Sunday, 19 August, 2018

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

Nellie Chapman | 09 June, 2018, 06:13

"Concerns were expressed that the tariffs imposed by the United States on its friends and allies, on the grounds of national security, undermine open trade and confidence in the global economy", the statement said. The Europeans in the group - France, Germany, Britain and Italy - had been proud of their united front. The EU is also attending the summit.

We were already expecting the president to clash with his allies over trade, but Trump is feeding those frictions with a series of tweets ahead of the summit. That set the tone.

"We're going to deal with the unfair trade practices".

A few hours later, he added, "Take down your tariffs & barriers or we will more than match you!" We have to change it.

Likewise, Macron described the moment as a period of "great challenges", but also defended his efforts to befriend the American president, saying the U.S.is a historical ally and "we need them". The U.S. and the European Union had been contemplating just such a deal, called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, but it was abandoned after Trump won the 2016 election.

Despite the backslaps and bro-hugs, parades and state dinners, Japan's Shinzo Abe, France's Emmanuel Macron and Canada's Justin Trudeau are finding out the hard way that flattery is a one-way street with Trump, according to Politico. "America first is more and more looking like America alone". He is planning to leave the summit early on Saturday morning before the leaders' scheduled meetings are completed, said Canadian government officials.

At one point, Macron waxed on about the apparent negative effect of US hegemony, and suggested nothing short of sheer human mortality and the sweep of history would undo Trump's decision to dump the climate accord that was struck in the French capital nearly three years ago. Canada vowed to hit the US with almost $17 billion worth of tariffs on various goods from the USA, such as toilet paper and maple syrup, and the European Union announced planned duties as well.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland held firm against what she called "illegal and absolutely unjustified" tariffs even though the leaders were playing nice.

Financial markets have been largely subdued in their response to the summit.

The president said he was unconcerned about raising a trade ruckus at the gathering that usually emphasizes unity and downplays its disagreements.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said earlier that Russia's return to the club was out of the question.

"If I can get the president to actually realize that what he's doing is counterproductive for his own goals as well, perhaps we can move forward in a smarter way", Trudeau said.

Before leaving Washington this morning, Mr Trump caused fresh controversy by suggesting Russian Federation should be invited back into the G7, to reform the G8, after Vladimir Putin was kicked out in 2014 after his annexation of Crimea. He wants to browbeat other countries for concessions, although he often fails to articulate which concessions he wants.

Trump's comment was in line with his unusually friendly stance toward Russian Federation, despite evidence that it interfered in the 2016 election to help his campaign.

Both Moscow and Mr Trump have denied any such activity.