QUEBEC CITY—President Donald Trump had a bilateral meeting on Friday with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the G7 Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec. Both leaders traded friendly jokes about trade and NAFTA before the start of the meeting.
Trump first joked that “Justin has agreed to cut all tariffs, all trade barriers between Canada and the United States,” which made Trudeau laugh. Trudeau responded, “I would say NAFTA is in good shape.”
Both leaders are expected to address tensions over trade and the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
“Our relationship is very good. We’re actually working on cutting tariffs and making it all very fair for both countries,” said Trump. “And we’ve made a lot of progress today. We’ll see how it all works out.”
Trump reiterated the United States would not rule out separate bilateral trade deals with Canada and Mexico.
“It could be that NAFTA will be a different form. It could be with Canada, with Mexico, one on one. A much simpler agreement, much easier to do,” he explained.
After his meeting with Trudeau, Trump held a separate meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.
“We had a very direct and open discussion,” said Macron after the meeting, adding both sides had goodwill to find a win-win solution.
“The United States has had a very big trade deficit for many years with the European Union, and we’re working it out,” said Trump after the meeting. “And Emmanuel has been very helpful in that regard.”
Trump also at that time said he had a “very, very good meeting on NAFTA with Justin and his representatives.”
Before heading to the summit, Trump engaged in a bitter back-and-forth with both Macron and Trudeau over Twitter, accusing Canada and the EU of being unfair to the United States.
“Why isn’t the European Union and Canada informing the public that for years they have used massive Trade Tariffs and non-monetary Trade Barriers against the U.S.,” Trump wrote on Thursday. “Totally unfair to our farmers, workers & companies.”
The world leaders are meeting at a time of heightened tensions over trade between the United States and other G7 members. A week before the summit, Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada, Mexico, and the EU.
Host country Canada is the largest supplier of metals. Trudeau earlier called the tariffs “unacceptable” and said they would introduce countermeasures.
Trump accused Trudeau of being “indignant,” in another tweet on Thursday.
“He doesn’t bring up the fact that they charge us up to 300 percent on dairy, hurting our Farmers, killing our Agriculture,” he wrote.
A senior White House official said that Trump would leave the summit at 10:30 am on Saturday rather than 3:30 pm, as originally scheduled.
Asked if Trudeau was disappointed that the president would be leaving the summit early, Trump joked “He’s happy.”