U.S. President Donald Trump doubled down on his claim that Canada runs a trade surplus with its southern neighbour Thursday morning.
The president tweeted that while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a “very good guy,” he doesn’t like admitting that Canada has a surplus.
“We do have a Trade Deficit with Canada, as we do with almost all countries (some of them massive),” he wrote.
The latest claims come about a day after The Washington Post reported that Trump admitted to making erroneous claims about Canada and U.S. trade relations in front of Trudeau.
According to the Post, Trump said during a speech in Missouri on Wednesday that he told Trudeau the U.S. runs a trade deficit with Canada — without knowing whether that was actually true.
Trump, according to a recording obtained by the newspaper, said that after Trudeau told him the U.S. does not have a trade deficit with Canada, he replied, “Wrong, Justin, you do,” then added, “I didn’t even know … I had no idea.”
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The president said he then “sent one of our guys out” to check the prime minister’s claim.
“Well, sir, you’re actually right,” Trump says in the recording. “We have no deficit but that doesn’t include energy and timber, and when you do, we lose $17 billion a year. It’s incredible.”
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According to the most recent statistics from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s website, the U.S. trade surplus with Canada was US$12.5 billion in 2016.
Trump was asked by a reporter Thursday morning whether he has been truthful in his trade conversations with Trudeau, but he did not respond.
Adam Austen, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, responded to Trump’s trade deficit claims by insisting the relationship is “mutually beneficial.”
“Canada and the United States have a balanced and mutually beneficial trading relationship. According to their own statistics, the U.S. runs a trade surplus with Canada,” he wrote in a statement to Global News.
“We are energetically at work modernizing and updating NAFTA to support good jobs and the middle class in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.”
— With files from The Canadian Press