Just minutes after joint G7 communique was published by Canada, Trump announced via his favourite medium, Twitter, that he has instructed US representatives not to endorse the joint communique. This comes after Trump took offence at the tariffs that Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, pledged to impose on the US in response to Trump’s recent steel and aluminium tariffs against Canada.
Why is this significant?
It seems like this clubhouse of very important people is breaking up after Trump’s various trade tariffs and insults against his allies. Traditionally this annual meeting is marked by friendship and agreements on issues such as free trade. However, this year, tension between the friends were apparent before the summit even started. Germany and France both signaled that it might not sign the final joint statement unless some major policy concessions were made by the US. The French also wanted to push Trump to make concessions on climate policy and the Iran nuclear deal. Thus, it is no wonder that the two days of the summit were tense and confrontational.
Just when it seemed like maybe this time the summit would end without a joint statement, the seven countries put aside their tension and came to an agreement…or so we thought. Since Trump’s withdrawal from the communique he has insulted Trudeau, calling him “very dishonest and weak”. Beyond insults, he also raised his displeasure that the US has been paying disproportionally more towards the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) for the protection of its allies. According to him the US was getting “unfairly clobbered” despite “protecting Europe at great financial loss”.
While Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, did accept that Germany had to pay more for its own security she too took a stance against US tariffs. On German TV she said that “we won’t let ourselves be ripped off again and again. We will then act too.”
(Featured photo from reuters.com)