- Voters who supported President Donald Trump in 2016 can be expected to cheer his tough stance on trade policy with Canada.
- A review of state-level trade data, though, may give many of them second thoughts.
- A CNBC analysis of 2016 voter turnouts and trade flows with Canada shows that states like Ohio, Texas and Indiana that supported Trump generally enjoy a surplus in goods trade with Canada.
- By contrast, the biggest deficits in goods trade with Canada are in states like California and Illinois that voted for Clinton.
Voters who supported President Donald Trump in 2016 can be expected to cheer his tough stance on trade policy with Canada.
A review of state-level trade data, though, may give many of them second thoughts.
The U.S. and its second largest trade partner moved closer to an outright trade war Sunday, after Trump and top White House advisers lashed out at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The tense exchange followed Trump’s decision to abruptly withdraw support for a Group of Seven communique and verbally attack Trudeau as being “very dishonest and weak.”
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters on Sunday that Canada would retaliate against U.S. tariffs in a measured and reciprocal way, adding the country would always be willing to talk.
In Singapore Monday, Trump escalated the war of words with a fresh pair of tweets.
Trump’s Twitter tirades are consistent with his long-running complaints about U.S. trade deficits and campaign promises to “get tough” with U.S. trade partners.
The president continued his Tweetstorm from Singapore, where we was set to meet with North Korean president Kim Jong Un for a much-anticipated summit on nuclear disarmament on the Korean peninsula.
But a closer look at U.S. trade data suggests that Trump supporters in states that sent him to the White House are the last ones who should be rejoicing over the prospect of a trade war with Canada.
A CNBC analysis of 2016 voter turnouts and trade flows with Canada shows that states like Ohio, Texas and Indiana that supported Trump generally enjoy a surplus in goods trade with Canada. By contrast, the biggest goods trade deficits with Canada are in states like California and Illinois that voted for Clinton.
The major exception is Michigan, which runs a large trade deficit in goods with Canada and voted for Trump by a slim margin in 2017.
Trump’s trade complaints also include a fundamental misreading of the overall U.S, trade position with Canada.
Trump insists that trade relations are unfair because of a large U.S. trade deficit in goods with Canadian producers, suggesting that Canada is “winning” on trade.
That claim ignores a full accounting of the exchange of U.S. goods and services with Canada, Last year, goods exports totaled $282.5 billion; goods imports totaled $300.0 billion, for a trade deficit in goods of $17.5 billion, according to White House data.
But the U.S. economy, and the bulk of jobs it produces, is much more heavily weighted toward the delivery of services, from the production of television and movies to the delivery of a college education.
Those services also represent a major U.S. export. When a family from Montreal visits Disney World in Florida or a student from Toronto pays tuition to a university in Kansas, that exchange represents an export of U.S. services.
As it does with most of the rest to the world, the United States runs a trade surplus in services with Canada. Last year, services exports were $58.7 billion; services imports were $32.8 billion, for a services trade surplus of $25.9 billion.
That services surplus more than offset the deficit in goods, giving the U.S. an overall trade surplus with Canada of $8.4 billion