President Donald Trump launched a final parting shot at U.S. trading partners on Saturday, shortly after leaving the G7 summit en route to a highly anticipated summit with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un.
This year’s summit produced “great meetings and relationships” with the G7 leaders, “especially since they know I cannot allow them to apply large Tariffs and strong barriers to U.S.A. trade,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The G7 partners “fully understand where I am coming from,” the president added. “After many decades, fair and reciprocal Trade will happen.”
…U.S.A. Trade. They fully understand where I am coming from. After many decades, fair and reciprocal Trade will happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2018
Trump’s remarks followed a contentious two days of meetings in Quebec, where he was at odds with the other G7 leaders over his recent actions on trade, which include heavy tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada, Japan and the European Union. The protectionist measures have outraged foreign leaders, who denounced Trump’s use of national security to justify the tariffs and threatened retaliatory measures against U.S. goods. (RELATED: Justin Trudeau Says Canada Will Retaliate Against US Over Trump’s Steel Tariffs)
During a press conference earlier Saturday, Trump was unapologetic about hitting U.S. allies with tariffs as a part of his “America First” approach to trade. He accused the G7 countries of imposing tariffs and non-monetary barriers against U.S. goods to benefit their own industries at the expense of American producers.
“We’re like the piggy bank that everybody is robbing,” Trump said before vowing that “it’s going to stop” or “we’ll stop trading with them.”
Still, Trump did strike some conciliatory notes on Saturday, insisting that Washington’s relationship with the G7 partners was still “a 10.” He also said previous American leaders were more responsible for U.S. trade deficits than foreign governments.
“I blame our past leaders for allowing this to happen,” Trump said, adding that his immediate predecessor, former President Barack Obama, was just one in a long line of presidents who have supposedly led the U.S. astray on trade.
“You can go back 50 years, frankly,” he said.
The EU and Canada have described the U.S. metal tariffs as illegal and have threatened to impose their own tariffs if Washington doesn’t change course by next month. Canada will move forward with dollar-for-dollar tariffs on American steel and aluminum beginning July 1 and remaining in place until the U.S. ends its own tariffs, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday.
Washington and Ottawa are also at odds over revisions to the North American Free Trade Agreement, particularly the issue of adding a sunset clause that would trigger new negotiations every five to ten years. At the press briefing Saturday, Trump said negotiators are “pretty close on the sunset provision,” but Trudeau later said he was opposed to an expiration date of any length, the Associated Press reported.
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