Leaders of the Group of Seven rich nations headed for a summit in Canada on Thursday more divided than at any time in the group’s 42-year history, as US President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies risk causing a global trade war and deep diplomatic schisms.
In a bid to rebuild America’s industry, Trump has imposed hefty tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, including those from key G7 allies like Canada, Japan and the European Union.
Trump has threatened to use national security laws to do the same for car imports and has walked back on environmental agreements and an international deal to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who has invested in a warm personal relationship with Trump, said the other G7 nations – Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy and Japan, as well as France – should remain “polite” and productive but warned that “no leader is forever,” a sign that Europe would not surrender meekly to the US president.
“Maybe the American president doesn’t care about being isolated today, but we don’t mind being six, if needs be,” Macron told reporters. “Because these six represent values, represent an economic market, and more than anything, represent a real force at the international level today.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau predicted “robust discussions” on trade, but other G7 members like Japan and Italy seemed less likely to want to challenge the US president.