Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau on Friday said that Donald Trump’s announcement that he is imposing new tariffs on Canadian goods “is quite frankly insulting and unacceptable.”
In an exclusive interview with NBC NewsTrudeau said:
“Our soldiers who had fought and died together on the beaches of World War II…and the mountains of Afghanistan, and have stood shoulder to shoulder in some of the most difficult places in the world, that are always there for each other, somehow — this is insulting to them.”
“The idea that the Canadian steel that’s in military, military vehicles in the United States, the Canadian aluminum that makes your, your fighter jets is somehow now a threat? The idea that we are somehow a national security threat to the United States is quite frankly insulting and unacceptable.”
Trudeau’s interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd took place in Trudeau’s office in Parliament in the Canadian capital of Ottawa. In the interview Trudeau said he strongly disagreed with President Trump’s characterization that the U.S. has entered into many unfair trade deals with their trading partners.
“He’s worried about trade surpluses, trade deficits around the world. Well, they have a $2 billion surplus on steel with us. So it’s not like the trade is imbalanced against the U.S. favor on this one,” Trudeau said.
After the Trump administration announced new tariffs on Thursday Canada responded with retaliatory tariffs of its own. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said that these new tariffs to be imposed by Canada were “the strongest trade action Canada has taken in the post-war era.”
The prime minister of Canada also expressed regret at the lack of “common sense” coming out of Washington. “We have to believe that at some point their common sense will prevail. But we see no sign of that in this action today by the U.S. administration,” he said.
Clearly Donald Trump is acting impulsively and rashly by announcing new tariffs against our neighbor and ally to the north. He no doubt hopes that he will gain political points with his base of supporters who, like him, do not understand international trade at all.
We also hope that “common sense will prevail” at some point, but that may not happen until the United States gets a new president. In order to salvage what is left of our relationships with long standing allies and trading partners this needs to happen very soon.