Trump aide says Canada’s Trudeau overreacting to trade dispute

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Trade frictions between the United States and Canada are a “family quarrel,” President Donald Trump’s economic adviser said on Sunday, brushing aside concerns expressed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as an overreaction.

The Trump administration said on Thursday it was moving ahead with tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, ending a two-month exemption and potentially setting the stage for a trade war with some of America’s top allies.

Trudeau responded on Thursday by calling the tariffs an affront to the longstanding security partnership between Canada and the United States, and Canada announced retaliatory steps.

Trudeau, in an interview aired on Sunday by NBC’s “Meet the Press”, said it was “insulting” to hear the U.S. claim that Canadian steel and aluminum posed a national security threat.

“I think he’s overreacting,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said of Trudeau on the “Fox News Sunday” program.

Kudlow said steel and aluminum tariffs on U.S. allies “may go on for a while” or “they may not,” because the matter is subject to negotiation.

Trump has been critical of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico, saying it has harmed the United States economically. The three countries are engaged in renegotiation talks.

Trump said on Friday he might prefer to end NAFTA in favor of separate bilateral agreements with the two U.S. neighbors.

Trudeau is hosting a June 8-9 summit of Group of Seven leaders, including Trump, in the Quebec region of Charlevoix.

Kudlow said Trump had been responding to “several decades of trade abuses” with the tariffs, but noted that the White House announcement said the United States still would welcome good-faith negotiations.

“And that’s why I regard this as more of a family quarrel. This is a trade dispute, if you will. It can be solved if people work together,” Kudlow said. “To say that it is an attack on Canada is not right.”

In the NBC interview, Trudeau said Canada would be “lodging complaints against these unfair trade practices.” Canada said on Thursday it will impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports, and challenge the U.S. tariffs under NAFTA and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Trudeau said Canada won’t be at the table for NAFTA talks if the United States insists on a five-year “sunset” clause, adding that “makes no sense.”

“You don’t sign a trade deal that automatically expires every five years.”

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  • 333maxwell

    Unlike the administrations ill fated, hostile and knee jerk application to trade.

    The whole damn administration is either mentally ill, or so completely self serving as to be completely dysfunctional. They work for themselves, not the American people. Evil self serving President enabled by evil self serving Republicans.

  • Monkeeworks

    Trudeau, in an interview aired on Sunday by NBC’s “Meet the Press”, said it was “insulting” to hear the U.S. claim that Canadian steel and aluminum posed a national security threat.

    Our illustrious leader once again proves he has no idea what he is talking about.
    The ‘threat’ comes from the fact the U.S. has to depend on foreign steel and aluminum, (and yes, Canada is a foreign country to the U.S.,) to build weapons and mobile defence vehicles. The U.S. total output of aluminum and steel does not provide the quantity needed for their countries self protection. Thus the ‘threat’ has nothing to do with Canada threatening the U.S., but everything to do with the fact the U.S. needs to increase their own production for self sufficiency.

    The U.S. has the lowest unemployment in over 20 years, the highest wages, the most diverse cultural class workers in their history. They lead the way, world wide, for carbon emission declines, already way below their Paris agreement, which costs the U.S. zero dollars (Canada over a billion dollars a year), they have no carbon taxes. Yet, they have become the world leaders in oil production for country ‘in use’ and export. Not bad for a ‘mentally ill’ administration.

    Perhaps our Canadian administration could keep quiet and listen. It is the only way to learn.


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