Trump threatens to end trading if barriers not cut
At G-7 with allies, he says U.S. ‘like the piggy bank that everybody’s robbing’
WASHINGTON – President Trump told global leaders gathered at the Group of Seven summit in Quebec on Saturday that they must reduce trade barriers and floated the idea of lowering tariffs completely if other countries agree to a more pure form of open trade.
Trump threatened to stop trading with other nations if they decline to lower barriers he has repeatedly described as unfair, and he warned allies against taking retaliatory measures against steep metal tariffs that he imposed last month.
“We’re like the piggy bank that everybody’s robbing,” Trump said. “And that ends.”
Ending trade with other nations under the current system, Trump said, would be “a very profitable answer if I have to do it.”
The remarks, following a two-day meeting in Canada with the world’s largest industrialized economies, were among the most strident Trump has used to describe what he sees as an outof-whack global trade system that harms U.S. industries.
Trump tried to downplay any notion
that the meeting in Canada was contentious. He repeatedly described his relationship with the other leaders at the summit as “a 10” and said he did not blame the other countries for their positions on trade.
Trump drew international criticism last month for leveling a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% duty on aluminum, measures the president says are necessary for national security. The president has also said he is considering a tariff on imported cars.
The president said the ideal situation would be a completely free trade system with the other G-7 nations — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Under such an arrangement, he said, the U.S. would agree to remove all tariffs and barriers if the other countries did as well.
Trump did not indicate he had received any concessions in his negotiations on trade at the summit. Several other leaders have threatened retaliatory tariffs.
“If they retaliate,” Trump said, “they’re making a mistake.”
The other leaders at the summit didn’t address Trump’s remarks directly, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron both posted photos that showed an alternate perspective.
“Day two of the G7 summit in Canada: spontaneous meeting between two working sessions. #G7Charlevoix,” Merkel posted on Instagram with a photograph of her and Macron staring down Trump, who sat with his arms crossed as others looked on.
Macron posted a photo of leaders and aides surrounding Trump, who is one of two people sitting, as Macron gestures at him.
Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican who has been critical of the president, said if Trump “is actually serious about leading the expansion of a G-7 no-tariff, free-trade agreement, that’s tremendous, tremendous news . ... I would happily carry his bag to every single meeting of those negotiations.”
But “the path to more trade begins with less whining on the global stage. ... The constant victim-talk doesn’t help anyone,” Sasse said.
President Trump speaks to reporters Saturday during the G-7 summit in Canada.