Bri­tain, US ‘turn­ing in­ward’, Cana­dian PM says in Ire­land

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Bri­tain and the United States are “turn­ing in­ward,” Canada’s Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau said at a press con­fer­ence with his Ir­ish coun­ter­part yes­ter­day in which both lead­ers took swipes at their heavy­weight neigh­bors. Trudeau also said dur­ing a visit to Dublin that there were “clear dis­agree­ments” with the United States ahead of the G20 sum­mit this week, where US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is ex­pected to at­tend.

“The choices made by the United States on trade and cli­mate change are at odds with the ma­jor­ity of G20 coun­tries, or even all the other G20 coun­tries,” he said af­ter talks with Ire­land’s Leo Varad­kar. Trudeau pre­dicted that there would be “ro­bust and hon­est ex­changes about how to serve not only our ci­ti­zens but the whole planet” at the sum­mit, while adding that such meet­ings were also a chance to try to find “com­mon ground”.

The United States and Canada are locked in a trade dis­pute, with the US ac­cus­ing Canada of ex­port­ing its prod­ucts at un­fairly low “dump­ing” prices. Canada is also a ma­jor sup­porter of the Paris Agree­ment to com­bat global warm­ing, which Trump has said he wants to pull out of.

Both lead­ers is­sued thinly veiled crit­i­cism of their neigh­bors’ pol­i­tics. “There are tremen­dous op­por­tu­ni­ties for coun­tries like Canada and Ire­land, at a time where per­haps our sig­nif­i­cant al­lies and trad­ing part­ners in the case of both the US and the UK are turn­ing in­ward or at least turn­ing into a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion,”Trudeau said.

The sen­ti­ment was echoed by Varad­kar, who re­it­er­ated his coun­try’s com­mit­ment to the Euro­pean Union as it pre­pares for Bri­tain’s exit from the bloc. “We each share a re­la­tion­ship with a very big neigh­bor, a neigh­bor that has to a cer­tain ex­tent de­cided to go in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion at least for the time be­ing,” he said. Varad­kar said that “un­for­tu­nately” Bri­tain had cho­sen to leave the Euro­pean Union and would not be able to ne­go­ti­ate free-trade agree­ments like the one be­tween Canada and the EU un­til it has of­fi­cially left.

“I can’t see a sce­nario where Bri­tain could re­main a mem­ber of the EU, even in tran­si­tional pe­riod, and then ne­go­ti­ate other trade deals on their own”. Varad­kar, the son of an In­dian mi­grant and Ire­land’s first openly gay prime min­is­ter, said he and Trudeau had dis­cussed a wide range of is­sues, in­clud­ing the ben­e­fits of im­mi­gra­tion and di­ver­sity. “Both coun­tries and both gov­ern­ments are com­mit­ted to mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism as the best means by which we can solve the world’s prob­lems,” Varad­kar said. —AFP

DUBLIN: Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau, left, and Ir­ish Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar ex­change gifts dur­ing their meet­ing at Farm­leigh House. —AP

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