Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Trump Says U.S. Will Not Endorse G7 Statement Approved Earlier

Donald Trump at the White House before leaving for the G7 Summit Donald Trump at the White House before leaving for the G7 Summit
Deanna Wagner | 10 June, 2018, 09:02

The astonishing conclusion to the summit capped off a weekend driven by Trump's erratic pronouncements on trade and unpredictable behaviour.

G7 leaders, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Germany's Angela Merkle and French President Emmanuel Macron confronted Mr. Trump with a slew of data on import and exports to sway his thinking, but the President was unmoved.

He said that other countries were imposing "massive tariffs" on the US.

But while the other leaders failed to persuade Trump that his view of global trade was overly simplistic and inaccurate, the US president surprised them during a meeting on Friday by suggesting that they work toward ending all tariffs and barriers, in what would effectively be the mother-of-all free trade agreements.

"I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!" he added.

And he made clear that extends to the current deal the U.S.is renegotiating with its continental neighbours, Canada and Mexico.

"The prime minister said nothing he hasn't said before", it read, "both in public, and in private conversations with the president".

Trudeau managed to salvage support from some G7 countries for a charter to reduce plastic pollution in the oceans, an investment in education for women and girls, and a reaffirmation of the Paris climate accord, he said Saturday.

The bombshell tweet came after G7 nations appeared to have papered over the cracks in their alliance at the two-day summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, where Trump defiantly brandished his "America First" agenda.

The attack shattered any hope that Canada could avoid US tariffs on steel and aluminum or renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement by virtue of the charm, patience or measured response it has extended to Trump since he took office.

"As Canadians, we are polite, we're reasonable, but also we will not be pushed around", Trudeau said.

Morneau said he is engaged in intense talks with his US counterparts in the hopes of finding a way forward.

However, Edward Alden, also a CFR senior fellow, said repairing relations with our immediate neighbors Mexico and Canada, who had felt NAFTA would shield them from the American government's more extreme protectionist measures, have found themselves essentially abandoned.

Five of the G7 countries agreed to a plastics charter to protect the environment and oceans, a signature initiative that the prime minister had always been pushing for since before the summit began.

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The charter will recognize the role that plastics play in economies, and that the approach to using them poses a threat to the marine environment.

The United States was also the only outlier on the issue of protecting the environment.

Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate accord and his attendance of a G7 session on the issue was in question well into the last minute.

"The U.S. has been taken advantage of for decades and decades, and we can't do that anymore", Trump said.

Later in the evening, during a pre-scheduled photo op, Trudeau was asked about Trump's late tweets about the communique and whether the development could have an impact on the future of the G7.

Ben Nelms / Reuters Canada's Minister of Finance Bill Morneau holds a news conference after the G7 Finance Ministers Summit in Whistler, B.C. on June 2, 2018. Trump has also maintained his stance that tariffs are a national security issue, because unfair trade deals "affect our military", he said. Trump said Saturday morning that he would insist on a sunset clause, or a permanent expiry date.

According to UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Moscow should "change ways" before its reunification with the G7.

"We share and agree with the United Kingdom's assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation was responsible for the attack, and that there is no plausible alternative explanation", the document says. "If you put an expiry date on a trade deal, that's not actually a trade deal".

"PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, "US Tariffs were kind of insulting" and he 'will not be pushed around.' Very dishonest & weak".

"It's gonna change", Trump declared.

But he said he was not going to budge in the trade fight.

This time around, Trudeau seemed to admit that the president had become set in his ways.

"The president will continue to say what he says at various occasions", Trudeau said.