Trump will face a tough crowd in the G-7 in the middle of a tariff struggle



WASHINGTON – Before President Donald Trump sits down with a famous dictator, he will face what may well be a tougher crowd: some of the oldest allies in the United States.

With his new rates increasing American isolation, Trump heads to Canada on Friday for a meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized countries. The White House expects a cold reception from Canada and Western European countries, already frustrated by Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and Iran's nuclear agreement.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel anticipated the dynamics on Wednesday and told the German parliament that "it is clear that we have a serious problem here with the multilateral agreements, so there will be controversial discussions."

Anticipating the tense two days in Quebec, Trump has complained about having to attend the summit, especially because he comes just before his high-risk meeting in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said two people with knowledge of his thinking. But the White House has not indicated any change in the plans.

"The president wants to go on the trip," said Larry Kudlow, Trump's chief economic adviser, on the summit in Canada. "The president is comfortable with all these difficult issues."

"There can be disagreements," Kudlow added. "I consider this as much as a family dispute."

Trump will also organize a series of personal meetings, including with the first Canadian minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron It is unlikely that Trump will distance himself from the nationalist policies that have frustrated and baffled allies, but that he sees as key promises for his most loyal voters. and wrote on Monday: "The United States has made such bad commercial deals for so many years that we can only WIN!"

Kudlow said the allies should understand that Trump "will do whatever it takes to protect the United States, its businesses and his work force, "adding that Trump" has always said, and I agree, tariffs are a tool in that effort. "

Trump announced in March that it was imposing tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, but temporarily granted an exemption to US allies such as Canada, Mexico and the European Union, and also to China, as its administration said While the commercial talks continued, Trump ended that temporary relief this month, seeking to pressure other countries to reduce new trade agreements with the US. Japan never received an exemption, despite the pleas of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Asked if the administration will respect the decisions of the World Trade Organization on tariffs, Kudlow said that "multilateral international organizations are not going to determine US policy. I think the president made it very clear. "

This will be the second summit of Trump's G-7, an informal meeting that meets every year under a rotating presidency.The member countries are: Canada, France, Italy, Japan , Germany, the United States and Great Britain The European Union also attends.

While trade is expected to dominate, Trudeau also wants to focus on gender equality and climate change.Kudlow was vague about whether the summit will produce a decision joint or a clear result on trade or other issues, saying "let them meet first."

The meeting comes after a meeting of finance ministers of the G-7 concluded last week with a message of "concern and disappointment "For Trump of the other six countries." Describing the tense three days, Bruno Le Maire, France's finance and economics minister, said it was "much more a G-6 plus one than a G-7."

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin responded: "We believe in the G-7, it is an important group," adding that Trump is waiting for the meeting.

The increasingly critical tone of the allies is a change after the leaders spent the last year and a half trying to woo and cajole the US president. Thomas Wright, principal investigator of the Brookings Institution, told reporters that during Trump's first 500 days, "these countries generally turned to not criticizing President Trump, they tried to have a close relationship with him," they all tried to embrace him. We used to say about Blair and Bush. "

But Wright added: "I think in recent months there is a feeling that this approach has not paid off, and that they really have not got anything by that friendly approach."

Canada in particular has been outraged by Trump's tariffs, feeling offended by the argument that they were motivated by national security concerns. Trudeau told NBC: "The idea that we are somehow a national security threat to the United States is, frankly, insulting and unacceptable."

Edward Alden, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, said that this marked the lowest point for decades in Canada-US relations, describing the two countries as allies that "fought and died side by side" since the First World War.

"This is deeply offensive to Canadians," said Alden.

Kudlow played for any conflict, saying he had no doubt that the United States and Canada will remain friends and strong allies, regardless of the short-term disagreements that may occur. "

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