Trump vs the rest of the world

The Malta Business Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

It was Trump vs. the rest one more time at the G7 meet­ing in Que­bec last Fri­day and Satur­day as the Pres­i­dent tweeted from his plane to Sin­ga­pore his with­drawal from the la­bo­ri­ously crafted Charlevoix G7 Sum­mit Com­mu­niqué adopted 90 min­utes ear­lier.

Lack of con­sen­sus on key is­sues such as en­ergy and cli­mate change at last year’s G7 and G20 meet­ings in Taormina and Ham­burg had been ac­com­mo­dated by lan­guage in the fi­nal doc­u­ments set­ting out US dif­fer­ences or by the is­sue of a G19 sup­ported doc­u­ment on en­ergy and cli­mate. The for­mer was also done in Que­bec but then Pres­i­dent Trump could not stom­ach re­marks by the Sum­mit host, Canada’s Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau to his clos­ing press con­fer­ence.

In a se­ries of air­borne tweets af­ter leav­ing the sum­mit half way through day 2, Pres­i­dent Trump slammed "false state­ments at [Mr Trudeau's] news con­fer­ence, and the fact that Canada is charg­ing mas­sive tar­iffs to our US farm­ers, work­ers and com­pa­nies. I have in­structed our US reps not to en­dorse the com­mu­niqué as we look at tar­iffs on au­to­mo­biles flood­ing the US mar­ket!" He also ac­cused Mr Trudeau of be­ing “very dis­hon­est and weak”. Trudeau stated that “Cana­di­ans, we’re po­lite, we’re rea­son­able, but we also will not be pushed around”.

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Merkel, France’s Pres­i­dent Macron, Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Juncker and Euro­pean Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk all con­demned Trump’s con­duct while affirming their de­ter­mi­na­tion to im­ple­ment the Sum­mit Com­mu­niqué’s de­ci­sions.

Brief­ing the House of Com­mons on Mon­day even­ing, UK Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May de­scribed the Sum­mit as “dif­fi­cult, with, at times, some very can­did dis­cus­sions. But the con­clu­sion I draw is that it is only through con­tin- ued di­a­logue that we can find ways to work to­gether to re­solve the chal­lenges we face”.

In fact G7 com­mu­niqués are not legally bind­ing but are nev­er­the­less firm com­mit­ments by the world’s lead­ing in­dus­tri­alised coun­tries for ac­tion in the com­ing year.

The 28-para­graph Com­mu­niqué ad­dresses key global is­sues un­der five head­ings – In­vest­ing in Growth for Every­one, Pre­par­ing for Jobs for the Fu­ture, Ad­vanc­ing Gen­der Equal­ity and Women’s Em­pow­er­ment, Build­ing a more Peace­ful and Se­cure World, Work­ing To­gether on Cli­mate Change and Oceans and Clean En­ergy.

The text is sup­ported by sep­a­rate de­tailed texts on equal eco­nomic growth, in­no­va­tive fi­nanc­ing for devel­op­ment, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, girls’ ed­u­ca­tion in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, sex­ual and gen­der-based vi­o­lence, de­fence of democ­racy from for­eign threats and a blue­print for healthy oceans, seas and re­silient coastal com­mu­ni­ties.

With­out Japan and the US, Canada, France, Ger­many, Italy, the United King­dom and the Euro­pean Union also en­dorsed the G7 Oceans Plas­tics Char­ter.

On cli­mate change, para­graph 24 states that "Canada, France, Ger­many, Italy, Japan, the United King­dom and the Euro­pean Union reaf­firm their strong com­mit­ment to im­ple­ment the Paris Agree­ment" – the 2015 UN pact in force since Novem­ber 2016 from which Pres­i­dent Trump an­nounced US with­drawal last June, though this will only be­come ef­fec­tive in Novem­ber 2020. A con­trast­ing US view in par. 26 reads: "The United States will en­deav­our to work closely with other coun­tries to help them ac­cess and use fos­sil fu­els more cleanly and ef­fi­ciently and help de­ploy re­new­able and other clean en­ergy sources. The United States re­it­er­ates its com­mit­ment to ad­vanc­ing sus­tain­able eco­nomic growth and un­der­scores the im­por­tance of con­tin­ued ac­tion to re­duce air and wa­ter pol­lu­tion."

Much of the con­cern over the G7 fall­out fo­cuses on world trade and what the Trump with­drawal and com­ments mean for the fu­ture of the mul­ti­lat­eral sys­tem he has al­ready de­fied by im­pos­ing tar­iffs on steel and aluminium im­ports from ma­jor trad­ing part­ners in­clud­ing the EU, which will re­act with tar­iffs on a range of US goods as from 1 July. The com­mu­niqué states “we un­der­line the cru­cial role of a rules-based in­ter­na­tional trad­ing sys­tem and con­tinue to fight pro­tec­tion­ism. We com­mit to mod­ernise the WTO (World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion) to make it fairer as soon as pos­si­ble. We strive to re­duce tar­iff bar­ri­ers, non-tar­iff bar­ri­ers and sub­si­dies”.

Among many com­men­ta­tors on what this lat­est spat means for in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions, Alden Meyer, direc­tor of strat­egy and pol­icy at the US-based Union of Con­cerned Sci­en­tists said that “the blow Trump dealt at the G7 fun­da­men­tally chal­lenges the ef­fi­cacy of other fo­rums that have served as global guide­posts for years. It is a re­al­iza­tion that this is a very dif­fer­ent pres­i­dent, dif­fer­ent White House and ad­min­is­tra­tion and the usual norms of ne­go­ti­a­tion and diplo­macy re­ally don't ap­ply." The full text of the Sum­mit com­mu­niqué can be found at https://g7.gc.ca/en/of­fi­cial­doc­u­ments/charlevoix-g7-sum­mit-com­mu­nique/

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.