Friday, 19 October, 2018

Trump to skip G7 climate sessions following spat with Macron, Trudeau

Dairy cows. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Jonathan Hayward THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
Kenneth Drake | 08 June, 2018, 12:55

Nothing US President Donald Trump is doing will "make the world better, safer, or more peaceful", German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung on Friday.

At a joint press conference, Macron stressed: "A trade war doesn't spare anyone".

Tensions between the USA and its allies have increased in recent weeks after a series of White House decisions have frustrated some of the United States' closest global partners. Trudeau said: "We are going to defend our industries and our workers".

Trudeau told reporters that the U.S. justification for the tariffs on steel and aluminum on national security grounds was "laughable", triggering a riposte from Trump on Twitter.

While the Trump administration has characterized their rift as a family quarrel, his fellow leaders appear to be itching for a fight with a U.S. president - the G7's traditional patriarch - during the two-day summit in the Canadian countryside.

Earlier Thursday, Trudeau offered Trump some qualified kudos on his North Korea peace efforts, along with French President Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Trump showed no sign of backing down on Thursday, first taking to Twitter to accuse both France and Canada of imposing massive tariffs on US goods and then accusing Trudeau of "being so indignant". "Look forward to seeing them tomorrow". Trudeau and Trump are due to meet on Friday "and they will have lots to talk about", the official added.

"Take down your tariffs & barriers or we will more than match you!"

And on Friday German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier called for Europe to remain unified in the face of rising trade tensions with the United States, saying it was unclear how a summit of the Group of Seven rich nations would end.

The White House subsequently announced the president would be leaving on Saturday, before the summit formally ends, to fly to Singapore for a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.


Trump took to Twitter later in the evening to blast Trudeau on a range of issue tied to the ongoing trade differences between the two countries, including Trump's imposition of punishing steel and aluminum tariffs and the unresolved North American Free Trade Agreement talks.

A senior European Union official briefing reporters on the pre-summit negotiations used discreet understatement to describe the impasse, but only ended up underscoring the width of the rift. Trump's policies have been more protectionist and confrontational, driven by a perception that the US has been the victim of poorly conceived trade deals.

Already at the meeting of the finance ministers ahead of the G-7, the six non-U.S. countries released a statement raising concerns about US trade actions. The other six countries signed a sharp condemnation of the president's tariffs earlier this week.

But they expressed support for the USA president's historic meeting in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, scheduled to take place early next week.

Most recently, Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear agreement, following his earlier decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

A humiliated Mr Macron then delivered a speech in Congress that repudiated much of Mr Trump's agenda, restating his commitment to both the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate agreement that Mr Trump has turned his back on. America's closest allies are frustrated by Trump's imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs last week, as well as his decision to withdraw the US from the Iranian nuclear accord and the Paris climate agreement.

Canada and other US allies are retaliating with tariffs on USA exports.

There also is concern inside the administration about what may happen once Trump arrives in Canada.

The comments come amid growing concern about trade disputes between the U.S. and its partners in North America and in Europe. Trump injected further uncertainty recently when he floated the idea of replacing NAFTA with two separate trade deals, one with each country.

Despite the conflict, Mallaby predicted that the countries would still seek to work with the USA, calling it "the indispensable country".

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