Trudeau calls Trump's tariffs 'insulting' to longstanding US-Canada alliance
, the Canadian prime minister, on Sunday described US tariffs as “insulting” to the shared history of the US and Canada as the fallout over Donald Trump’s tariff moves continued.
Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press, Trudeau reiterated his appeal to President Trump to remember “there are no two countries that are as interconnected, interdependent … You sell more things to us every year than to UK, Japan, and China combined.”
Later this week, Trump is due to visit for the Trudeau-hosted G7 summit, which will take place at a remote luxury resort in La Malbaie, Quebec, and where he will meet with leaders of Germany, Italy, France, UK and Japan.
Trudeau said on Sunday that he is having “a lot of trouble getting around” that Canada has abruptly become “a national security threat to the United States”. The Canadian prime minister went further, saying US and Canadian soldiers “who had fought and died together on the beaches of World War II, on 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, this is insulting to that.”
Trudeau said the US has a $2bn surplus on steel with Canada, and the two countries are “very much aligned” on the issue of China.
Speaking on CNN, the foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, said Canada was “sad and insulted” to be labelled a national security threat. “I would say to our closest ally, please think hard about the message you are sending,” Freeland said.
Freeland said Canada’s reciprocal tariffs, outlined last week, were “the strongest trade action Canada has taken since the second world war”. The tariffs would, she said, be a “dollar-for-dollar retaliation … this is going to hurt America and the American consumer first and foremost.”
The White House economics adviser, Larry Kudlow, described the administration’s confrontation with Canada as a “family quarrel”. He told Fox News Sunday the situation could still be resolved through negotiations.
“These tariffs may go on for a while or they may not,” he said.
Speaking on Face The Nation,Governor John Kasich of Ohio said he was struck by how little push-back Trump had received from Republicans who consider themselves free-traders.
“I have been frankly shocked at the fact that our leaders think they have to ask permission from the president to do anything. I think they ought to make it very clear that they’re not going to just sit back and tolerate this.”
The administration’s actions also triggered unusual signs of division among the club of wealthy nations, with the six other G7 member countries issuing a statement calling on asking the US treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, to convey their “unanimous concern and disappointment” about the tariffs to Trump.
The statement also called for “decisive action” to resolve the tariff dispute at a G7 leaders’ summit.
But senior Republicans in Congress rejected the notion the US is headed toward a trade war. “I don’t think anybody wins a trade war. But we are not in a trade war,” the House majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, said on CNN’s State of the Union.
“We are in a trade discussion to renegotiate Nafta.”
Canada’s expressions of disappointment came as China warned that any trade dispute deals reached at talks in Beijing “will not take effect” if Trump’s threatened tariff hike on Chinese goods goes ahead.
The statement came as Wilbur Ross, the US commerce secretary, and China’s top economic official, Vice-Premier Liu He, wrapped up a meeting on Beijing’s pledge to narrow its trade surplus.
Ross had said the delegations had discussed specific US exports China might purchase to ease the $337bn trade imbalance, but the talks ended with no joint statement and neither side released details.
• This article was amended on 4 June 2018. An earlier version described the US as having a $2bn surplus on steel “with the US”.