Politics

Trump's troubling tariffs hang over upcoming G7 summit in Quebec

The dispute over U.S. President Donald Trump's tariffs is driving a wedge in the G7, laying the groundwork for a potential clash among its leaders next week in Quebec's Charlevoix region.

Canada, Japan and EU have sent a message of 'concern and disappointment' to U.S.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau, bottom left, issued a chair's summary that says the other six members want Donald Trump to hear their message of 'concern and disappointment' over the U.S. trade actions. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

The dispute over U.S. President Donald Trump's tariffs is driving a wedge in the G7, laying the groundwork for a potential clash among its leaders next week in Quebec's Charlevoix region.

The G7 allies are pushing back against the Trump administration's hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum as the exclusive club of rich nations edges closer to a trade war.

Following the conclusion today of a three-day meeting of G7 finance ministers in Whistler, B.C., Finance Minister Bill Morneau issued a chair's summary that says the other six members want Trump to hear their message of "concern and disappointment" over the U.S. trade actions.

"Finance ministers and central bank governors requested that the United States Secretary of the Treasury communicate their unanimous concern and disappointment," the group said in a summary statement.

"Ministers and governors agreed that this discussion should continue at the leaders' summit in Charlevoix (Quebec), where decisive action is needed," the statement said.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the United States has only a few days to avoid sparking a trade war with its allies and it is up to the U.S. to make a move to de-escalate tensions over tariffs. Speaking after the meeting, Le Maire said the EU was poised to take counter-measures against the new U.S. tariffs.

Allies, including Canada and the European Union, are threatening retaliatory tariffs in hope of forcing Trump to back down from his position.

They are calling for decisive action from Washington and are urging U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to deliver their message before next week's leaders' summit.

The G7 leaders' summit, which will be hosted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, will also mark Trump's first visit to Canada as president. 

Harder to work together

The U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs were imposed early on Friday after Canada, Mexico and the EU refused to accept quotas in negotiations with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. The tariffs have applied to Japanese metal producers since March 23.

Officials at the G7 meeting said the tariffs made it more difficult for the group to work together to confront China's trade practices, especially when Beijing supports the current World Trade Organization-based trade rules and the U.S. is seeking to go around them.

With files from Reuters

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