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10 June 2018, 09:10 | Kelvin Horton
Why Canadian milk infuriates Donald Trump
President Donald Trumpsaid Saturday that his relationships with other Western leaders are ideal, but the truth is the transatlantic alliance has never been so split.
At what a French presidential official described as one "extraordinary" session on Friday, leaders who had vowed to confront Trump over his decision to imposetariffs on USA allies last week as part of his "America First" agenda, showered Trump with data one after the other.
The US president, who left the summit in La Malbaie early to head for his talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, told reporters the US needed protectionist tariffs because "we are like the piggy bank that everyone is robbing".
"The US president then had angry words for Trudeau, saying the Canadian prime minister had "acted so meek and mild" in their joint discussions only to later pledge in a press conference that he would not be pushed around". "We work closely with President Trump, and the UK has a very good relationship with the United States", she said, noting that the two-day summit was filled with "some hard discussions and strong debate".
European officials said Trump had tried to water down the language in the draft final summit communique on the WTO and rules-based trade. The G-7 also includes Britain, Italy, France, Germany and Japan.
In the communique announced by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the group of major industrial nations - Canada, the United States, the UK, France, Italy, Japan and Germany - agreed on the need for "free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade" and the importance of fighting protectionism.
Trump told reporters that he had demanded for "fair and reciprocal" trade practices and proposed to eliminate all trade barriers at the G7 summit.
Mr Trudeau's office, reeling from the abrupt Trump reversal hours after the two men had joked and smiled their way through a fractious G7 meeting, said only that Mr Trudeau had said nothing in his news conference that he hadn't said before.
Tensions threatened to boil over when French President Emmanuel Macron, on the day before the start of summit, said the other 6 countries might sign a joint statement without the U.S. "And we're not going to be able to do that work when our retaliatory tariffs, which are real, they're significant", Morneau said in a Saturday interview.
"They do so much more business with us than we do with them ... the numbers are so astronomically against them - we win that war a thousand times out of a thousand".
"His message from Quebec to Singapore is that he is going to meld the industrial democracies to his will - and bring back Russian Federation", said Steve Bannon, Trump's former campaign and White House adviser.
"It's going to change, a hundred per cent".
Trump addressed the subject of global trade during an impromptu news conference at the summit on Saturday, saying that he does not want to see other countries take advantage of the USA over trade. His negotiators have demanded the dismantlement of Canada's openly dirigiste system of supply management in agriculture - a complicated nexus of production quotas and import tariffs created to ensure Canadian dairy, egg and poultry farmers receive fair prices for their products.
U.S. President Donald Trump said Nafta negotiators are "pretty close" to agreeing on some kind of sunset clause, a sticking point in talks, while warning the three-way pact can only survive if major changes are made.
There, Trudeau repeated his earlier description of U.S. trade tariffs as "insulting" and vowed retaliatory measures would come in July.
Trump said Saturday evening that he had instructed USA officials to withdraw support for a joint statement with other member nations he had backed just hours earlier, saying the United States would not join after Trudeau publicly criticized Trump's trade policy. The president said that the level of the relationship with the G7 leaders "is a 10".
"We're either going to have NAFTA in a better negotiated form or we're going to have two deals", the USA president said.
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