FACT CHECK: Does The US Export More To Canada Than Japan, The UK And China Combined?

Emily Larsen | Fact Check Reporter

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said Sunday that Canada is a larger market for the U.S. than Japan, the U.K. and China combined.

Verdict: False

The U.S. exported $342 billion in goods and services to Canada in 2017, compared to $425 billion in combined exports to Japan, the U.K. and China.

Fact Check:

The Trump administration announced last week that the U.S. would extend a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports from Canada. Freeland criticized the move on CNN’s “State of the Union,” noting the close diplomatic and economic relationship between the U.S. and Canada.

“Canada is the single largest market for the United States, larger than China, Japan and the U.K. combined,” she said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau brought up the same talking point on “Meet the Press” Sunday. “There are no two countries that are as interconnected, interdependent,” he said. “You sell more things to us every year than to UK, Japan and China combined.”

While Canada is one of the U.S.’s largest trading partners, it does not export more goods and services to Canada than it does to Japan, the U.K. and China combined.

According to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the U.S. exported $123 billion in goods and services to the U.K., $115 billion to Japan and $187 billion to China in 2017. That amounts to $425 billion for the three countries combined, compared to $342 billion in exports to Canada.

When discussing trade, some officials only cite figures for goods – physical products like clothing and food. But total trade includes services – intangible products like transportation, movie licenses and financial services – as well. After The Daily Caller News Foundation asked Global Affairs Canada about the figures, a spokesperson clarified that the talking point applies to U.S. exports of goods alone.

The U.S. does export more in physical goods to Canada than it does to Japan, the U.K. and China combined – $283 billion to Canada in 2017 compared to $256 billion to the three other countries, according to BEA data. Figures on goods exports from the Census Bureau also show higher goods exports to Canada: $282 billion compared to $254 billion to Japan, the U.K. and China. (Census figures are slightly different from the BEA’s due to differences in accounting.)

Reporting only goods figures can give a different picture of trade. For example, Trudeau once told President Donald Trump that the U.S. does not have a trade deficit with Canada, but Trump guessed that it does. While the U.S. had a goods trade deficit with Canada of $23.2 billion in 2017, it had a total trade surplus of $2.8 billion. (RELATED: Does The US Have A Trade Deficit With Canada?)

BEA figures show that the U.S. exports more goods and services to Canada than to any other individual country. Mexico, China, the UK and Japan are the next largest recipients of U.S. exports. The U.S. receives more goods and services from China and Mexico than it does from Canada, though. (RELATED: Is Europe The US’s Largest Trading Partner?)

The U.S. imposed the new tariffs after Department of Commerce reports released in February found that unfair steel and aluminum trading practices could threaten national security. Public officials and trade organizations mostly accused China of subsidizing and overproducing steel and aluminum in order to artificially lower prices and cripple competition. Canada and other countries were initially exempted from the tariffs.

Freeland announced $12.8 billion in retaliatory tariffs last week on U.S. steel, aluminum and other goods. “This is the strongest trade action Canada has taken since the Second World War,” she said on CNN. “It is perfectly reciprocal and balanced … This will be a dollar-for-dollar retaliation.”

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Emily Larsen

Fact Check Reporter