(CNSNews.com) - In remarks prior to a bilateral meeting at the G7, President Donald Trump joked that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has agreed to cut all tariffs and trade barriers between the U.S. and Canada.
The prime minister joked in return that the North American Free Trade Agreement is “in good shape.”
“Well, Justin, it's been really great, and I appreciate -- you know, Justin has agreed to cut all tariffs,” Trump said, laughing, “and all trade barriers between Canada and the United States, so I'm very happy about that.”
“So I'd say NAFTA is in good shape,” Trudeau said, also laughing.
“But we are actually working on it. We are actually working on it, but our relationship is very good. We are actually working on cutting tariffs and making it all very fair for both countries, and we've made a lot of progress today. We'll see how it all works out, but we've made a lot of progress,” Trump said.
“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 I think better for both countries, but we're talking about that, among other things. But the relationship is probably better -- as good or better than it's ever been, and I think we'll get to something very beneficial to Canada and to the United States,” the president said.
It was an unexpected moment of levity between the two leaders considering Trudeau’s outspoken opposition to Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union.
In a press conference shortly after the tariff announcement, Trudeau called the tariffs “totally unacceptable.”
“That Canada could be considered a national security threat to the United States is inconceivable. These tariffs will harm industry and workers on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, disrupting linked supply chains that have made North American steel and aluminum more competitive all around the world,” the prime minister said at the time.
In contrast, Trudeau opened up his remarks on Friday by saying what a “pleasure” it was to welcome Trump to Charlevoix, Canada, and that it was an opportunity for them to discuss “a broad range of issues.”
“Obviously, trade has been a topic of discussion and will continue to be, but our engagement towards the world, how we're working together to create good jobs for folks on both sides of the border and around. We both got elected on a commitment to grow the middle class and help those working hard to join it, and that's exactly the kinds of things that we're going to stay focused on, and it's a pleasure to have you here, Donald,” Trudeau said.