Trump trade war threat sets up G7 summit clash

Ottawa (AFP) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron put Donald Trump on notice Thursday that they would not be intimidated at the upcoming G7 summit, as a trade war between Washington and its allies looms. Past summits of the Group of Seven powers — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — have often been marred by anti-globalist demonstrations in the host city. But as the leaders of the world’s richest democracies set off Thursday for Quebec on the eve of their annual meeting, the greatest threat to the liberal world order was due to be inside the fence. Trump may well be distracted by preparations for his June 12 summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, which will be in Singapore immediately after the rich-world talking shop in Canada. But it seems likely that the US leader will enjoy a warmer encounter with the autocrat from Pyongyang than with his Canadian hosts and European and Japanese allies. Leaders like Trudeau and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel admit it will be difficult to even agree on a joint communique at the two-day meeting. Merkel said Wednesday that there would be “no compromise for its own sake” and that dropping the statement “may be the more honest way.”.

Canada’s Trade Minister Francois Philippe Champagne was blunter, declaring: “What we are seeing is that the world economic order is under pressure, under attack.”

Top White House economics advisor Larry Kudlow, in line with the long-standing expert consensus in the G7 industrialized democracies, opposed tariffs before joining Trump’s team, but now says he agrees that the trade status quo hurts America But now, according to Laurence Nardon of the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI), one of the main actors on the international stage is no longer following the same script. “It completely calls into question the international system,” she told AFP. “This G7 summit is a new act in the drama. So far, the six are standing strong, but Trump has not finished.” Since coming to office in January 2017, Trump has pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord, the Iran nuclear deal and the TPP Pacific free trade deal.