After days of verbal sparring over new U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, Trump joined the leaders of major nations in an idyllic Canadian resort town.
The U.S. President plans to leave Canada several hours early, heading to Singapore for his summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
It will mean he misses G-7 sessions on climate change, clean energy and ocean protection.
The Prime Minister will join other world leaders in pressing the US president for a last-minute agreement on tariffs before he flies out to Singapore to meet with Kim Jong-un
The U.S. President plans to leave Canada several hours early, heading to Singapore for his summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Mr Trump is pictured with Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde
U.S. President Donald Trump, right, takes his seat after arriving late for the Gender Equality Advisory Council breakfast during the G-7 summit
Mr Trump also suggested the G-7 offer a seat at the table to Russia — after the country was ousted from the group after it annexed Crimea
On his way to the annual gathering, Trump laid out his fundamental grievance, saying that other countries ‘have been taking advantage of the United States on trade’.
He also suggested the G-7 offer a seat at the table to Russia — after the country was ousted from the group after it annexed Crimea.
Trump’s latest moves build on 18 months of nationalist policy-making, leave him out of step with the globally-minded organisation.
They have also prompted speculation that the group could fracture into ‘the G6 plus one’.
But in meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump stressed his friendships with the allies while continuing to insist he wanted to see changes on trade.
Trump bantered easily with Trudeau, joking that the neighboring leader had ‘agreed to cut all tariffs and all trade barriers.’
And he emphasized a ‘good relationship’ with Macron, saying they sometimes have a ‘little test’ on trade, but predicting a positive outcome.
Trump’s latest moves build on 18 months of nationalist policy-making, leave him out of step with the globally-minded organisation
Complaint: Trump had been said to be tired of British minister Theresa May’s tone and did not appear to be offering her warm looks
Still, the fundamental differences remained clear. Trump again railed against trade deficits with other countries and repeated that he may pursue separate trade deals with Canada and Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, while Canada would prefer to renegotiate the three-way deal
Asked if Trudeau was upset that Trump would be leaving the summit in Canada early on Saturday, Trump joked, ‘He’s happy.’
Macron said he and Trump held ‘open and direct’ discussions, adding that he thought there was a way to get a ‘win-win’ outcome on trade, though details remained unclear.
What are tariffs and why has Trump’s plan to impose them been met with such criticism?
Tariffs are charges which governments can slap on certain goods or products imported into the country.
Governments usually try to negotiate minimum tariffs so that goods can be traded freely around the world.
This is because for many years most politicians have agreed that free trade leads to greater wealth and makes products cheaper to buy in the shops.
But China has massively ramped up the amount of steel it has produced in recent years and dumped it cheaply on the market.
This global steel glut has made it far harder for steel industries in other countries to compete – prompting plant closures and job losses.
In the US this has sparked widespread anger which has led to Donald Trump imposing his hefty tariffs in a bid to protect the American steel industry.
But critics around the world have blasted the move – warning this will result in a tit for tat trade war which will only push up prices in the long term.
And while Mr Trump has hinted Britain could be exempted from the charges, practicably this would be impossible while the UK remains in the EU, which imposes ad receives tariffs as a single trading bloc.
There would have to be an EU-wide exemption for Britain to avoid the tariffs.
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Both sides suggested some progress in NAFTA talks. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said they were ‘close to a deal,’ but added that there was also discussion of shifting to a bilateral deal.
A Canadian official said the leaders discussed accelerating the pace of the talks.
Trump spent Friday participating in the rituals of the G-7, including the formal greeting by host Trudeau, a group photo in front of the sparkling St. Lawrence River and a working lunch of Arctic char and buckwheat salad.
Other members of the Group of Seven are Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Germany and Britain. The European Union also attends.
Trump’s relations with the others have hit such a low point that a key question was whether the seven countries can agree on a joint statement of priorities at the conclusion of the meeting.
Macron said Thursday on Twitter, ‘The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be.’
Happy family meal: Lunch, a distinctly non-Trumpian menu which included Arctic char perfumed with Labrador tea, saw him seated between Germany’s Angela Merkel and Britain’s Theresa May. To the right of may is Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, French president Emmanuel Macron and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau
Trump said Friday he thinks the group will produce a joint statement.
Before arriving at the Quebec summit, Trump injected fresh drama by asking why Russia wasn’t included in the group.
‘They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table,’ he said.
Russia was ousted from the elite group in 2014 as punishment for President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea and support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
In the U.S., special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia in a bid to sway the 2016 presidential election in his favor.
The comments drew a mixed response.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the issue ‘hasn’t been raised around the G-7 table,’ though she said there have been ‘some direct conversations in bilateral meetings.’
She added ‘there are no grounds whatsoever for bringing Russia with its current behavior back into the G-7.’
In Paris, Macron’s office said such a move wouldn’t make sense and pointed out that the latest country to impose economic sanctions on Russia was the U.S.
Italy’s new premier, Giuseppe Conte, tweeted that he agreed with Trump, saying: ‘Russia should go back into the G-8. In the interest of all.’
Russia seemed unconcerned. State news agencies quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying, ‘We are putting the emphasis on other formats.’
Over the course of his presidency, Trump has inflamed allies with his isolationist policies, including withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate accord and the international Iran-nuclear agreement.
‘The rules-based international order is being challenged, not by the usual suspects but by its main architect and guarantor: the United States,’ said European Council President Donald Tusk.
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