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Trump warns he could cause the ‘ruination’ of Canada

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump speaks at a fundraiser in Fargo, North Dakota, on Sept. 7, 2018. (AP photo)

US President Donald Trump has warned that he would cause the “ruination” of Canada if he imposed tariffs on the cars being imported to the United States from Canada.

Trump issued the threat while travelling to a Republican fundraising event in North Dakota on Friday, the day when American and Canadian negotiators discussed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) but they again failed to produce a deal. The NAFTA between the two countries were also held last week.

Trump has threatened to target Canada with the auto tariffs if Ottawa refused to make NAFTA concessions.

“Canada has been ripping us off for a long time. Now, they’ve got to treat us fairly,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One.

“I don’t want to do anything bad to Canada. I can — all I have to do is tax their cars, it would be devastating. If I tax cars coming in from Canada, it would be devastating,” he continued, according to reports.

Later speaking in Fargo, North Dakota, he said, “We cannot continue to get ripped off like we’ve been ripped off before.”

“Actually, on some countries, including Canada, a tax on cars would be the ruination of the country,” he said. “That’s how big it is. It’d be the ruination of the country. Now, they’ve taken advantage of us for many decades. We can’t let this happen anymore. We have a country to run.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said on Friday that the issue standing in the way of a deal was Canadian inflexibility on dairy.

“The United States would rather have a trade deal with Canada, but it has to be a good deal, right. And the word that continues to block the deal is M-I-L-K,” Kudlow said on Fox Business. “I’m just saying: let go — milk, dairy, drop the barriers, give our farmers a break, and we can fix some other things.”

During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly said that he would pull the US out of NAFTA which was signed by the US, Canada, and Mexico back in 1994.

He described NAFTA as the “single worst trade deal ever approved” by the US, and claimed that it has led to the outsourcing of thousands of jobs from the US to Mexico and China.

Last month, Trump threatened Canada with auto tariffs if Washington and Ottawa cannot renegotiate NAFTA.

Trump tweeted on August 10 that a deal with Mexico City is “coming along nicely,” but expressed dissatisfaction with Canada.

On March 8, Trump said that he was moving to impose a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the EU, angering the US' top allies.

Bilateral ties between the US and Canada plunged to their lowest in decades and reached new depths at the 44th G7 summit, held in La Malbaie, Quebec, in June, when Trump abruptly rejected the joint statement and insulted his Canadian host, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Earlier, Trudeau had insisted in a press briefing that Trump's decision to invoke national security to justify US tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum was "insulting" to Canadian veterans who had stood by their US allies in conflicts dating back to World War I.

In June, Canada launched a retaliatory trade war against the US by introducing fresh punitive tariffs on American summertime essentials.

Canada’s tariffs deliberately targeted more than 250 American products from those US states where Trump’s Republican Party is fighting hard to hold Congressional seats in the November midterm elections.

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