French President, Emmanuel Macron Has Called on G7 Members To Vehemently Oppose a Possible US Drift Toward ‘crude Hegemony’ Sequel To Donald Trump’s Tariffs On Allies
Speaking at the G7 summit, Emmanuel Macron raised an alarm over Donald Trump’s trade policies in the face of what he tagged as “the threat of a new US Hegemony”.
He was speaking together with the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who is hosting the G7 summit in Quebec, amid heightened arguments between the US president and the six other leaders of industrialized liberal states over trade, climate change and the nuclear deal with Iran.
He called on other G7 leaders not to make more lenient a joint communique at the close of the summit, at the expense of shared values, simply in an effort to win Donald Trump’s signature, warning that a “G6 plus one” outcome was possible.
The challenge brought a tweeted response from Trump, claiming Macron and Trudeau’s governments were pursuing unfair trade practices at the expense of US producers. “Look forward to seeing them tomorrow,” he signed off sardonically. In a second tweet he said Canadian trade policy was “killing our Agriculture.”
Donald J. Trump(@realDonaldTrump)
Prime Minister Trudeau is being so indignant, bringing up the relationship that the U.S. and Canada had over the many years and all sorts of other things…but he doesn’t bring up the fact that they charge us up to 300% on dairy — hurting our Farmers, killing our Agriculture!
June 7, 2018
Even under the North American Free Trade Agreement, Canada and the US have had long-running disputes about subsidies, tariffs and restrictive practices. In particular the US has complained about access for its dairy products, and Canada says the US imposes unfair tariffs on its lumber exports. Ottawa has called for the disputes to be resolved by arbitration, and points out that Canada is the biggest market for US agricultural exports, and second biggest market for dairy exports.
The pointed exchange between the leaders highlighted deep divisions that were already clearly evident before Friday’s summit. Trump is expected to arrive at mid-morning on Friday, and hold closed-door meetings at La Malbaie, a summer resort on the St Lawrence river. He is due to hold bilateral sessions with Trudeau and Macron, and met the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, in Washington on Thursday. The president has no plans to see Theresa May or Angela Merkel, with whom his relations are even frostier.
Trump is due to leave the summit several hours early on Saturday morning, to fly direct to his next engagement, a summit with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un in Singapore.
In their remarks to reporters, Trudeau and Macron emphasised the importance of maintaining dialogue and courtesy in relations with Trump, arguing the meeting was an essential forum for finding common ground and resolving differences.
“The G7 is an opportunity to meet to have frank and open discussions between countries that are longtime allies and friends,” Trudeau argued.
Both men, however, voiced anger over Trump’s imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs against close allies, supposedly on “national security” grounds. The EU and Canada have imposed reciprocal sanctions on US goods and have taken their complaint to the World Trade Organisation.
Trudeau described the tariffs as “unilateral and illegal” and the national security pretext as “risible”. He added that Trump’s “unacceptable actions are going to harm his own citizens”.
“It is American jobs that are going to be lost because of the actions of this administration,” the Canadian prime minister added.
Macron was even more emphatic, calling on the other G7 members to resist what he warned was a potential US drift towards “further isolationism and “crude hegemony”.
Macron has previously accused China of pursuing hegemony in Asia.
“The six other countries of the G7 represent a market which is bigger than the American market,” the French president said. “I believe in cooperation and multilateralism because I will resist hegemony with all my strength. Hegemony is might makes right. Hegemony is the end of the rule of law.”
Macron said he would do everything in his power to help Trudeau’s presidency of the G7 to succeed and produce a joint statement on Saturday that can be signed by all seven members.
However, he argued that other countries should be ready to have a “G6 plus one” outcome, sticking to a text that enshrines their common values, even if Trump does not sign it.
“The desire for all seven to sign a text can’t be stronger than our requirements for the contents of that text,” Macron said at a joint press conference with Trudeau in Ottawa on the eve of the summit. “I think we would be making an error if we said we are ready to give up everything, not to talk about the Paris accord or climate, or trade, just to have that signature.”
At last year’s G7 summit in Sicily, the leaders all signed a communique, but the statement made clear there were deep differences on the Paris climate change accord.
“The American president may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a six country agreement if need be,” he said, but added that US workers would be the first to suffer from a trade war between Europe and the US.
“We are all engaged in conflicts in Syria, in Iraq, in the Sahel, in different places in the world. We are allies. Our soldiers stand shoulder to shoulder to defend liberty and our values,” Macron said. “You can’t, among allies in this international context, start a trade war. For me it’s a question of principle.”
Emmanuel Macron’s take on Trump’s meeting with North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-un
Macron expressed support for Trump in his expected summit with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, but also warned that the US president’s abrogation last month of a 2015 multilateral deal on the Iranian nuclear programme, cast doubt on the credibility of such agreements.
The Trump administration has threatened to impose sanctions against European companies that continue to do business with Tehran, an effort the US has said it will resist.
Macron said the message of other G7 leaders to Trump on the Iran deal should be: “You’re not comfortable with an agreement signed by your predecessor, maybe just because it was signed by your predecessor, but don’t stop others from respecting it and don’t push Iran to leave, because today it’s the best protection we have.”