Macron calls on G7 members to confront Trump over trade

Frence president warns world leaders of a drift towards crude US hegemony

French president Emmanuel Macron addresses members of the French community at the Montreal Science Center on Thursday. Photohrapg: Getty Images

French president Emmanuel Macron addresses members of the French community at the Montreal Science Center on Thursday. Photohrapg: Getty Images

 

Emmanuel Macron has called on other members of the G7 to stand up to Donald Trump’s trade policies in the face of what he described as the threat of a new US “hegemony”.

The French president was speaking alongside Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, who is hosting the G7 summit in Quebec amid sharp disagreements between the US president and the six other leaders of industrialised liberal democracies over trade, climate change and the nuclear deal with Iran.

Mr Macron called on other G7 leaders not to water down a joint communique at the end of the summit, at the expense of shared values, simply in an effort to win Trump’s signature, warning that a “G6 plus one” outcome was possible.

The challenge brought a tweeted response from Mr Trump, claiming Mr Macron and Mr Trudeau’s governments were pursuing unfair trade practices at the expense of US producers. “Look forward to seeing them tomorrow,” he signed off sardonically.

Pointed exchange

The pointed exchange further highlighted deep divisions that were already clearly evident before Friday’s summit.

In their remarks to reporters, Mr Trudeau and Mr 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,” Mr Trudeau argued.

Both men, however, voiced anger over Mr Trump’s imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs against close allies, supposedly on “national security” grounds. The EU and Canada have imposed reciprocal sanctionson US goods and have taken their complaint to the World Trade Organisation.

Mr Trudeau described the tariffs as “unilateral and illegal” and the national security pretext as “risible”. He added that Mr 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.

Mr 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”.

Mr Macron has previously accused Chinaof 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.”

Joint statement

Mr Macron said he would do everything in his power to help Mr 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 Mr 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,” Mr 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.” – Guardian