Monday, 22 October, 2018

Merkel-Trump G7 face-off photo headed for history books

Trump told Macron EU worse than China on trade Australia Market shut for a holiday
Andrew Cummings | 13 June, 2018, 01:00

German Chancellor Angela Merkel watches as President Donald Trump talks with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde during the Gender Equality Advisory Council breakfast during the G-7 summit, June 9, 2018, in Charlevoix, Canada.

Far from taking a victory lap, Merkel told German public television late Sunday that she found the summit's implosion "sobering and a little depressing" and called it a "momentous step" taken by Trump.

Trump cited unfair trade and tariffs from Canada, a longtime U.S. ally, as one of the reasons he refused to back the joint statement. Trump spent the days leading up to the meeting tweeting complaints about the summit's "indignant" host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and French President Emmanuel Macron, arguing that both leaders refused to budge on their trade positions.

Asked whether she could imagine the idea of a complete abolition of tariffs proposed at some point with Trump, Merkel said that in an ideal case this could be achieved, but cautioned that the issue of subsidies should also be taken into account. The photo shows Merkel towering over Trump, the only person in the group who is seated, and staring him down.

"We must stop this escalation of tensions, the tit-for-tat process is not going to be helpful. new sectors will be brought into the picture, which is something that will harm everyone", he said.

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Others, however, insisted that Trump looks like he's in control of the situation in the photo. Trump said the tariffs are necessary for national security. In one picture, while the former U.S. president is seen engaging in talks with the experts, in the other picture he can be seen sharing a light moment with Angela Merkel with watching the European soccer match.

Trump left the meeting between the world's leading industrialized countries with a warning to USA allies, saying that if they don't remove trade barriers with the US then they will face consequences. He said he was unhappy at an end-of-summit press conference by Trudeau after he left the summit, in which Trudeau said Canada would retaliate against USA trade tariffs.

The European Union must develop "a joint strategic culture", she said, "otherwise Europe will be ground up in a world with very strong poles" of power elsewhere.

Trump, who is in Singapore for negotiations with North Korea, continued to rip into United States trading partners late Sunday night Eastern Time, repeating complaints about the U.S. trade deficit and contributions to NATO. He went on to announce that the U.S. would be looking to impose tariffs on auto imports.

"There are still good reasons to continue our fight [aimed at keeping close transatlantic partnership], even though we can not just rely on it anymore", she added.

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