Trump raises 204-year-old grievance as trade war with Canada intensifies

Trump raises 204-year-old grievance as trade war with Canada intensifies

U.S. President Donald Trump countered a slew of trade numbers from U.S. allies with his own, different data, holding firm to his position that the United States was at a disadvantage, an official at a G7 summit said on Friday as consensus eluded the group's leaders.

But Trump's decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum - and eventually other goods, such as German luxury cars - have pushed G7 members to the brink of all-out trade war.

For the past week, it was an open question in official Ottawa whether Trump would actually show up, given his recent trade actions against the other G7 countries and his increasingly antagonistic comments about their approach to global relations. We will straighten that out. Otherwise they may decide to have a Canada First moment and retaliate against Trump's tariffs in a warlike manner.

Departing the White House for a fractious summit with European, Canadian and Japanese leaders, Trump said their 2014 decision to suspend Russian Federation from the group of the world's most advanced economies - after Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimea region - should be reversed. He was making a passing reference to the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 USA elections and possible collusion with Trump's presidential campaign.

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the theme of discussions center around what's being described as mutually beneficial economic growth, gender equality, clean energy among other topics.

The tone in the immediate run-up to the meetings at La Malbaie showed no sign of compromise between a USA president determined to disrupt the status quo to force more favourable terms for the United States, and six U.S. allies resolved to stop him. He spent Friday participating in the rituals of the G-7, including the formal greeting by host Trudeau, a group photo in front of the sparkling St. Lawrence River and a working lunch of Arctic char and buckwheat salad.

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"Looking forward to straightening out unfair Trade Deals with the G-7 countries. In fact, we are the closest friends the United States has had in quite some time". "That's the key point".

"We are not going to live with the deals the way they are", Trump said.

For his part, Trudeau has expressed his displeasure over the tariffs (which were invoked citing national security) saying that Canada and the USA have had a great relationship over the years. If you look at what Canada, and Mexico, the European Union - all of them - have been doing to us for many, many decades ... But Trump was more than an hour delayed in leaving Washington, which meant the meeting had to be pushed back for the end of the day.

The French president tweeted his intentions. French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted video of an intimate conversation he had with President Trump, writing "engaging, keeping the dialogue alive, now and ever".

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs Everett Eissenstat, will represent the United States for the G7 sessions that Trump will skip Saturday.

After cautioning the U.S. leader during a media conference in Canada with the summit's host, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mr Macron took to Twitter in English to insist the G7 could reach deals without Trump.

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