G7 summit: Trump Vs. G6 leaders on trade and climate change

g7 summit

Participation of Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EC, at the G7 Summit, in Canada Jean-Claude Juncker, Angela Merkel, Theresa May, Giuseppe Conte, Donald Tusk, Emmanuel Macron, Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau, Shinzō Abe Date: 08/06/2018. © European Union , 2018 Source: EC – Audiovisual Service

US President Donald Trump continued yesterday his fierceful critic to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the aftermath of last weekend’s G7 summit which took place in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada with the seven largest advanced economies in the world to discuss about gender equality, women’s empowerment, clean energy, and economic growth that works for everyone.

However, the G7 summit was overshadowed by US president Donald Trump’s trade policy to impose tariffs on metals to EU, Canada and Mexico together with the fact that he left before the official climate talks begin showing his distinct stance to drop off the Paris agreement. Nevertheless, the remaining six countries (G6) put the climate agenda on the top of the discussions in an attempt to address this long-lasting issue.

Will US begin trade wars?

US administration announced on May 31 that will start imposing to EU, Canada and Mexico a 25% duty on steel and a 10% duty on aluminium. This move was not left unanswered by the EU officials who stated that will fight back with tariffs on US goods and a case at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also pointed that Europe will have to act accordingly by announcing countermeasures while German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said that “the EU will defend its interests and that the US would ultimately lose out if the US were determined to escalate the trade spat”.

This matter was brought again in the G7 summit when Justin Trudeau criticized US president’s trade policy as “insulting” in a news conference that concluded the summit. The response by Donald Trump was a tweet mentioning Trudeau as “dishonest & weak” and his remarks as “false statements”. More in detail, Mr Trump said: “Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market! PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, US Tariffs were kind of insulting and he will not be pushed around. Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!”

Despite all that, US President carried on yesterday saying that the “US had a big trade deficit with Canada and that a little balance was needed.” It is up to the diplomats now to ameliorate the relationship between the two trading partners. The latter is about the start this week when Canadian foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland will travel to Washington targeting on trade talks in an attempt to alter the deteriorating  situation and prevent a possible trade war.

US supports fossil fuels

The Trump administration was in favor of the promotion of fossil fuels in a more effective way expressing its clear difference from the other countries as far as the climate change strategy is concerned. More specifically, it was stated in the Charlevoix G7 Summit Communique that: “The United States will endeavour to work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently. The United States believes in the key role of energy transitions through the development of market-based clean energy technologies and the importance of technology collaboration and innovation to continue advancing economic growth and protect the environment as part of sustainable, resilient and clean energy systems.”

However, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the European Union mentioned that will strongly support the Paris agreement via ambitious climate change action.

Can the G6 nations fight climate change without US?

US president separated his position from the rest leaders on climate change. Apart from the fact that US will support cleaner fossil fuels, Donald Trump left before the climate session begins where the G6 discussed the agenda without the largest economy in the world (in nominal GDP terms). The French President commented on the US president’s action: “On the climate, we have an ambitious position at 6, without the United States. This is not new”.

The G6 leaders pledged with more climate action and increase of climate finance. Their exact words stated in the G7 Summit Communique: “We reaffirm the commitment that we have made to our citizens to reduce air and water pollution and our greenhouse gas emissions to reach a global carbon-neutral economy over the course of the second half of the century.” What is more, the Canadian Prime Minister highlighted the considerable improvement on climate discussions that was made during this summit.

All in all, it will be very hard to prevent the trade war that the US began which is most likely going to cause severe consequences to all involving parties. Apart from this though, climate change should be addressed more extensively now that the US is about to abandon the Paris agreement leaving a huge gap behind together with the fact that there are still significant unsolved issues such as the preparation of the Paris agreement rulebook.

 

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  1. […] GDP by a noticeable fraction, given the importance of this sector in the economy. At the G7 Summit of Quebec, Canada, things became even more hostile. Trump tweeted his withdrawal from the […]

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