Donald Trump is claiming that the European Union is living at the expense of the United States. He has claimed that the export surplus of the EU towards the US is at 153 billion dollars. In fact, that's only part of the story and not true if you consider the whole picture. If you do not only include the import and export of goods, but also other monetary flows between the US and Europe. If you include just the exchange of services rendered by, e.g., American internet corporations, banks and tourism companies for their European clients, the picture changes dramatically. The United States had a surplus of 51 billion dollars here in 2017, which reduces the overall US trade deficit with Europe to about 100 billion dollars. If you include the so-called primary and secondary income, the balance changes definitely. The primary income is mainly the profits transferred by the European subsidiaries of companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google to their mother companies. Here, the US had a surplus of 106 billion dollars in 2017, showing that obviously American investments in Europe where a lot more lucrative than European investments in the US. The secondary income is e.g. the money that Americans living in the US are transferring to their relatives. The US had a surplus of 10 billion dollars here in 2017. In total therefore, the US actually has a surplus of about 14 billion dollars in dealing with the EU, showing that the global division of labour is actually working quite fine. It's just that the US is well ahead in terms of finance, IT and B2B services, whereas the EU is ahead with regard to building cars, machines and other industrial products. Source of the report these figures are based on: http://www.econpol.eu/publications/policy_report_7 The Netherlands, the UK, and likely Ireland and Malta are the main sources of the surplus of the US in dealing with the EU - those countries considered as tax havens, which is why they are often chosen for EU headquarters by US corporations. This has political implications as these countries obviously have different interests than the rest of the EU. Trump is likely to play divide and conquer down the road. The EU would certainly need to target the internet giants in order to retaliate if Trump gets serious about taking down the European industry.