Trump insists he has good relationship with G7 leaders – but does not name May
Donald Trump has been at odds with the rest of the group over trade policies after hiking tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.
Donald Trump insisted he would score his relationship with fellow world leaders 10 out of 10 – but failed to name Theresa May in his list of counterparts.
The US president defended the controversial trade policy which has put him at odds with the rest of the G7 leaders at their gathering in Canada, accusing the European Union of a “brutal” approach to business with the United States and warning that retaliating against American steel tariffs would be a mistake.
He accused other states of “robbing” his country through their trade policies and proposed scrapping tariffs across the G7.
But Mrs May hit back, branding the tariffs “unjustified” and saying the EU would respond – although she warned against further tit-for-tat escalation.
Theresa May: “There have been some difficult conversations and strong debate.” pic.twitter.com/PUWS3oYu1e— David Hughes (@DavidHughesPA) June 9, 2018
Despite the tensions at the gathering in Canada, Mr Trump rated his relationship with their leaders as a “10” – naming Germany’s Angela Merkel, French president Emmanuel Macron and Canada’s Justin Trudeau, but not the UK’s Prime Minister.
As well as criticising the tariffs, Mrs May has also opposed Mr Trump’s call for Russia to be readmitted to the group of leading industrialised nations.
But Mr Trump insisted it would be an “asset” to have Vladimir Putin back at the summit table.
The US has slapped a 25% tariff on imports of steel and 10% on aluminium from countries including the UK and the rest of the European Union.
In response, the EU is preparing new tariffs set to hit US exports ranging from jeans to bourbon whiskey.
Mr Trump, who left the summit in La Malbaie early to head for his talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, told reporters the US needed protectionist tariffs because “we are like the piggy bank that everyone is robbing”.
Mr Trump warned the EU: “If they retaliate they are making a mistake.”
The Prime Minister said: “Where we disagree with our allies on something it is right that we say so and air the issue openly and frankly.
“We have done just that at this summit, registering our deep disappointment at the unjustified decision by the US to apply tariffs to EU steel and aluminium imports.”
She continued: “In response, the EU will impose counter-measures.”
But “at the same time we need to avoid tit-for-tat escalation” and maintain a constructive dialogue, she said.
The Prime Minister said the UK still wanted to discuss a post-Brexit trade deal with the US and said Mr Trump was still looking forward to July’s visit to Britain.
“We have a very good relationship with President Trump, we work with President Trump, the UK has a very good relationship with the US,” she said.
Mrs May added: “President Trump and I had a brief word here at the summit about how he is looking forward to his visit to the UK and I look forward to welcoming him to the UK.”
The US president repeated his call for Vladimir Putin to join the other leaders around the summit table.
“I think it would be an asset to have Russia back in, I think it would be good for the world, I think it would be good for Russia, I think it would be good for the United States, I think it would be good for all the countries of the current G7,” he said.
“I think the G8 would be better, I think having Russia back in would be a positive thing.”
Russia was thrown out of the group in 2014 over the annexation of Crimea.
The Prime Minister has been at the forefront of diplomatic efforts to build an alliance against Russia after the Salisbury nerve agent attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
She said: “If there are to be any conversations about Russia’s future in relation to this particular group, they have to change their ways, they have to change the route that they are taking and the sort of activity they are involved in.”
Mr Trump’s strained relationship with the rest of the G7 was in evidence on Saturday when he arrived late for the opening session, with Mr Trudeau addressing a gathering that included an empty chair where the president was meant to be.
But despite the rows over trade and Russia, Mr Trump rated his relationship with other G7 leaders as 10 out of 10.
“I would say that the level of relationships is a 10 – we have a great relationship. Angela (Merkel) and Emmanuel (Macron) and Justin (Trudeau) – I would say the relationship is a 10.”
He added: “The relationship that I’ve had with the leaders of these countries – I would really rate it, on a scale of zero to 10, I would rate it a 10.
“That doesn’t mean I agree with what they are doing, and they know very well that I don’t.”
Despite the differences, Mr Trudeau announced that the leaders had managed to agree a joint communique at the summit.
He said: “We had some strong, firm conversations on trade and specifically on American tariffs.”
However, Mr Trump later tweeted that he had would not now endorse the communique due to “false statements” from the Canadian PM.
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
He wrote: “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!”
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2018
He added: “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!”