Historically, President Donald Trump has bragged a lot about anything he’s deemed praiseworthy. From passing “hard” cognitive tests to his tweets about the size of his nuclear button (we’re still not sure if that’s supposed to be an innuendo), Trump has bolstered about virtually everything even gloating about things that, in hindsight, he probably shouldn’t have. On Wednesday, Trump bragged to Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau about not knowing facts, according to CBC News.
The Washington Post claims that Trump allegedly lied to Trudeau about the U.S. trade deficit. Apparently, The Post obtained exclusive audio of Trump’s fundraising speech on Wednesday, where Trump revealed that he make up falsehoods during his meeting with Trudeau. Does this mean that Sean Spicer isn’t the only person to give “alternate facts”?
During the meeting, Trudeau explained to Trump that Canada doesn’t have any trade deficits with the U.S.; however, Trump didn’t agree. The Post reports that Trump responded said during his speech that he essentially fibbed to Trudeau, because he wasn’t .
Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure,it’s not your fault
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2013
In his speech, Trump attempted to reenact the conversation, “… So, he’s proud. I said, ‘Wrong, Justin, you do.’ I didn’t even know. … I had no idea. I just said, ‘You’re wrong.’ You know why? Because we’re so stupid. … And I thought they were smart. I said, ‘You’re wrong, Justin.’ He said, ‘Nope, we have no trade deficit.’ I said, ‘Well, in that case, I feel differently,’ I said, ‘but I don’t believe it.’ I sent one of our guys out, his guy, my guy, they went out, I said, ‘Check, because I can’t believe it.’ ‘Well, sir, you’re actually right. 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.”
Trump was eager to correct Trudeau, when he actually didn’t know the facts (and Trudeau may or may not have agreed with his apparent lie to avoid a meltdown), saying that the U.S. has a trade deficit with Canada. However, The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) reveals that it’s actually the U.S. that has a trade surplus with Canada, which the USTR explains was our “largest goods export market in 2016.”
Albeit, the USTR’s facts and figures regarding U.S. and Canada’s trade deals can be a little outdated. Thankfully, the United States Census Bureau has updated statistics about U.S. and Canada’s trade trends. In fact, the Bureau details our trade history with Canada up to Jan. 2018. According to the Bureau, the U.S. actually has a long-standing goods trade deficit with Canada. Because a trade deficit occurs when the overall value of a country’s imports outweighs the country’s exports, the Bureau’s most recent data reveals that the U.S. actually does have a trade deficit with Canada, as the U.S. traded 22,635.4 worth of goods to Canada versus the 26, 271.6 worth of good Canada imported to the U.S.. Nevertheless, the U.S. does have a trade surplus regarding certain things, like timber and energy, according to CNN (after all, the U.S. and Canada trade industry expands beyond just commodities).
USA Today explains that Trump took to Twitter to defend his claims (both during his speech on Wednesday and his meeting with Trudeau). “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!,” Trump tweeted. Actually, Trump might be justified in defending his claims, based on the Bureau’s data.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2018
While Canada’s apparent trade surplus might seem like it benefits the Canadian economy, it can have negative ramifications on both Canada’s economy and the world economy (and obviously the U.S.’s economy, because we do have a trade deficit). As the Centre for European Reform (CER) explains, a country can’t support its financial prosperity and growth on trade alone. While the CER bases its evidence on the UK’s trade surplus [with the U.S.] back in 2009, economic growth that’s centered around trade surplus alone can create an economic disservice for that country as well as the world economy, regardless of which country has the surplus (especially since it can imply that a specific country is reliant on international trade). Likewise, The Economist agrees that a surplus can be bad news for the global economy. After all, a trade deficit isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Despite the fact that the U.S. does actually have a goods trade deficit with Canada, Trump did intentionally try to deceive Trudeau, because he did say in his speech on Wednesday that he “didn’t know” if he was telling the truth to Trudeau (when he made the initial claims that the U.S. has a trade deficit). Regardless, unintentionally or intentionally trying to deceive our ally, Canada, especially when Trump didn’t actually know the facts at the time. In fact, it could have a negative impact on international relations according to a former US Ambassador to Canada.