that has unsettled U.S. allies in Europe and around the globe in recent weeks.

On Jan. 23, his first full day in office, Trump declared his intention to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an Obama-era trade deal that Trump claimed would kill American manufacturing jobs. During the campaign, Trump also announced his intention to renegotiate the U.S. free trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and called the primary military alliance between Europe and the U.S. “obsolete.”

In his comments, Navarro cited Germany as a main obstacle to a proposed U.S.-E.U. trade deal called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP. “A big obstacle to viewing TTIP as a bilateral deal is Germany, which continues to exploit other countries in the E.U. as well as the U.S. with an ‘implicit Deutsche Mark’ that is grossly undervalued,” he said.

Angela Merkel responded Tuesday by …read more

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Trump calls for lower drug prices, fewer regulations in meeting with pharmaceutical executives

By Carolyn Y. Johnson, Juliet Eilperin and Laurie McGinley

This story has been updated.

President Trump met with leaders of some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies Tuesday morning and emphasized the need to lower “astronomical” drug prices, decrease regulations and bring drug manufacturing back into the United States.

The tone of the public portion of the meeting was positive, especially given that Trump recently lashed out at the pharmaceutical industry for “getting away with murder” on prices — and threatened to use the government’s bargaining power to force down drug prices. On Tuesday, he mentioned increasing competition and “bidding wars” as a way to bring down prices, but it was unclear if he meant the government should negotiate on behalf of Medicare or what specific policy solutions that could entail.

“We have to get prices down for a lot of reasons. We have no choice,” Trump said, flanked by chief executives Kenneth Frazier of Merck and Robert Hugin of Celgene. “For Medicare, for Medicaid, we have to get the prices way down.”

“I’ll oppose anything that makes it harder for smaller, younger companies to take the risk of bringing their product to a vibrantly competitive market,” Trump said, to an audience of large, established drug companies. “But we can increase competition and bidding wars, big time.”

Eli Lilly chief executive David Ricks, who attended the meeting, said in an investor call later in the day that Trump “did not get into elaborate policy detail in terms of the U.S. pricing environment.”

“I think we all understand the concern he’s raising” that consumers’ out-of-pocket costs are growing rapidly, Ricks said. He said the pricing discussion focused in part on how drug companies could do a better job of …read more

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Where’s the best place to resist Trump? At work.

By Moshe Marvit and Leo Gertner As thousands of protesters descended on John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York Saturday to protest Friday’s executive order blocking citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, the AFL-CIO affiliated, 19,000-member Taxi Workers Alliance called for a solidarity strike. In response, Uber, the controversial “ride-sharing” service whose chief executive sits on Trump’s […] …read more

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