Monday, 27 May, 2019

U.S. allies ready Trump showdown as trade splits G7

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Deanna Wagner | 10 June, 2018, 10:09

Donald Trump accused the summit's chairman Justin Trudeau of dishonesty.

He also denied the summit had been contentious, a remark that contradicted what one G7 official described as an "extraordinary" exchange on Friday in which Trump repeated a list of trade grievances, mainly concerning the European Union and Canada.

Calling Modi a "beautiful man", Trump said he was informed of reduction in tariffs on imported motorcycles by the Indian PM but the United States was getting nothing with the cuts in the customs duty.

U.S. President Donald Trump has launched his latest salvo at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the pair's disagreement over American tariffs on steel and aluminum intensifies.

But even though he has made his criticism of globalization a major part of his appeal to voters, Trump was the main target of a protest by around 400 demonstrators on Thursday night who set fire to USA and other G7 flags.

"If the expectation was that a weekend in attractive Charlevoix surrounded by lovely people was going to transform the president's outlook on trade and the world, then we didn't quite perhaps meet that bar", Trudeau said.

The US president also has frosty relations with Trudeau, the summit host.

"The president will travel directly to Singapore from Canada in anticipation of his upcoming meeting with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un Tuesday. Our relationship is very good", Trump said during a photo session with Trudeau before private talks, where both leaders cracked jokes in front of reporters.

Trump cited progress on reaching an agreement on the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, saying the final outcome would lead either to an improved trade deal or separate pacts with the two United States neighbours.

What did President Trump say?

Oil prices drop on surprise U.S. stockpile build
Crude prices came under pressure after data suggested Chinese demand was waning and concerns lingered about growing US output. Further weighing on prices has been rising USA output C-OUT-T-EIA , which hit another record last week at 10.8 million bpd.

Trump says his tariffs are meant to protect USA industry and workers from unfair worldwide competition as part of his "America First" agenda.

Trump's early exit on Saturday also means he will be gone before allies begin closing news conferences likely to be laden with criticism of the USA stance on trade and Trump's abrupt suggestion on Friday that Russian Federation be re-admitted to the elite grouping.

Fears of a looming trade war were heightened last week after all the G7 nations announced plans to retaliate against Trump's tariffs with tariffs of their own.

Trudeau's office released a statement in response, that said "we are focused on everything we accomplished here at the G7 summit".

The American leader said a three-country deal would only be possible with substantial changes, and reiterated his interest instead in forming separate two-way trade accords with Mexico and Canada - an interest Canada has made clear it does not share.

"I think there are various discussions about alternatives that would not be that, and that would not be entirely destabilizing for a trade deal, and I think we are open to creativity", he said. The United States trade representative office told the Washington Post that the US actually has a trade surplus with Canada.

All seven countries agreed to a joint statement on artificial intelligence, global trade, middle class growth, innovation, girls' education, and defending democracies from foreign intrusions.

Economically, Europe may have more to fear if Trump does go for auto tariffs. They could also damage Japan and Germany.

"We Europeans and the Japanese are not ready to give up everything to get" Trump's signature, he said, adding that would be a "mistake".