Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

G7 leaders meet amid fear of a global trade war

G7 leaders meet amid fear of a global trade war

White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow, left, and National Security Adviser John Bolton look on as President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the G-7 summit, Saturday, June 9, 2018, in Charlevoix, Canada.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau forcefully responded to Donald Trump's trade threats at the Group of Seven summit in Quebec, vowing Saturday that Canada won't be "pushed around" in a confrontation with the U.S.

"As Canadians, we are polite, we're reasonable, but also we will not be pushed around", Trudeau said.

Mr. Trump said he stood up his G7 allies who were angry over USA steel and aluminum tariffs imposed against Canada, Europe and Mexico.

Trump repeated the call on Saturday, saying "we're looking for peace in the world".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel sat between Macron and Trump on a sofa, while Trudeau sat to the left of the U.S. president.

Trump's reversal, announced while he was en route to Singapore for a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, sent his G7 partners scrambling.

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He said the U.S. required fair access to markets and an end to unfair trade practices, telling reporters the "United States has been taken advantage of for decades and decades".

"There will not be a sunset clause. we will not, can not sign a trade deal that expires automatically every five years", he told a news conference at the end of a Group of Seven summit in Quebec.

"The idea that, you know, our soldiers who had fought and died together on the beaches of World War II and the mountains of Afghanistan, and have stood shoulder to shoulder in some of the most hard places in the world, that are always there for each other, somehow-this is insulting to that", he said.

On the North American free-trade negotiations, Mr. Trump said he proposed a bilateral deal to Mr. Trudeau, an idea the prime minister rejected.

"The Prime Minister said nothing he hasn't said before - both in public, and in private conversation with the President."

Trump's statement was made just before he left: the USA president has been at odds with the G-7 countries over mounting import duties disagreements.

Trudeau's office, reeling from the abrupt Trump reversal hours after the two men had joked and smiled their way through a fractious G7 meeting, said only that Trudeau had said nothing in his news conference that he hadn't said before.

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He said he had suggested to the other G7 leaders that all trade barriers, including tariffs and subsidies, be eliminated.

The tweets will be a serious and completely unexpected blow to the French president Emanuel Macron and the German chancellor Angela Merkel, who believed a deal to smooth over tensins on US-European trade had been agreed. "But he doesn't bring up the fact that they charge us up to 300% on dairy - hurting our Farmers, killing our Agriculture", the USA president said.

All seven countries agreed to a joint statement on artificial intelligence, global trade, middle class growth, innovation, girls' education, and defending democracies from foreign intrusions.

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.

"We are focused on everything we accomplished here at the G7 summit", the statement, released by Cameron Ahmad, said. They have recovered somewhat, but are still vulnerable and Italy's new government is also a risk.

Trump added to the disunity before his arrival at the Quebec resort town of La Malbaie on Friday when he called for Russian Federation to be readmitted into the informal annual gathering of seven advanced economies.

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