Saturday, 22 September, 2018

This picture captures the tense environment at the G7 Summit in Canada

U.S. allies at the 2017 G-7 summit in Sicily this year’s meeting could be more awkward U.S. allies at the 2017 G-7 summit in Sicily this year’s meeting could be more awkward MIGUEL MEDINA—AFP Getty Images
Melinda Barton | 10 June, 2018, 16:47

"Canadians are polite and reasonable but we will also not be pushed around" - host Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tells a post-summit press conference of his plans to impose his own tariffs on USA imports in retaliation to similar measures by Trump. The U.S. president delivered a rambling statement before taking questions from journalists.

Trump left the summit early headed for his meeting with the leader of North Korea next Tuesday.

Mr Trump spent the days leading up to the meeting tweeting complaints about the summit's "indignant" host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and French President Emmanuel Macron, arguing that both leaders refused to budge on their trade positions.

Trump had come to Quebec insisting on his long-standing claim that America has been exploited for too long by existing trade arrangements - and he was met by counterparts equally determined to protect the "rules-based" global system.

French President Emmanuel Macron, for example, noted that under European Union rules France now has open borders with Britain and Germany and runs trade deficits with both - far from Trump's vision of "reciprocal" balanced trade.

Trump said he didn't blame the G7 leaders for "unfair" trade deals but rather their predecessors.

"We're like the piggy bank that everybody's robbing ― and that ends", the president said. "The EU trade surplus with the U.S.is $151 Billion, and Canada keeps our farmers and others out".

The noise of Trump's helicopter landing was so loud they had to stop talking for a while, in a scene one official compared to the opening from the U.S. television series MASH.

Over the course of the summit, the President pushed the narrative that the U.S.is a victim of a trade imbalance, though European leaders rejected these claims. "We're not looking to play games", Trump said.

On the subject of Russia, Trump said he thought it would be "an asset" to have the country in what would be the G8. President Trump is sitting alone on one side of a table.

"I think it would be an asset to have Russian Federation back in, I think it would be good for the world, I think it would be good for Russian Federation, I think it would be good for the United States, I think it would be good for all the countries of the current G7". I think it would be good for all of the countries of the current G-7.

His early departure meant that he missed a working session among the leaders on climate change and clean energy, as well as talks among the G-7 and poorer countries focused on the health of oceans.

"We commit to modernize the WTO to make it more fair as soon as possible".

At issue now is whether the seven nations can conclude their meeting with a joint statement of priorities.

Shortly after Trudeau said in an afternoon news conference that he was "happy to announce that we have released a joint communique by all seven countries" indicating that the U.S. had signed on, Trump announced the United States would reverse its decision and not join in the statement after all.

According to Business Insider, Trump and Macron have somewhat of a tradition of sharing these awkward and intense handshakes during meetings.

Senator John McCain has responded to President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw his support for the G7 statement, telling the U.S.' allies: Americans stand with you even if the president doesn't. "Engaging, keeping the dialogue alive, now & ever". Trump has been open on his desires for better relations with Moscow. A lot of people wrote a couple of things that weren't quite true. "We have a little test every once in a while when it comes to trade".

There was also an agreement to disagree on climate change in the wake of Trump's decision to leave the Paris climate accord a year ago which further underlined the divide between the Group of Seven's powerhouse and its six co-members.

'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.