Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Former Canadian PM says U.S. tariffs to dominate G7 summit — Interview

Former Canadian PM says U.S. tariffs to dominate G7 summit — Interview

President Trump told global leaders gathered at the Group of Seven summit in Quebec that they must reduce trade barriers and floated the idea of lowering tariffs completely if other countries agreed to a more pure form of open trade. "And we shut the road down leading to La Malbaie!" he said to cheers.

Nicole Filion, with Quebec's league for civil liberties, said she worries about the possibility of mass arrests, the conditions of detainees inside the temporary jails, and the potential misuse of crowd-control weapons by police, such as rubber-ball blast grenades.

Ahead of the summit, the two presidents had engaged in a Twitter spat, in which the French president suggested that a G6 agreement could be signed without the U.S., while Trump accused Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of "charging the United States massive tariffs".

"Looking forward to straightening out unfair Trade Deals with the G-7 countries". Trump tweeted ahead of his planned departure from Washington to Quebec.

"We are going to do very well".

Taking to Twitter, Trudeau also thanked his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe for meeting with him on Friday for the progress, the two leaders made on Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and G7 summit.

Anti-G7 protests in the streets of Quebec City have been mainly peaceful so far, with a few moments of tension.

"But with all the security measures that have been put in place, it's leading us to believe there is a gap between the discourse and the reality", said Genevieve Paul, head of the francophone Canadian branch of Amnesty International. The European Union also attends the summit as do other dignitaries from around the world.

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A spokesman for Canada's Trudeau said that Ottawa's position against such a move had not changed.

Officials concede the mood is likely to be exceptionally tense. Among his shots is criticism of Canada for unfairly charging tariffs on dairy products shipped to the US.

British Prime Minister Theresa May took a more measured tone, telling reporters she wanted the European Union to use restraint in its retaliation to the USA tariffs and that the response must be proportionate and legal.

Trump showed no sign of backing down on Friday after accusing both France and Canada of imposing massive tariffs on USA goods, and then lashing out at Trudeau for "being so indignant".

Speaking to reporters before leaving for his meeting in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump tried to downplay any notion that the meeting in Canada was contentious.

While the G7 chiefs have largely praised Trump for his efforts to stabilize the Korean peninsula, they are unhappy he pulled out of an worldwide agreement created to limit Iran's nuclear ambitions.

In Germany, top officials called for Europe to remain unified in the face of rising trade tensions with the USA even as they maintained that America remained its closest partner outside of the continent.

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