Trump to skip G7 climate sessions following spat with Macron, Trudeau

Arturo Kim
June 8, 2018

Trump's imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs, as well as broader disagreements on trade, climate change and the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, are setting the stage for some tense talks once Trump arrives Friday at the Quebec summit.

Trump signalled that he was in no mood to compromise as he met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has tried to cultivate a friendly relationship with the American president.

Four days before Trump's ice-breaking summit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, the USA president can expect a far chillier reception when he hops across the border to Canada for a meeting of the world's richest industrialized nations. "Trump's trying to fix this broken system".

The reading significantly undershot a Reuters poll of analysts, who had predicted a 0.8 per cent rise.

Trudeau has been among the most vocal critics of the steel tariffs, describing the move as lacking common sense, in sharp contrast from the conciliatory tone he had taken since Trump's election.

There is no evidence that Trump, who says his hard line on trade is necessary to protect USA industry and workers from unfair worldwide competition as part of an "America First" agenda, will tack a conciliatory direction at the summit. So now it's moving forward with new tariffs on dozens of USA exports, including clothing, whiskey, cranberries, motorcycles, orange juice, boats, peanut butter and more.

Later in the day, Macron plans to travel to a luxury hotel in La Malbaie, about 140 km east of Quebec City, where the G7 Summit will begin with the leaders of Germany, Canada, the US, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom, among others, participating.

Those new tariffs are in response to the Trump administration's decision to apply import taxes to steel and aluminum.

Earlier 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. Several of them, including Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau, have threatened retaliatory tariffs.

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Trump is set to hold the first meeting between a sitting US president and North Korean leader on June 12.

The EU also filed a complaint about the US tariffs with the World Trade Organization.

Kudlow said Trump would also have a bilateral meeting with Macron at the G7, a gathering that's now widely expected to turn into a group effort in decrying the president's trade tactics to his face and trying to convince him to reverse course. Although the Prime Minister was the first world leader to be a guest in Trump's White House in January 2017 when the pair were pictured holding hands, officials admitted that they were not especially close.

Top White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow opposed tariffs before joining Trump's team, but now says he agrees the trade status quo hurts America.

"The American president may not mind being isolated, " Macron tweeted, "but neither do we mind signing a six-country agreement if need be".

The G7 will be discussing various issues, including disagreements and agreements on trade, tariffs and Canadian exports.

Canada also announced retaliatory tariffs on $12.8 billion (£9.5 billion) worth of United States goods, including steel and aluminum products, mayonnaise, and sleeping bags.

After the US announced it would impose the tariffs, a senior official told The Canadian Press that the chances of striking any deal on NAFTA - ever - had "just fallen through the floor".

French leader Emmanuel Macron stressed however that the United States was no longer the sole economic superpower in the world and urged other industrialised countries to stick together.

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