Trump thinks that trade with Canada is “smaller” than with Mexico. He has no idea what he is talking about. And now he is trying to make deals.
In announcing a possible agreement with Mexico, President Trump said Mexico is “a very large trading partner” then said negotiations would begin with Canada now, which he said is a “smaller segment.” But American trade with Canada was $57 billion larger than the trade with Mexico for 2017, more proof of the president’s ignorance.
Trump’s comment happened in a phone call with the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to announce what Donald Trump called a “United States-Mexico Trade Agreement.” Donald Trump said that the new pact will replace the current North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, which includes Canada. (Of course, an agreement would have to be approved by Congress, along with Mexican lawmakers.)
We don’t know if Canada would be involved in the new deal, though Donald Trump said the negotiations with the northern neighbor would start “pretty much immediately.” (Indeed, Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, arrived in Washington D.C. the following day for negotiations.)
Although Peña Nieto made it clear during the call that he insists on Canada being incorporated into the new deal, Trump said for Canada, “We can have a separate deal or we can put it into this deal,” which is not really saying anything at all. Alternatively, Donald Trump said that America might impose tariffs on American imports of cars coming from Canada.
“But one way or the other, we have a deal with Canada,” said Trump. “It will either be a tariff on cars, or it will be a negotiated deal.”
Trump, Aug. 27: We made the deal with Mexico. And I think it’s a very — deal. We’re starting negotiations with Canada, pretty much immediately. I can’t tell you where those negotiations are going. It’s going to be a — it’s a smaller segment, as you know. Mexico is a very large trading partner. But we’ve now concluded our deal and it’s being finalized.
In context, the uneducated president appears to be claiming that Mexico is currently a larger trading partner of the U.S. than Canada is. And that’s false.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Canada and Mexico are currently the second and third biggest trading partners for America, in that order, and China is in first.
In 2017, the United States did almost $680 billion of trade for goods and services with Canada, reports the Census Bureau — $341.3 billion of exports and $338.5 of imports. That’s about $57.7 billion more with Canada than the trade with Mexico. America did $622.1 billion in trade with Mexico — $276.7 billion of exports and $345.4 billion of imports.