G7 summit ends in disarray as Trump abandons joint statement

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(from left) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, IMF chief Christine Lagarde and US President Donald Trump (Getty Images)

US President Donald Trump has retracted his endorsement of the joint communique issued at the end of the G7 summit, accusing Canada of “dishonesty”.

He said that other countries were imposing “massive tariffs” on the US.

The joint communique, advocating a “rules-based trading system”, was reached despite tension over US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed afterwards to press ahead with retaliatory tariffs on 1 July.

Speaking at a news conference, he described as “insulting” Mr Trump’s decision to invoke national security concerns to justify steel and aluminium tariffs.

“It would be with regret but it would be with absolute clarity and firmness that we move forward with retaliatory measures on 1 July,” Mr Trudeau said. “Canadians are polite and reasonable but we will also not be pushed around.”

The EU said it would stick to the joint communique despite Mr Trump’s decision.

“We stand by the commitments made in the G7 communique,” a senior UK government source said.

Tweeting en route to his next summit in Singapore, Mr Trump said he had instructed US officials “not to endorse the communique as we look at tariffs on automobiles”.

He said the move was based on Mr Trudeau’s “false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive tariffs to our US farmers, workers and companies”.

He suggested Mr Trudeau was “very dishonest and weak”.

Mr Trump had earlier signed the joint statement agreed by all the G7 nations despite the trade row.

In the communique, the group of major industrial nations – Canada, the US, the UK, France, Italy, Japan and Germany – agreed on the need for “free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade” and the importance of fighting protectionism.

“We strive to reduce tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers and subsidies,” they said.

President Trump earlier told reporters he had proposed the idea of a tariff-free G7 to other leaders and described his talks with them as “extremely productive”.

“The United States has been taken advantage of for decades and decades,” he continued, describing America as a “piggy bank that everyone keeps robbing”.

President Trump said retaliation tariffs from his allies were a “mistake” and warned that if it got as far as a trade war, then the US would “win that war a thousand times out of a thousand”.

He left the summit early to travel to Singapore for a landmark meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to try to persuade him to give up the country’s nuclear weapons. (Excerpts from BBC)

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