Hours before he boarded Air Force One to fly to Quebec for the G7 meeting, U.S. President Donald Trump launched a series of fresh salvos at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and called on Russia to be readmitted to the exclusive club of leading industrial nations.
“Looking forward to straightening out unfair Trade Deals with the G-7 countries. If it doesn’t happen, we come out even better!” Trump tweeted Friday. “Canada charges the U.S. a 270% tariff on Dairy Products! They didn’t tell you that, did they? Not fair to our farmers!”
Trump’s protectionist policies that have imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union are likely to become a flashpoint during the meeting with the leaders of Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Italy and the U.S. in La Malbaie, Quebec, Friday and Saturday.
‘We’ll all be in love again’
Trump added more fuel to the fire just minutes before boarding Air Force One with another shot at his closest allies and trading partners.
“We have massive trade deficits with almost every country, we will straighten that out,” Trump said. “They understand. They’re trying to act like, ‘Well, we fought with you in the wars’ but they don’t mention the fact that they have trade barriers against our farmers, they don’t mention the fact that they’re charging almost 300-per-cent tariffs.
“When it all strengthens out we’ll all be in love again.”
Welcome President Putin?
Trump’s rejection of the global climate accord and Iran nuclear deal, supported by the EU and Canada is going to be another flashpoint in the increasingly acrimonious relationship between Washington and its Western allies.
And as if to add another irritant, Trump called for Russia to be brought back into G7 and resurrect the G8 format, from which the Kremlin was expelled following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its meddling in eastern Ukraine.
“Russia should be in this meeting. Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting?” Trump said in Washington as he was departing for the summit in Canada.
“Whether you like it or not – and it may not me politically correct – but we have a world to run… They should let Russia come back in, because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”
Speaking on background, Canadian officials said Ottawa’s position hasn’t changed and they believe that Russia’s illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea disqualifies Moscow from participation.
However, Trump wasn’t the only one calling for Russia’s return.
Newly sworn Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he supports Trump’s proposal.
“Russia should return to the G8. This is in the interest of all,” tweeted Conte who was sworn into office last week as the head of a populist coalition that has called for the EU to forge closer ties with Moscow and for sanctions to be lifted.
Trump will skip part of the summit on Saturday as he travels to Singapore to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in hopes of resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis.