In this week’s video, CNN’s Jake Tapper reviews President Donald Trump’s claim that the U.S. trade deficit with Canada is “close to $100 billion a year.” There are several problems with the president’s statement.
The president focuses on goods only and ignores trade in services. In doing so, he’s ignoring his own administration’s statistics, which show a trade surplus with Canada.
The $100 billion figure cited by Trump also includes the value of re-exported goods — which are goods made in another country, but shipped through Canada. Statistics Canada, a governmental entity, shows about a $98 billion (in U.S. dollars) gap between exports and imports, if including re-exports, for 2017.
Andrew Stanley, an associate fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told us that each country attributes re-exports in a different way. Stanley explained that “exports are attributed to the last known destination of those goods.”
Overall, the U.S.-Canadian trade relationship is “very balanced in comparison to some of the other deficits the U.S. has,” Stanley told us. That’s reflected in the trade numbers complied by the U.S.
The Census Bureau says the U.S. had a trade surplus with Canada of $2.8 billion in 2017. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative puts the surplus at $8.4 billion for last year, and the total trade between the two countries at $673.9 billion.