President Trump declared fair trade will now to be known as “fool trade” if it is not reciprocal.
In a string of tweets, sent Monday morning local time in Singapore, the president called out Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, with whom he has had a war of words in recent days regarding trade.
“Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal. According to a Canada release, they make almost 100 Billion Dollars in Trade with U.S. (guess they were bragging and got caught!). Minimum is 17B. Tax Dairy from us at 270%. Then Justin acts hurt when called out!” Trump said.
“Why should I, as President of the United States, allow countries to continue to make Massive Trade Surpluses, as they have for decades, while our Farmers, Workers & Taxpayers have such a big and unfair price to pay?” Trump said in follow-up tweets. “Not fair to the PEOPLE of America! $800 Billion Trade Deficit [a]nd add to that the fact that the U.S. pays close to the entire cost of NATO-protecting many of these same countries that rip us off on Trade (they pay only a fraction of the cost-and laugh!). The European Union had a $151 Billion Surplus-should pay much more for Military!”
“Germany pays 1% (slowly) of GDP towards NATO, while we pay 4% of a MUCH larger GDP. Does anybody believe that makes sense? We protect Europe (which is good) at great financial loss, and then get unfairly clobbered on Trade. Change is coming!” he said in another tweet. Trump has long griped about the NATO allies not paying a fair share.
Tough talk on trade was at the center of the G-7 summit in Quebec, which Trump departed on Saturday for Singapore, where he is slated to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to discuss denuclearization. Trump, during an impromptu press conference on Saturday, called for an end to all tariffs between the U.S. and its allies. But at the same time, he repeated concerns that the U.S. has been subject to unfair trade practices for years.
In particular Trump has suggested the U.S. agriculture runs a trade deficit with certain countries, but an Associated Press “fact check” states this is untrue.
After Trump left Canada, Trudeau held a press conference of his own, stating that all of the member nations of the G-7, including the U.S., had signed a communique dedicated to lowering tariffs and other trade barriers. He also threatened retaliatory tariffs for those the U.S. “unjustly” slapped on Canada and emphasized that Canadians “will not be pushed around.”
Trump shot back at Trudeau on Twitter, saying, “PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, ‘US Tariffs were kind of insulting’ and he ‘will not be pushed around.’ Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!” He also claimed to have informed U.S. officials not to affirm the communique signed by G-7 members.
Afterwards, members of Trump’s administration, including economic adviser Larry Kudlow, flooded the zone on the Sunday morning talk show circuit, accusing Trudeau of stabbing Trump in the back. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro took the rhetoric to an extreme, saying there is a “special place in hell” for Trudeau after he engaged in “bad faith diplomacy.”
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland responded to attacks on Trudeau made by Trump’s team, saying declaring “Canada does not believe that ad hominem attacks are a particularly appropriate or useful way to conduct our relations with other countries.”
Trump has irked allies in the European Union as well with his 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent penalty on aluminum imports, leading the leaders in the European alliance to threaten retaliation.
Speaking to Trump’s refusal to endorse the communique on the need for “free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel struck a harsh tone at the conclusion of the G-7 summit, calling the withdrawal “sobering and a bit depressing.”