Before the Smiles, Mounting Tensions Between Trudeau and Trump
09 June, 2018, 10:28 | Author: Eric Barnett
Divisions between Donald Trump and the other leaders of the G7 nations have been laid bare at a summit in Canada. On Friday, Mr Trump made a surprise call for Moscow to be readmitted, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel said other members were against the idea.
Trudeau meets with Trump late Friday. "Take down your tariffs & barriers or we will more than match you!"
European and North American leaders have privately and publicly scolded the United States over trade tariffs placed on aluminium and steel this month. President Trump tweeted directly at the leaders he was about to sit down with.
Trudeau, alongside Trump, was asked if he was disappointed the US president was leaving early.
"Prime Minister Trudeau is being so indignant, bringing up the relationship that the US and Canada had over the many years and all sorts of other things", Trump said in a tweet on Thursday.
At a photo op at the start of a head-to-head meeting with Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Trump joked that "Justin" had agreed to drop all trade tariffs, then insisted the two countries are making progress on North American free-trade agreement trade talks.
The other G7 leaders - from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, as well as the presidents of the European Commission and European Council - have been trying to impress upon Trump the complexity of trade issues, insisting that his oft-repeated complaint about the trade imbalance between the US and allies on many manufactured goods is only part of the picture.
Tension has been building over a year of policymaking that has distanced the USA from traditional allies, including by Trump's decisions to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear agreement. "His preference now, and he asked me to convey this, is to actually negotiate with Mexico and Canada separately", Kudlow said on Fox News on Tuesday. And French President Emmanuel Macron this week threatened to drop the United States from the group's final agreement altogether. "If it doesn't happen, we come out even better!" the president wrote on Twitter, hours before he's due to arrive in Quebec.
In the days leading up to the summit, Trudeau and Macron have severely criticized Trump's new tariffs, which critics say threaten to drive up prices for American consumers and companies and heighten uncertainty for businesses and investors around the globe.
Before heading off to La Malbaie, in Ottawa, Macron and Trudeau offered an olive branch of sorts by offering Trump a modest measure of support in his historic meeting in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un following the G7 summit.
"With that being said, Russian Federation should be in this meeting". Canada, very unfairly. Mexico, very unfairly.
The president called for the G-7 to readmit Russian Federation, to the shock of the other foreign leaders, who, in concert with then-President Barack Obama had kicked the country out of the club as a rebuke to Moscow for illegally annexing Crimea.
Despite the lobbying and pleas, Trump has pressed ahead with tariffs as well as pulling out of the Paris climate accord. The official said disagreements remain, particularly with the US on a number of issues, but the goal remains to reach agreement on all the big issues.
The suggestion from Trump appeared to be an unnecessary early distraction from a host of other pressing issues pulling Washington and Western allies apart.
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