Trump calls Canada 'very smooth’ on trade, claims he’s wise to our tricks
Wrongly insisting the U.S. has a trade deficit with Canada — a claim rejected by his own economic advisers — Trump said Canada has been trying to deceive him, smoothly, about the true state of the trade relationship.
|Report an Error|
Share via Email
WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump says he’s wise to Canada’s diplomatic trickery — even though “Canada is very smooth.”
At a meeting with governors at the White House on Monday morning, Trump again wrongly claimed that the U.S. loses money on trade with Canada. Then he claimed that Canada has been trying to deceive him, smoothly, about the true state of the trade relationship.
“We lose a lot with Canada. People don’t know it. Canada is very smooth,” he said in a tone of knowing mockery. “They have you believe that it’s wonderful. And it is. For them. Not wonderful for us. It’s wonderful for them. So we have to start showing that we know what we’re doing.”
In a report released last week, Trump’s own hand-picked Council of Economic Advisers confirmed the facts that Canadian officials, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have long tried to convey to Trump: the U.S. has a trade surplus with Canada, not a deficit.
“The United States has free trade agreements (FTAs) with a number of countries — some of which represent net trade surpluses for the United States (Canada and Singapore), and some of which represent deficits (Mexico and South Korea),” the report says.
Trump has repeatedly insisted that the U.S. actually has a multi-billion-dollar deficit with Canada. He refers only to trade in goods, in which there is indeed a U.S. deficit, and excluding trade in services, in which there is a U.S. surplus bigger than the goods deficit.
According to the U.S. Trade Representative, the net U.S. surplus was $12 billion (U.S.) in 2016. Using a different method of calculation, Trump’s advisers wrote, “In 2016, the United States ran a trade surplus of $2.6 billion with Canada.”
Trump spoke a day after the seventh round of NAFTA renegotiation talks began in Mexico City. They are scheduled to run through the weekend.
Trump’s speech to the governors, his first extended speech since his wild address to a conservative conference on Friday, was notably rambling for a White House address to fellow politicians. Among other things, he claimed that he, unlike Broward County police officer Scot Peterson, would have rushed in to intervene during the Florida school shooting — even if he was unarmed.
“I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon,” he said.
Trump also lamented that the school shooting was a distressing “setback” from good economic news. He then began boasting about the economy and about his election performance with women.
“So just in concluding, we have tremendous things happening. The country is doing well, and then we have a setback like this that’s so heart-wrenching. It’s so heart-wrenching. And we have to clean it up. We have to straighten it out. You know it’s wonderful, we’re setting records on the economy. We’re setting records,” he began.