Trump tweets misleading claim about US-Canada trade after bluffing about a deficit to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

  • President Donald Trump tweeted that the US has a “a Trade Deficit with Canada.”
  • The tweet comes after audio of a speech was released in which Trump recalls bluffing to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the trade imbalance.
  • The US, however, does not run a trade deficit with Canada, according to the US Trade Representative.

President Donald Trump reiterated a misleading claim about trade between the US and Canada on Thursday after reports that the president bluffed about the relationship to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“We do have a Trade Deficit with Canada, as we do with almost all countries (some of them massive),” Trump said. “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!”

Trump’s tweet came the day after The Washington Post released audio of a fundraising speech the president gave in which he admitted to bluffing the Canadian Prime Minister on the US-Canada trade imbalance.

“Trudeau came to see me. He’s a good guy, Justin. He said, ‘No, no, we have no trade deficit with you, we have none. Donald, please’,” Trump said. “I said, ‘Wrong, Justin, you do.’ I didn’t even know … I had no idea. I just said, ‘You’re wrong.'”

The problem is that Trump’s assertion is incorrect based the latest data.

According to the US Trade Representative, the US actually maintained a $US12.5 billion trade surplus with Canada in 2016, based on the most recent data available.

The US did run a goods deficit of $US12.1 billion, but it made up for it with a $US24.6 billion surplus in services trade, such as intellectual property and travel.

Even looking strictly at goods, the deficit is not large compared with years past. Commerce Department data shows that the 2016 deficit was the smallest since 1993 and well down from a peak of $US78.5 billion in 2005.