G-7 summit

France, Germany united against US 'inconsistency'

Protesters in Old Quebec confronting anti-riot police during a demonstration last Saturday against the Group of Seven summit in Canada.
Protesters in Old Quebec confronting anti-riot police during a demonstration last Saturday against the Group of Seven summit in Canada.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Allies reminded to stick closer together to steer trade policy

PARIS/BERLIN • France and Germany have maintained they will stick to the Group of Seven communique after United States President Donald Trump abruptly backed out of the joint statement agreed following the bad-tempered G-7 summit in Quebec City.

Having left the summit in La Malbaie early, Mr Trump's announcement that he was pulling out of the joint communique torpedoed what appeared to be a fragile consensus on the trade dispute between Washington and its top allies.

France warned yesterday that "fits of anger" could not dictate international cooperation.

"International cooperation cannot be dictated by fits of anger and throwaway remarks," French President Emmanuel Macron's office said in a statement to Agence France-Presse.

"We spent two days working out a (joint) statement and commitments. We are sticking to them and whoever reneges on them is showing incoherence and inconsistency.

"Let's be serious and worthy of our people. We make commitments and keep them," Mr Macron's office said.

NO ENDORSEMENT

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! ''

TIT FOR TAT

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! ''

US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, in tweets after leaving the G-7 summit early.


UP IN SMOKE

In a matter of seconds, you can destroy trust with 280 Twitter characters. ''

GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER HEIKO MAAS, when asked about Mr Trump's U-turn.


CARELESS ATTITUDE

International cooperation cannot be dictated by fits of anger and throwaway remarks. ''

FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON'S OFFICE, in a statement to Agence France-Presse.


BETRAYAL

He really kind of stabbed us in the back. ''

WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER LARRY KUDLOW, referring to Mr Justin Trudeau's comments during a press conference soon after Mr Donald Trump left the G-7 summit.

It was referring to Mr Trump's flurry of tweets which he sent from Air Force One en route to Singapore for a summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, accusing the G-7 summit host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, of being "very dishonest".

Mr Trump was reacting to Mr Trudeau's declaration that Canadians would "not be pushed around" and would hit back at punishing US tariffs on metal imports with "equivalent tariffs".

The German government yesterday pledged to continue to support the communique, as Chancellor Angela Merkel's allies attacked Mr Trump for reneging on the joint statement, saying the remaining G-7 countries must now stick closer together to steer global policy.

"The step he took after the meeting, withdrawing his acceptance of the communique, is an affront," said Mr Juergen Hardt, a lawmaker and spokesman for foreign policy within Dr Merkel's CDU/CSU caucus.

"Without question, we need to remain in talks with the USA. The remaining G-7 states must move even closer together in order to remain advocates for rational global politics."

Once a pillar of US foreign policy, the G-7 has long been a bulwark for the global economic system.

During his two days in Canada, Mr Trump and his G-7 counterparts shook hands and posed for photos.

But negotiators struggled to come up with a compromise statement that all seven powers could agree to and, in a burst of relief, released it late last Saturday.

But as the bruising aftermath made clear, the divide, for the moment at least, cannot be bridged by clever diplomacy and cordial talking points.

Germany's Foreign Minister said Mr Trump's decision to abandon the communique through a Twitter message has destroyed trust.

"It's actually not a real surprise, we have seen this with the climate agreement or the Iran deal," Mr Heiko Maas said.

"In a matter of seconds, you can destroy trust with 280 twitter characters," he noted, adding that it would take much longer to rebuild the lost trust.

REUTERS, NYTIMES, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2018, with the headline 'France, Germany united against US 'inconsistency' '. Print Edition | Subscribe