Trump: ‘We do have a trade deficit with Canada’
President Trump on Thursday insisted that the U.S. has a trade deficit with Canada after he reportedly acknowledged mentioning the deficit to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a meeting without knowing if it was actually true.
Trump tweeted that the U.S. does “have a Trade Deficit with Canada,” noting that the U.S. has a deficit “with almost all countries.”
“We do have a Trade Deficit with Canada, as we do with almost all countries (some of them massive). P.M. Justin Trudeau of Canada, a very good guy, doesn’t like saying that Canada has a Surplus vs. the U.S.(negotiating), but they do…they almost all do…and that’s how I know!” Trump tweeted.
We do have a Trade Deficit with Canada, as we do with almost all countries (some of them massive). P.M. Justin Trudeau of Canada, a very good guy, doesn’t like saying that Canada has a Surplus vs. the U.S.(negotiating), but they do…they almost all do…and that’s how I know!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2018
The president’s tweet came after a Washington Post report Wednesday night that Trump said in a fundraising speech that he made up facts about U.S. trade with Canada during a meeting with Trudeau.
In recounting the conversation with the Canadian premier, Trump said that he pushed back on Trudeau’s claim that the U.S. did not run a trade deficit with Canada.
“I said, ‘Wrong, Justin, you do.’ I didn’t even know. … I had no idea,” Trump reportedly said.
Trump has frequently railed against what he deems unfair trade that puts the U.S. at a disadvantage. The U.S., Canada and Mexico are in the process of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) at Trump’s urging.
Trudeau and Trump have gone back and forth over Trump’s trade rhetoric before.
The story Trump told to donors on Wednesday was similar to one he recounted at a rally in Florida in December, in which he insisted that, when lumber and energy are accounted for, Canada runs a trade surplus with the U.S.
According to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, the U.S. runs a $24.6 billion services trade surplus with Canada and a $12.1 billion deficit on goods. That means that the U.S. ultimately runs a $12.5 billion goods and services trade surplus with Canada.
In February, Trudeau warned that Canada “will not be pushed around” on trade negotiations.
“We will not be pushed around. At the same time we can remain confident about NAFTA,” Trudeau said.
“The negotiations are complex and challenging … I’ve said many times, we are not going to take any old deal,” he added. “Canada is willing to walk away from NAFTA if the United States proposes a bad deal.”
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January, Trump told reporters that he remains open to ending the trade agreement if Canada and Mexico do not acquiesce to U.S. demands.
“I may terminate NAFTA, I may not. We’ll see what happens,” he said. “I think we have a good chance, but we’ll see what happens.”
The president earlier this month temporarily exempted Canada and Mexico from recently announced steel and aluminum tariffs amid the NAFTA talks, but he has discussed the possibility of the U.S. withdrawing from the trade deal.
–Updated at 10:30 a.m.