Trump tells rally about trade-balance disagreement with Trudeau - Macleans.ca
 

Trump tells rally about trade-balance disagreement with Trudeau

Statistics from the office of the U.S. Trade Representative paint a portrait opposite to Trump’s assertion that the U.S. has a deficit with Canada


 

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump regaled a rally of supporters Friday night with a story about a disagreement with Canada’s prime minister, then sprinkled his tale with some questionable statistics about international trade.

Trump told a partisan crowd in Florida that he and Justin Trudeau had a closed-door debate about trade balances.

He described it during the part of his speech where he blasted bad trade deals as one of the reasons he won last year’s election, and reiterated his promise to either cancel or renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

He lamented a $71 billion trade deficit with Mexico, then added that there’s also a deficit with Canada. That’s where he described his exchange with Trudeau — who apparently kept telling Trump the U.S. has no trade deficit with Canada.

“I like the prime minister very much. Prime Minister Trudeau. Nice guy. Good guy. No, I like him. But we had a meeting… He said, ‘No, no, you have a trade surplus.’ I said, ‘No we don’t.’ He said, ‘No, no you have a trade surplus,'” Trump told the Florida crowd.

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“(Trudeau) said, ‘I’m telling you that Canada has a deficit with the United States.’ I told my people — in front of a lot of people — I said, ‘Go out and check’.”

He said his staff found Trudeau left out some key details, pertaining to trade in goods: “(Trudeau) was right. Except he forgot two categories: Lumber timber; and energy. Other than that, he was right. When you add them all together, we actually have a $17 billion deficit with Canada.”

That’s not what his own government’s stats say.

Statistics from the website of the office of the U.S. Trade Representative — the very office handling NAFTA negotiations — paint a portrait opposite to Trump’s. It says, of last year’s trade balance: “The U.S. goods and services trade surplus with Canada was US$12.5 billion in 2016.”

That reflects a large surplus in trade in services of $24.6 billion, mitigated by a deficit in goods of $12.1 billion.

Trump’s figure on Mexico was also off by almost one-third: The USTR site says the deficit with Mexico last year was about $15 billion smaller than what Trump said, or $55.6 billion in 2016.

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David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., shot back on Saturday, citing the USTR statis in a tweet later shared by International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

A number of economists have also called trade balances a questionable measure of success. They note that the U.S. economy has had a strong year in 2017, while the trade deficit is growing, and that, in any case, fluctuations are partly pegged to swings in the price of imported commodities like oil.

Trump has repeatedly threatened to begin pulling out of NAFTA, as a negotiating ploy. Mexico has said it would leave the negotiating table if he triggers NAFTA’s withdrawal clause, while Canada has not made such a threat.

Trump told the Florida crowd: “We’re gonna hopefully keep NAFTA. But there’s a chance we won’t. And that’s okay.”

MORE ABOUT NAFTA:


 

Trump tells rally about trade-balance disagreement with Trudeau

  1. You read comments about ‘free’ market, which is a surface extol. If you delve a little deeper there are many other variables to consider. I wish people would really think about the variables.

    It’s really easy to say ‘dump’ supply management. Say we do? What happens if Canadian producers can’t compete because a country is subsidizing feed producers? So Canadian producers leave the industry, and Canada relies on a particular country, pushing prices up for Canadians. Economists would say Canadian producers would enter the market but how easy is it? Also, we have to look at food security. Who would American producers feed first? You only have to look at what happened with Christmas trees this year as an answer to that question.

    I don’t mind paying more for my dairy and eggs. I’m more efficient because none of it ends up in the bin.

  2. Why do we need supply management in dairy and poultry given that we get along fine without supply management in beef, pork, grain, etc, etc?

    • Ask the Canadian beef farmers about their American experience, if they’ll talk to you.

      Don’t know about the others you mention. The point I was trying to make is decisions are only looked at in the short term not the long term.

      Remember the big bad National Energy Policy? Pipelines would have been built at a time when it would have been welcomed. The price ceiling was only temporary. Now? Albertans were right and everyone else was wrong. Wonder if Albertans know how much American influence they’re under?

      Free market looks pretty on paper but in reality? The only people who don’t want to pay taxes, schooling for other peoples children, and all those other social safety nets are rich people and some of the religious right. That’s fine.

      People don’t want to listen, what can you do? Or perhaps they can’t listen because they can’t hear?

  3. DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT.

    NO ONE WORKS AT MACLEANS ON THE WEEKEND

    • WHATS THAT? Speak up, can’t hear you……Too much white noise. Kubark.