President Donald Trump repeated Thursday his claim that the U.S. has a trade deficit with Canada to swipe at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a day after boasting about misleading the Canadian leader about his knowledge of the subject.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative says the U.S. in 2016 had a goods and services trade surplus with Canada of $12.5 billion.
"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!" the president tweeted.
The president on Wednesday bragged to donors during a closed-door speech in Missouri about telling Trudeau that the U.S. was at a trade deficit with Canada, even though he wasn't sure of the details and the Canadian prime minister refuted the claim.
“I didn’t even know,” Trump said according to audio obtained by POLITICO. “I just said, ‘You’re wrong.’”
Trump sparked fears of a trade war breaking out by unveiling a plan to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent on tariff on aluminum imports.
The proposal, opposed by leaders in Trump's own party and by trade partners abroad, exempted Canada and Mexico. Trump has voiced a desire to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, of which the U.S., Mexico and Canada are members, and has dangled the tariffs as a tool for negotiation.
The president has erroneously stated that the U.S. has a trade deficit with Canada several times in recent weeks.
On March 5 Trump tweeted that "we have large trade deficits with Mexico and Canada."
He added: "NAFTA, which is under renegotiation right now, has been a bad deal for U.S.A. Massive relocation of companies & jobs. Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed."