Mnuchin urged Trump to exempt Canada from steel and aluminum tariffs

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According to a CNN report, a "testy" phone call recently took place between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump regarding steel and aluminum tariffs implemented on imports coming from Canada.

Jim Heimerl, an OH pork producer and president of the U.S. National Pork Producers Council, said the 20% tariff on pork legs and shoulders eliminates his country's ability to compete in the Mexican market.

Rebuffing the criticism down the line, Mr Trump reportedly shot back: "Didn't you guys burn down the White House?"

President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walk to the Oval Office for a meeting at the White House on October 11, 2017. Historians note the British attack on Washington was in retaliation for the American attack on York, Ontario, in territory that eventually became Canada, which was then a British colony.

"To the degree one can ever take what is said as a joke", one source "on the call" told CNN, when asked if Trump meant the comment as a joke.

Two-way trade is worth USA $600 billion annually but the U.S. has a deficit with Mexico of around United States $65 billion, which Trump has argued is evidence of unfair trade between the two countries.

You'd think that as the current occupant of the White House, Trump might have heard about the incident in some detail.

Behind the scenes at the White House, there have been staff-level discussions for several days about whether Trump may pull the plug on the trip and send Vice President Pence in his stead, as he did for an April summit of Latin American leaders in Peru.

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Trump's justification for the new duties has provoked outrage from Canadians.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the summit host, and British Prime Minister Theresa May, who will also attend, are among those to sharply criticize the USA tariffs as unjustified and punitive.

"I regard this as much like a family quarrel", Kudlow said. "That Canada could be considered a national security threat to the United States is inconceivable".

"It is necessary and urgent to impose measures equivalent to the measures implemented by" the U.S., said the statement issued by the Mexican government.

Canada countered by announcing it would slap an estimated $16.6 billion in duties on some steel and aluminum products and other goods from the USA, including maple syrup, beer kegs, whisky and toilet paper.

Kudlow also insisted that the United States relationship with Canada, in particular, was still "very good".

President Trump's decision to impose tariffs on allies including Canada and the European Union has stoked fears of a trade war and is expected to be at the top of the agenda when Trump meets face-to-face with the world's economic powers at the G-7 summit in Canada on Friday.

Additionally, Trump has griped periodically both about German Chancellor Angela Merkel - largely because they disagree on many issues and have had an uneasy rapport - as well as British Prime Minister Theresa May, whom he sees as too politically correct, advisers say. Trudeau announced increased funding and border vigilance "to prevent transshipment and diversion of unfairly priced foreign steel and aluminum into the North American market", according to a statement released in April.

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