Trump’s Hand-Picked Trade Rep: We Have An $8.4 Billion Trade Surplus With Canada

Let’s cut to the chase. Donald Trump doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about when it comes to trade between the U.S. and Canada. This past weekend wasn’t the first time he accepted Canada-related gibberish from Fox & Friends as empirical fact, but he’s definitely amplified the volume of the attacks during and after the G-7 summit in La Malbaie, Quebec.

Consequently, the Red Hats are busily crapping their cages in support of Trump’s fabricated trade deficit blather. Here’s several examples of the aforementioned blather:

FACT: There is no trade deficit with Canada. None. In fact, there’s an $8.4 billion trade surplus. Put another way, as a dollar value, the United States is exporting more goods and services to Canada than Canada is exporting to the United States.

U.S. goods and services trade with Canada totaled an estimated $673.9 billion in 2017. Exports were $341.2 billion; imports were $332.8 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade surplus with Canada was $8.4 billion in 2017.

How do we know this is accurate? I assure you, it’s not “fake news,” nor does the above verification of the surplus come from any newspaper or cable news network. These numbers and the assessment of a U.S. trade surplus come to us from the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), a man named Robert E. Lighthizer.

Lighthizer was appointed to his post by, yes, Donald Trump. Prior to joining the administration, Lighthizer was a partner at a law firm known as Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. You might remember that law firm as being the employer of a guy named Alex Van Der Zwaan, who’s the son-in-law of German Khan, a Russia oligarch. Van Der Zwaan is also currently serving a prison sentence after being successfully prosecuted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Vox referred to Lighthizer as “the most powerful Trump official you’ve never heard of.” While that might be debatable, it’s not at all debatable that Lighthizer reports an $8.4 billion trade surplus with Canada. There is no trade deficit. While Canada exports more goods to the U.S. than the U.S. sends to Canada, we provide significantly more in terms of services to Canada, landing us with an overall surplus.

Furthermore, the reason why Canadian dairy is an issue today is chiefly because Trump pulled America out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which solved the dairy issue much to the chagrin of Canadian dairy producers. Simply put: the dairy issue is Trump’s fault for being too lazy and illiterate to actually read the TPP accord or to understand the ramifications of withdrawing from it. Likewise, the Red Hats merely take Trump’s word for it rather than looking up what Lighthizer — again, Trump’s hand-picked USTR — reported.

The upshot here is that Trump is putting us on antagonistic footing with our closest ally based entirely on a lie that defies the statistics generated by Trump’s own trade rep. Either he’s lying or he’s horrendously stupid. Trump’s been known to be both, so it’s difficult to know exactly which is dominating the Canada insanity. Regardless of Trump’s major malfunctions, his slow unraveling of our western alliances is music to the Kremlin’s spying ears, so in that regard, Trump is doing exactly what Trump has to do, intention or not.

 

Bob Cesca is the host of the Bob Cesca Show podcast, a twice weekly political talk show. He’s also a contributor to Salon.com. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.