At the meeting of the Group of Seven (G-7) finance ministers and central bank governors which ended over the weekend in British Columbia, Canada, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin got an earful from his peers, and for understandable reasons. Six of the members of the G-7 are victims of the metal tariffs unilaterally imposed by the Trump administration, which took effect from June 1. The G-7 meeting was thus reduced to a G-6 against one.
The G-6 did not mince words in their rebuke of Washington. They even issued a statement asking Mr Mnuchin to convey to US President Donald Trump their "unanimous concern and disappointment" about the tariffs. Individually, the ministers were even more forthright. Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau condemned the tariffs as "destructive". His German counterpart Olaf Scholz declared them to be "illegal". And France's Bruno Le Maire described them as "dangerous for growth, dangerous for the economic development of the world, and dangerous for our jobs in the EU". While trade issues loomed especially large at the G-7 meeting, they were not the only point of difference between the G-6 and Washington. The European Union members were also opposed to US sanctions on Iran, which threaten to further destabilise the Middle East and also affect the operations of European companies.
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