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Updated On: Tuesday, 19 June 2018
Development Issues

Trump Says Friends, Enemies Can't Take Advantage of US on Trade

Content by: Voice of America

WASHINGTON —

President Donald Trump tweeted out more criticism of U.S. trade partners Monday, including allies in Europe and Canada, adding to his declarations that the United States will no longer tolerate what he has called "trade abuse.

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"Sorry, we cannot let our friends, or enemies, take advantage of us on Trade anymore. We must put the American worker first!" Trump said.

That was part of a string of messages in which the president asserted the United States "pays close the the entire cost of NATO" while other member countries take advantage of the U.S. on trade.

"We protect Europe (which is good) at great financial loss, and then get unfairly clobbered on Trade," he said. "Change is coming!"

NATO members, in general, make direct financial contributions based on their economic output, and as a result of being the world's biggest economy the United States does contribute a larger amount than other nations. Indirectly, NATO members contribute to the alliance through the size of their military budgets, and the United States also spends more on defense than any other nation.

Trump tweeted from Singapore where he traveled for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after attending a meeting of G-7 leaders in Canada.

After Trump left, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Trump's decision to impose invoke national security grounds to impose new tariffs on aluminum and steel "insulting" because of the long history of Canadian troops supporting the United States in conflicts.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens while addressing the final news conference of the G-7 summit in the Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, June 9, 2018.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens while addressing the final news conference of the G-7 summit in the Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, June 9, 2018.

Trudeau also pledged to respond with equivalent tariffs on U.S. goods beginning July 1.

While airborne, Trump ordered U.S. officials to refuse to sign the traditional end-of-summit communique and tweeted criticism of what he said were Trudeau's "false statements at his news conference."

"PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, 'US Tariffs were kind of insulting' and he 'will not be pushed around.' Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!" he said.

Trump followed Monday with another tweet saying, "Fair Trade is no to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal," and that Trudeau "acts hurt when called out."

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo downplayed any rift in G-7 relations during a news conference Monday in Singapore.

"There are always irritants in relationships. I am very confident that relationships between our countries, the United States and those G-7 countries, will continue to move forward on a strong basis," he said.

Trudeau did not respond to the U.S. attacks, instead declaring the summit a success.

"The historic and important agreement we all reached" at the summit "will help make our economies stronger and people more prosperous, protect our democracies, safeguard our environment, and protect women and girls’ rights around the world. That’s what matters," Trudeau said.

But foreign minister Chrystia Freeland said, "Canada does not believe that ad hominem attacks are a particularly appropriate or useful way to conduct our relations with other countries."

The G-7 summit communique called for working together to stimulate economic growth "that benefits everyone," and highlighted a commitment to a "rules-based international trading system" and "fight protectionism." The document also supports strong health systems, advancing gender equality, ending sexual and gender-based violence, as well as efforts to create a more peaceful world and combat climate change.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told ARD television that Trump's withdrawal from the communique through a tweet is "sobering and a bit depressing."

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is pictured during a portion of the G-7 summit in the Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 9, 2018.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is pictured during a portion of the G-7 summit in the Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 9, 2018.

French President Emmanuel Macron attacked Trump's stance, saying, "International cooperation cannot be dictated by fits of anger and throwaway remarks." He called Trump's refusal to sign the communique a display of "incoherence and inconsistency."

U.S. Republican Sen. John McCain, a vocal Trump critic, offered support for the other six world leaders at the Canadian summit.

"To our allies," McCain tweeted, "bipartisan majorities of Americans remain pro-free trade, pro-globalization & supportive of alliances based on 70 years of shared values. Americans stand with you, even if our president doesn't."

Trudeau and May also bucked Trump on another high-profile issue: Russia. Trump suggested Russia rejoin the group after being pushed out in 2014 when it annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. Trudeau said he is "not remotely interested" in having Russia rejoin the group.

May added, "We have agreed to stand ready to take further restrictive measures against Russia if necessary."

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