Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Trump remains isolated as G7 summit enters final day

The outlines of Emmanuel Macron's fingers are clearly visible on Donald Trump's hand The outlines of Emmanuel Macron's fingers are clearly visible on Donald Trump's hand Credit Leah Milles Reuters
Jeannette Daniel | 10 June, 2018, 16:16

President Donald Trump warned trading partners not to retaliate against USA duties on steel and aluminum imports, before departing from the Group of Seven summit in Quebec on Saturday. Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, castigated Trump for his remarks on Vladimir Putin and for his animosity toward US allies and trading partners.

In one heated exchange, Mr Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau traded barbs, following the United States leader's early departure.

Trade was a massive issue at this year's summit with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Trump butting heads.

"What this will look like in 2018 and potentially beyond is a more and more economically and politically isolated America, but the rest of the world is pretty much carrying on to the best of its ability just without the United States".

"The prime minister said nothing he hasn't said before - both in public and in private conversations with the President", said spokesman Cameron Ahmad.

And while his bellicosity and volatility has deeply strained relations between the USA and its historic allies, Trump insisted that he had terrific relationships with the G7 leaders, though before arriving at the summit he had unleashed a tweetstorm against some of them.

While Mr Trump set a combative tone before even arriving at the summit with a series of tweets about unfair trade deals, he appeared affable and joking at multiple brief photo opportunities and praised Mr Macron for helping to work out trade issues.

G7 leaders had meant to use the summit to confront Trump on the tariffs, which they have described as protectionist and a threat to the global economy.

"You want a tariff-free - you want no barriers, and you want no subsidies", he said. The president is flying to Singapore to meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un. Macron said Thursday on Twitter, "The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be". "I would say the relationship is a 10", Trump said.

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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 USA neighbors.

Trudeau told Trump that it was "unacceptable" to cite national security when targeting a military ally like Canada.

"It allowed a dialogue, where for weeks there were uncoordinated unilateral actions and non-cooperation".

Trump also said: I think the G8 would be better.

The prospect that he could be moving toward an even greater protectionist trade policy is likely to chill financial markets anxious about tit-for-tit escalation that could lead to a full-blown global trade war.

Mr Trump confronted several of the leaders individually, giving examples of how each of their countries had mistreated the United States in his view, whether it be trade barriers or security commitments, according to a European official. Canada has promised retaliatory measures on July 1.

Despite his sharp differences with USA allies, the president insisted he has a "great relationship" with his foreign counterparts. They could also damage Japan and Germany.

Trump first floated the idea of a Russian Federation return before he headed to Canada on Friday for the meeting, throwing a further wrench into a grouping that's grappling with his move to slap tariffs on allies' steel and aluminum exports.

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