Macron turns on Trump after US president attacks EU and Canada: 'We don't mind being G6, if needs be'
The Group of Seven (G7) summit is more divided than at any time in its history amid Donald Trumpâs attacks on the European Union and Canada ahead of the meeting in Canada on Friday.
The US president imposed heavy tariffs on steel and aluminium imports in a bid to rebuild Americaâs industry, targeting nations from key G7 allies such as Canada, Japan and the EU.
Emmanuel Macron, the French president who has attempted to establish a warm personal relationship with Mr Trump, said the o ther G7 nations should remain âpoliteâ and productive, but warned âno leader is forever.â
In comments to reporters, Mr Macron signalled Europe would not surrender meekly to the US president and suggested the G7 could function as six nations instead of seven.
âMaybe the American president doesnât care about being isolated today, but we donât mind being six, if needs be,â Mr Macron said.
âBecause these six represe nt values, represent an economic market, and more than anything, represent a real force at the international level today.â
Justin Trudeau, Canadaâs prime minister, predicted ârobust discussionsâ on trade. The Canadian leader is also embroiled in a row with Washington over negotiations to revamp the almost 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Other issues which are likely to be raised include Mr Trumpâs decision to take the US out of the Iran nuclear accord and pull out of the Paris climate agreement.
However, Mr Trump fired back at the two leaders over Twitter, accusing the EU and Canada of imposing âmassive trade tariffs on non-monetary trade Barriersâ against the US, and he threatened to take retaliatory action against the bloc and country unless the measures were removed.
He said: âWhy isnât the European Union and Canada informing t he public that for years they have used massive Trade Tariffs and non-monetary Trade Barriers against the US.
âTotally unfair to our farmers, workers & companies. Take down your tariffs & barriers or we will more than match you!â
He added: âI look forward to seeing them tomorrow.â
Other G7 members appear ed less likely to want to challenge the US president, with Japan being expected to take a less confrontational approach while quietly pressing its case on trade, and Theresa May urging the EU to stick to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and to ensure any response to the tariffs was proportionate.
The British prime minister will hold formal meetings with the leaders of all G7 countries except Mr Trump. But she is expected to have informal talks with the US president.
On the plane to the summit in Quebec, Ms May told reporters: âI made my views clear on the steel and aluminium tariffs that President Trump has ann ounced, I have done that directly to him.
She added: âAs the UK, we want to be a great champion of free trade around the world and thatâs what we will continue to be.
âI will continue to put the argument for the importance of those trade relationships around the world and Iâll be doing that here at the G7 as I have done elsewhere and will continue to do elsewhere.â
Mr Trumpâs approach to the G7 summit represents an aban donment of Americaâs traditional role.
Previous presidents have lobbied for freer global trade and championed a trading system which required countries to follow WTO rules.
By contrast, Mr Trumpâs policies are unapologetically protectionist and confrontational.
The US president is expected to leave the summit in Charlevoix, Quebec, early to fly to Singapore for his historic meeting with the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, on Tuesday.
Additional reporting by agenciesSource: Google News Canada | Netizen 24 Canada