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World leaders gather for G-7 summit amid trade tensions

World leaders gathered for the G-7 summit in Canada on Friday, as President Trump continued to feud with some allies over trade. Trump arrived late to the summit Friday afternoon, postponing a scheduled meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, who Trump has criticized.


"We're going to deal with the unfair trade practices," Trump said before departing Friday. "If you look at what Canada, Mexico, the European Union, all of them have been doing to us for many, many decades, we have to change it. And they understand it's going to happen."

Trump, seated next to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said he thinks the relationship between the U.S. and Canada is probably better than it's ever been. The President said they have made progress on trade, after blasting Trudeau on Twitter.

Only the day before the G7 summit, Trump said, "Prime Minister Trudeau is being so indignant, bringing up the relationship that the U.S. and Canada had over the many years and all sorts of other things...but he doesn't bring up the fact that they charge us up to 300% on dairy — hurting our Farmers, killing our Agriculture!"

With a cool reception all but assured, Trump has complained to aides about even having to attend the meeting, especially since his summit with Kim is just days away. Late Thursday, the White House announced that Trump would be leaving the G-7 late Saturday morning to head to Singapore ahead of his summit with Kim, though the G-7 meeting was scheduled to last until later that day.

This marks Trump’s second summit of the G-7, an informal gathering that meets every year under a rotating chairmanship. The member countries are Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, the United States and Britain. The European Union also attends. Trump is set to hold a series of group and one-on-one meetings, including with Trudeau and Macron.

Under Trump, the United States has abandoned its traditional role in the G-7. His predecessors pressed for freer global trade and championed a trading system that required countries to follow World Trade Organization rules. Trump’s policies have been more protectionist and confrontational, driven by a perception that the U.S. has been the victim of poorly conceived trade deals.

Relations have hit such a low that a key question now is whether the seven countries can agree on a joint statement of priorities at the conclusion of the meeting. A gathering of G-7 finance ministers days earlier concluded last week with a message of “concern and disappointment” for Trump from the other six countries. France’s finance minister described the group as “far more a G-6 plus one than a G-7.”

Tension has been building over a year of policymaking that has distanced the U.S. from traditional allies, including by Trump’s decisions to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear agreement. The new tariffs— 25 percent on imported steel, 10 percent on aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union — threaten to drive up prices for American consumers and companies and heighten uncertainty for businesses and investors around the globe.

Canada and other U.S. allies are retaliating with tariffs on U.S. exports. Canada is waiting until the end of the month to apply them with the hope the Trump administration will reconsider.

Meanwhile, talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement that eliminated most tariffs and duties between the U.S., Canada and Mexico appear to have ground to a halt. Trump injected further uncertainty recently when he floated the idea of replacing NAFTA with two separate trade deals, one with each country.

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