Donald Trump divides G7 over trade and threats to worldwide order

Marsha Scott
June 11, 2018

US President Donald Trump will be leaving early from the summit with the leaders of the G7 countries after an unfruitful debate on trade tariffs.

"People can't charge us 270 percent and we charge them nothing, that doesn't work anymore", he said.

He also denied the summit had been contentious, a remark that contradicted what one G7 official described as an "extraordinary" exchange on Friday in which Trump repeated a list of trade grievances, mainly concerning the European Union and Canada.

But tensions had already been seething over trade after the Trump administration confirmed on May 31 it would apply additional tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and European Union countries, ending a two-month exemption period.

Responding to Trump's proposal, Italy's new Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte tweeted on Friday: "I agree with President @realDonaldTrump: Russia should re-enter the G8".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has floated an idea to set up a mechanism to resolve trade differences with the United States and prevent future ones, a French official says as consensus appeared to elude G7 leaders at a summit in Canada.

Mr. Trump's tweets followed a press conference by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said that Canada would be going through with retaliatory tariffs given the U.S.'s insistence on steel and aluminum imports. He will fly to Singapore to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which he described as a "mission of peace".

CITY-President Donald Trump told the Group of Seven (G7) leaders that there should be no tariffs and barriers among the G7 countries, during the summit in La Malbaie, Quebec.

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On Friday, European Council President Donald Tusk said Trump's criticism of the worldwide rules-based order is "playing into the hands of those who seek a new post-West order where liberal democracy and fundamental freedoms would cease to exist".

"The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be", Macron said.

This year, the summit will be Friday and Saturday in Quebec, Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau said that message was communicated clearly to Trump during his meetings at the G7 leaders' summit, which is wrapping up Saturday.

The back-on-track summit followed a whirlwind of diplomacy after Trump called off the meeting in late May.

The relationship has reportedly frayed to the point where Trump was considering sending Vice President Mike Pence to the G7 summit in his place, according to a Washington Post report.

"The relationships were outstanding, but because of the fact that United States leaders of the past didn't do a good job on trade-and, again, I'm not blaming countries, I'm blaming our people that represented our past-it's gonna change", Trump said. So far the prime minister has said only that Italy remains a committed member of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and a special ally of the U.S., and that he will push for a review of sanctions against Russian Federation.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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