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Jun 10, 2018

In bombshell, Trump says U.S. backs out of G7 communique, criticizes Trudeau


Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and G7 leaders work on the joint statement following a breakfast meeting on the second day of the G7 meeting in Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 9, 2018. Adam Scotti/Prime Minister's Office/Handout via REUTERS

LA MALBAIE, Quebec (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday said he had instructed his representatives not to endorse a joint communique put out by the Group of Seven leaders after what he called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “false statements” at a news conference.

Trump left the G7 summit in Canada early, then wrote on Twitter that Trudeau’s remarks, including that his country would not be pushed around, “were very dishonest and weak.”

“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!” the U.S. president tweeted.

The bombshell tweet came after G7 nations appeared to have papered over the cracks in their alliance at the two-day summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, where Trump defiantly brandished his “America First” agenda.

All the group’s leaders had spoken publicly about the summit and the Canadian government had issued the communique when Trump’s tweets were posted.

There was no immediate reaction from the Canadian government on Trump’s tweets.

Trump, who last week slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, the European Union and Mexico, threatened at the summit to cut off trade with countries that treated the United States unfairly.

“We’re like the piggy bank that everybody is robbing,” he said at an earlier news conference as his counterparts continued their meeting in La Malbaie, Quebec, and officials hammered out a joint communique.

“This isn’t just G7. I mean, we have India, where some of the tariffs are 100 percent … And we charge nothing,” Trump said. “And it’s going to stop. Or we’ll stop trading with them.”

The communique said the leaders of the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Japan agreed on the need for “free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade” and the importance of fighting protectionism.

“We strive to reduce tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers and subsidies,” the statement said.

Trump, who argues his tariffs are meant to protect U.S. industry and workers from unfair international competition, told reporters he had suggested to the other G7 leaders that all trade barriers, including tariffs and subsidies, be eliminated.

The U.S. president is en route to Singapore for a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which Trump described as a “mission of peace.”

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