This is from CNBC:
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 his nomination 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."
So Trump's pick for Commerce Secretary doesn't like the TPP, but wants trade deals that get rid of the tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. exports.
And he admires Mexico's trade treaties with the rest of the world and thinks those treaties give Mexico an advantage over the U.S.
I'm having a hard time figuring out what all of this means for trade policy under Trump.
If you watch the video at the link, they keep up the Trump trade team's insistence that bilateral trade deals are the way forward. I'm not sure where they got the idea that bilateral is the better approach. I can't remember hearing this argument much before Trump came on the scene. It will be interesting to see what happens when they sit down with the experienced U.S. trade negotiators and begin to talk strategy.