Mic picks up awkward conversation between Merkel and Trump at G7 summit

Daniel Fowler
June 10, 2018

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau said that message was communicated clearly to Trump during his meetings at the G7 leaders' summit, which is wrapping up Saturday.

Trump appeared to have taken notice and pushed back: "Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the US massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers", Trump said in a tweet.

"If the expectation was that a weekend in handsome 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 acknowledges the deep divide between the United States and fellow G7 members in an end of summit press conference.

It followed Trump's extraordinary snub of the G7 by refusing to endorse the group's joint communique, and the latest salvo of insults Trump directed at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in an escalating trade dispute.

Trump said the final outcome would lead either to a better agreement on NAFTA or separate trade deals with both Canada and Mexico.

The president went into the meeting under intense pressure from foreign leaders after he slapped high tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, citing USA national security needs.

While the final communique, apparently with just the G6 signing on, committed that Iran will "never seek, develop or acquire a nuclear weapon", there appeared to be little to close the gap between the USA and its allies on contentious issues surrounding trade and investment with Iran.

"In one way, it's easier and people find it fascinating", Trump said about the celebrity pardons in particular. Trump called for Russia's reinstatement to the group before he arrived at the annual summit taking place in Quebec.

"I don't know if they were surprised with President Trump's free trade proclamation, but they certainly listened to it and we had lengthy discussions about that", Kudlow said at the press conference.

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"If they retaliate, they're making a mistake", Trump said.

It was a "a long litany of recriminations, somewhat bitter reports that the United States was treated unfairly", said the French official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Here's a World Bank graph of trade-weighted average tariffs for the G7 countries - with USA almost identical to UK/Italy/France/Ger, higher than Japan/Can.

There was no immediate reaction from the Canadian government on Trump's tweets.

"The rules-based worldwide order is being challenged, not by the usual suspects but by its main architect and guarantor: the United States", said Donald Tusk, president of the European Council. The picture that has gone viral on social media shows Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron staring down US President Donald Trump.

Trump, who angered Washington's top allies last week when he imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada, the European Union and Mexico, issued a broad indictment of global trade, with swipes at the G7 and India. "Maybe it doesn't bother the American president to be isolated, but it doesn't bother us to be six if need be".

Briefing reporters immediately before cutting short his stay at the conference in Quebec and heading to Singapore for a nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump firmly denied the G7 meeting had been contentious.

Mr Trump says tariffs are needed to reverse America's trade deficit. "If the expectation was that a weekend in handsome 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".

Russian Federation was suspended from the group in 2014 because of its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

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