Donald Trump feasted his fans at a rally in Florida on Friday night telling them of a dispute he had with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, dusting his story with dubious statistics on international trade.
The US president told the crowd that he had a closed-door discussion with Justin Trudeau about the US trade balance with Mexico and Canada.
Donald Trump complained that the United States had a US $ 71 billion trade deficit with Mexico and that it also had a deficit with Canada.
“I really like the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Trudeau. A very nice guy. A good guy. No, I like it. But we had this meeting. He said, “No, no, you have a trade surplus.” I said, “No, that’s not the case.” He replied, “No, no, you have a surplus. trade surplus”.
“[Mr. Trudeau] said, “I tell you that Canada has a deficit with the United States.” I asked my people, in front of many other people, I said, “Go check it out.” ‘
“[Mr. Trudeau] was right. Except that he had forgotten two categories: lumber and energy. Otherwise, he was right. But when we add up everything, we have a $ 17 billion deficit with Canada. ”
This is not what the statistics of his own government say. Figures provided on the US Trade Representatives Office website, which are responsible for managing the NAFTA negotiations, indicate: “The United States trade surplus for trade in goods and services with Canada was 12 percent. , $ 5 billion US in 2016. ”
Mr. Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from NAFTA in order to put pressure on Mexico and Canada at the negotiating table. On Friday in Florida, he said, “Hopefully we will keep NAFTA. But there is a chance we will not keep it. And that’s ok. ”