‘Destroying trust with 280 Twitter characters’ – France and Germany rally against Trump
Upon leaving the summit in Charlevoix, Canada, the US president had publicly lashed out at Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau on Twitter. Trump called him “meek” and “mild” during the G7 talks, and said he asked Congress not to endorse the joint final communiqué adopted on the meeting.
Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2018
Trump’s outburst quickly raised eyebrows in Europe. “In a matter of seconds, you can destroy trust with 280 twitter characters,” German foreign minister Heiko Maas said on Sunday. He added that Trump behavior is “not a real surprise”, given his previous decisions to back out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and the 2015 Paris climate accord.
France were also disappointed with the US leader’s rejection of the G7 joint communiqué. "International cooperation cannot be dictated by fits of anger and throwaway remarks," the office of the French president Emmanuel Macron told AFP in a statement on Sunday. It added that recanting the endorsement of the main document adopted by all G7 members showed "incoherence and inconsistency".
The meeting itself proved to be quite contentious, with Trump arriving late and leaving early, as the partners clashed with him on free trade and tariffs.
In January 2018, Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from the EU, Canada and Mexico, citing the need to protect American businesses. His move was met with wide criticism abroad, with European Union accusing the White House of inciting a “trade war”.
Justin Trudeau called Trump’s tariffs “insulting” to the history of US-Canada relations. As “retaliatory measures” his government decided to impose their own tariffs on more than 80 types of American goods, from ketchup and strawberry jam to washing machines and plywood, effective on July 1.
The European Union branded the US tariffs “unacceptable”. During a speech in late May, the head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker vowed to launch a complaint to the World Trade Organization and later unveiled a series of “trade defense rules”, including an option to impose higher duties on certain goods.
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