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Trump, in trade feud with allies, say won't let them take advantage of U.S

Reuters  |  SINGAPORE 

By and David Brunnstrom

(Reuters) - U.S. on Tuesday kept up his feud with America's closest allies over trade, saying he could not allow them to continue taking advantage of the

Although he insisted he had a good relationship with Justin Trudeau, just days after blowing up a summit the Canadian had hosted, Trump took another dig at him, saying the had a big trade deficit with and that "a little balance" was needed.

Trump's comments after a historic summit in with North Korean leader Un were the president's most extensive on the matter since he tweeted that Trudeau was "very dishonest and weak" and raised the prospect of tariffs against auto imports, a move that would imperil the Canadian economy.

"We are being taken advantage of by virtually every one of those countries," Trump told a conference on Tuesday. "Look, countries cannot continue to take advantage of us on trade."

Trump left a weekend summit in early, then immediately announced he was backing out of a joint communique, torpedoing what appeared to be a fragile consensus on the trade dispute between and its main allies.

The escalating clash cast a shadow over the Trump's nuclear talks with Kim and led critics to question why the was bashing U.S. partners while appearing to cosy up to one of Washington's bitterest long-time foes.

Trump took time at his conference to explain a photo that went viral from the summit. It showed a seemingly glowering German and several other leaders appearing to confront a seated Trump.

"We finished the meeting, really everybody was happy, and I agreed to sign something," Trump said. "And in fact the picture with Angela Merkel, who I get along with very well, where I'm sitting there like this ... we're waiting for the document because I wanted to see the final document as changed.

"I know it didn't look friendly," Trump said. "I know it was reported sort of nasty both ways - I was angry at her, or she. But actually we were just talking, the whole group, about something unrelated to everything, very friendly."

Trump said he decided to back out of the communique after watching Trudeau's closing summit conference, at which he warned that would not be pushed around on tariffs - a point the Canadian had made several times before.

"He'll learn that's going to cost a lot of money for the people of Canada. He'll learn, he can't do that," Trump said.

Trump fired off a volley of tweets on Monday further venting anger at NATO allies, the and Trudeau. Some of Trump's aides also lashed out at the Canadian

Trump's extraordinary outburst in recent days appeared aimed at striking a chord with voters who support his "First" agenda. "Not fair to the people of America! $800 billion trade deficit," he tweeted on Monday.

In the same set of tweets, Trump said: "Justin acts hurt when called out!"

On Tuesday, Trump said: "We have a big trade deficit with Canada ... it's close to $100 billion a year deal loss."

However, the office of the U.S. has said the ran an $8.4 billion trade surplus with Canada in 2017.

Canadian officials have stressed the two countries' extensive trading relationship and pointed out that Canada is the top export destination for 35 U.S. states and that 9 million jobs in the United States depend on trade with its northern neighbour.

(Reporting by and David Brunnstrom, Editing by Robert Birsel, and Gerry Doyle)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, June 12 2018. 19:20 IST