Economy

Trump trade adviser: Harsh comments against Trudeau were a ‘mistake’

Trump trade adviser: Harsh comments against Trudeau were a ‘mistake’

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro offered the Trump administration's most biting response to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week over their tariff dispute.

"When I got on to the plane, I think that Justin probably didn't know that Air Force One has about 20 televisions", Trump said, referring to statements that Trudeau made in a news conference shortly after the G-7 summit ended.

The Trump administration imposed aluminum and steel tariffs on the other G-7 members - the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, Canada and Japan - ratcheting up tensions between the USA and its allies in the run-up to the summit.

Speaking at the WSJ CFO conference, Navarro also had harsh words for China, which he described as engaging in "economic aggression" against the US. He told CNN's Jake Tapper that "of course" Trump's tweets about Trudeau actually had to do with North Korea "in large part".

In her own tweet, Green Party leader Elizabeth May says Trudeau is handling what she calls Trump's outbursts and bullying as well as anyone, and that all Canadian leaders need to support the prime minister.

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The comments, made after Trump had left to go to Singapore for his much-anticipated meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, infuriated the USA president. We'd have a deal, we'd have a great deal with NAFTA, by now, if the Canadians would spend more time at the bargaining table and less time lobbying Capitol Hill and our press and state governments here, they are just simply not playing fair.

Canadian officials have stressed the two countries' extensive trading relationship and pointed out that Canada is the top export destination for 35 U.S. states and that 9 million jobs in the United States depend on trade with its northern neighbour.

She said it had been "a hard summit with, at times, some very candid discussions" and that the United Kingdom would honour its commitments in the joint communique.

Trump initially called Trudeau's comments a "dishonest" act.

But the White House adviser did not say what precisely it was that Trudeau said at a press conference following the G-7 summit over the weekend that warranted the White House's aggressive response. "It was very friendly", Trump said.

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Canada has announced retaliatory tariffs on $16.6-billion worth of US goods, from steel and aluminum to orange juice, pickles and bourbon.

The Americans' criticism of Trudeau left a former Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, stumped.

G7 allies seemed as perplexed as Canada at the sudden diplomatic row, and Germany and France accused Mr Trump of destroying trust and acting inconsistently.

"We are convinced that a modernisation is perfectly possible, we are convinced that common sense will triumph", she said.

The United States has imposed 25 per cent tariffs on steel from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, and 10 per cent tariffs on aluminum.

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