G7 or G6? During an unscheduled press conference before the start of the G7 conference, United States President Donald Trump issued a stern warning to G7 countries on their plan to impose higher duties on U.S. goods as a retaliatory measure for his decision to hike tariffs on steel and aluminium products.
Trump refuted claims that his decision to levy higher tariffs on steel and aluminium was contentious:
“It’s not a question of ‘I hope it will change’. It’s going to change 100%. Tariffs are going to come way down because people cannot continue to do that. We’re like the piggy bank that everybody’s robbing. And that ends.
“If they retaliate, they’re making a mistake because you see we have a tremendous trade imbalance. That’s a very bad spirit when we have a big trade imbalance and they keep raising it so we can never catch up. That’s not a good thing to do. And we have very, very strong measures against them. We win that war a thousand time out of a thousand.”
President Trump likewise threw shade at United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May who questioned his decision that the tariffs were intended to fortify the United States’ national security:
“It is national security; it’s our balance sheet, it’s our strength, it’s absolutely national security.”
The G7 summit appeared to be a showcase of Trump’s displeasure at the idea of international cooperation. He failed to attend the Saturday morning session that tackled the issue of gender equality.
Prior to his departure for the G7 summit, Trump was having disagreements with G7 President, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the issue of tariffs. Trump also insisted that the G7 reinstate Russia in the group. The G7 suspended Russia after it annexed Crimea in 2014.
Despite the shaky relationship with President Trump, the G7 representatives took time to express the importance of the United States’ role in the world economy.
President Trump planned to leave the G7 summit early. He is scheduled to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12.