Woonsocket Call

G-7 meet­ing fails to calm ten­sions as Trump, Trudeau ex­change trade threats

- By DAMIAN PALETTA U.S. News · US Politics · Politics · Donald Trump · Quebec · Justin Trudeau · United States of America · West Ham United F.C. · Austria · Canada · Iceland · Twitter · European Union · Mexico · Belgium · Belarus · United Kingdom · Germany · Germany national football team · France · France national football team · Italy · Italy National Football Team · Japan · Russia · Russian Empire · Ukraine · Singapore · Kim Jong-woon · United Nations · Kim Jong-il · Congress of the United States · Angela Merkel · Emmanuel Macron · UN Security Council · Barack Obama · U.S. government · Group of 7

QUE­BEC CITY — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump feuded with Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau and threat­ened to im­pose penal­ties on for­eign au­to­mo­bile im­ports Satur­day, cap­ping an ac­ri­mo­nious meet­ing of the Group of Seven in­dus­trial na­tions that fur­ther frayed ties be­tween the United States and its clos­est al­lies.

Trump said Satur­day evening that he had in­structed U.S. of­fi­cials to with­draw sup­port for a joint state­ment with other mem­ber na­tions he had backed just hours ear- lier, say­ing the United States would not join after Trudeau pub­licly crit­i­cized Trump’s trade pol­icy.

“Based on Justin’s false state­ments at his news con­fer­ence, and the fact that Canada is charg­ing mas­sive Tar­iffs to our U.S. farm­ers, work­ers and com­pa­nies, I have in­structed our U.S. Reps not to en­dorse the Com­mu­nique as we look at Tar­iffs on au­to­mo­biles flood­ing the U.S. Mar­ket!,” Trump wrote on Twit­ter after leav­ing the sum­mit.

Trump did not spec­ify which of Trudeau’s state­ments

he con­sid­ered false.

Trudeau crit­i­cized Trump’s re­cent de­ci­sion to place tar­iffs on steel and alu­minum from the Euro­pean Union, Canada and Mex­ico, say­ing it was “in­sult­ing” that Trump cited U.S. na­tional se­cu­rity as his rea­son for do­ing so.

“Cana­di­ans, we’re po­lite, we’re rea­son­able, but we also will not be pushed around,” Trudeau said at his own, sep­a­rate news con­fer­ence at the meet­ing’s end.

“I high­lighted di­rectly to the pres­i­dent that Cana­di­ans did not take it lightly that the United States has moved for­ward with sig­nif­i­cant tar­iffs on our steel and alu­minum in­dus­try,” Trudeau said. “Par­tic­u­larly, [they] did not take lightly that it’s for a na­tional se­cu­rity rea­son that for Cana­di­ans... who stood shoul­der to shoul­der with Amer­i­can sol­diers in far-off lands in con­flicts from the First World War on­ward, it’s kind of in­sult­ing.”

G-7 lead­ers had hoped the an­nual sum­mit here would strengthen ties that had been tested by trade dis­putes. In­stead, it ended in a war of words be­tween Trump and the leader of one of the United States’ largest trad­ing part­ners that threat­ened to es­ca­late into a full-blown trade war.

Ear­lier Satur­day, Trump said he had floated the idea of coun­tries drop­ping all im­port bar­ri­ers, say­ing he would do the same in re­turn. But he warned he could cut off U.S. trade en­tirely with coun­tries that kept cur­rent rules in place, ar­gu­ing they had taken ad­van­tage of pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions to take ad­van­tage of the United States.

“We’re like the piggy bank that every­body is rob­bing,” Trump said here at a news con­fer­ence. “And that ends.”

Satur­day’s clashes ended a sum­mit that was marked by re­peated dis­agree­ments be­tween the United States and its clos­est al­lies. The G-7, in its cur­rent form, con­sists of the United States, Canada, Bri­tain, Ger­many, France, Italy and Ja­pan.

Trump on Fri­day called for Rus­sia to be read­mit­ted to the G-7 after it was ex­pelled in 2014 for an­nex­ing Ukraine’s Crimea. And he de­parted the gath­er­ing early – skip­ping a dis­cus­sion of global cli­mate change – to fly to Sin­ga­pore for a nu­clear sum­mit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Now, lead­ers from the G-7 and else­where face a string of trade de­ci­sions that will ei­ther pre­serve the ex­ist­ing global eco­nomic sys­tem or re­shape it, with mil­lions of jobs and tril­lions of dol­lars hang­ing in the bal­ance.

Trump cau­tioned other na­tions – those in the G-7 and around the world – that the size of the U.S. econ­omy means other na­tions can’t win a trade war.

“We win that war a thou­sand times out of a thou­sand,” Trump said.

Trump would al­most cer­tainly need help from Congress to com­pletely cut off trade with a U.S. ally. But he has al­ready made sig­nif­i­cant changes to trade pol­icy – work­ing around bi­par­ti­san op­po­si­tion from Congress – through in­vok­ing a pre­vi­ously sel­dom-used pro­vi­sion that al­lows pres­i­dents to make trade de­ci­sions if they deem it nec­es­sary to pro­tect na­tional se­cu­rity.

Trump de­scribed for­eign lead­ers as re­cep­tive to his de­mands in pri­vate; Trudeau and oth­ers showed few, if any, pub­lic signs of cav­ing.

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s of­fice re­leased a photo of mul­ti­ple lead­ers ap­pear­ing to con­front a dis­pleased Trump. A Reuters pho­tog­ra­pher, mean­while, cap­tured a pho­to­graph Fri­day of the im­print that French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron left on Trump’s right hand after a hand­shake, sug­gest­ing the French leader used a force­ful grip.

It was part of a broader ap­proach by for­eign lead­ers to the se­cond G-7 meet­ing of Trump’s pres­i­dency. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from other G-7 coun­tries said they felt as though they had made progress in con­vey­ing their po­si­tions to Trump, some­thing many of them felt pres­sured to do by vot­ers at home.

De­spite the ten­sion, the mem­ber states’ lead­ers were cor­dial in per­son, Trump in­cluded. He made first-name ref­er­ences to “An­gela” and “Justin,” and he re­peat­edly in­sisted he blamed pre­vi­ous U.S. lead­ers, not for­eign ones, for what he sees as the global trade im­bal­ance.

Trump said the lead­ers dis­cussed the ques­tion of Rus­sia’s in­clu­sion in the group but reached no con­clu­sion. “We didn’t do votes or any­thing, but it has been dis­cussed,” he said.

Rus­sia is a per­ma­nent mem­ber of the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil and plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in in­ter­na­tional se­cu­rity is­sues. It also holds a seat in the larger Group of 20.

“We’re look­ing for peace in the world. We’re not look­ing to play games,” Trump said.

Trump is not the first politi­cian to make the re­alpoli­tik ar­gu­ment that Rus­sia be­longs at the G-7 ta­ble, but his po­si­tion is a turn­about from the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, which con­demned the 2014 an­nex­a­tion and im­posed sanc­tions on Rus­sia as punishment.

 ?? Bloomberg photo by Cole Burston ?? Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump lis­tens dur­ing a Group of Seven meet­ing Satur­day in Que­bec.
Bloomberg photo by Cole Burston Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump lis­tens dur­ing a Group of Seven meet­ing Satur­day in Que­bec.

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