29.09.2022

G7 Summit to be held amid crisis in US-EU relations

At the G7 Summit in Quebec, issues are to be discussed on which the United States and the rest of the six participating countries have serious disagreements. They say that Trump may not even come to a meeting. On June 8-9, in Quebec, Canada will host a summit of heads of state and government of the G-7 countries: Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, the USA, France and Japan. The summit will focus on the problems of free trade and cooperation of G7 countries in the international arena, as well as on measures to protect the climate. On all these issues, the United States and the remaining six countries have serious disagreements.

Given this, and also taking into account the unpredictability of Donald Trump, some observers do not exclude the possibility that at the last minute the US president will refuse to participate in the meeting of leaders of leading industrial countries. This, in particular, is evidenced by Roland Paris, a former leading foreign policy adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, now a professor at the University of Ottawa, and Daniel Price, an American Democratic politician and former representative of George W. Bush at the G8 summits and G20 “Although it seems unbelievable, everything is possible,” says Paris. “If Trump does not come, it will be regrettable, but anything can happen,” Price repeats to him.

US duties on steel and aluminum – the main cause of the crisis

The G-7 Summit in Quebec will be held at a difficult time – never before have Western partners experienced such a crisis in their relations with the United States. One of the reasons for this deterioration in ties is Washington introduced 25 percent duty on steel products and 10 percent on aluminum for manufacturers from the European Union, Canada, and Mexico on June 1.

This decision was not a surprise to Europeans. In May, EU officials repeatedly negotiated to avoid a trade conflict with the United States. But the positions of the parties were too different: while in Washington they alluded to the possibility of reaching an agreement within the framework of bilateral agreements with individual European countries, in Brussels they demanded that they communicate with the European Union as a single negotiator and comply with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In response to US measures, the European Union from July 1 introduces duties on a number of American goods. The corresponding decision on the eve of the G7 summit, on June 6, was adopted by the European Commission. Brussels emphasizes that the protective measures, which should be agreed before the end of June with all EU countries, are not just a retaliatory step, but are of a political nature. Thus, declaring American whiskey, motorcycles and jeans as those goods for which new duties will be introduced, the EU will choose the products of those American states where the Republicans rule. It is assumed that their governors will have to influence Trump, who was elected from the Republicans as president.

Exiting Iranian Nuclear Deal and Trump’s Other Tricks

The imposition of duties on steel and aluminum products imported from the EU and Canada is not Trump’s only move that causes discontent and bewilderment, including among G7 countries. Prior to this, the United States announced its withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal. “The United States looks quite isolated, given its withdrawal from the agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program and the desire to impose sanctions against countries that will not refuse agreements with Iran, as well as the imposition of duties on aluminum and steel for manufacturers from the EU and Canada,” says Daniel Price.

The new duties for manufacturers from Canada, according to Roland Paris, show how strong the disagreement is between the Trump administration and the Trudeau government: “I think that now there is a situation that has not happened in the history of Canadian-American relations. Tense moments have arisen between the two countries before, but never have US authorities considered Canadian imports as a threat to their national security. ”

Hope to save dialogue in G7 format

Not only with Canada, but also with the leading EU states – Germany and France – Trump has a difficult relationship. One indication of this is the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, championed by French President Emmanuel Macron.

“If at the G-7 summit there had been an honest and open exchange of views, and the US president understood how destructive his steps were and what kind of a split they are in relations between countries, that would be a great success,” Daniel Price explains.

Despite serious disagreements with the United States, the German government seeks to maintain the format of meetings of leaders of the world’s leading industrial countries. Berlin emphasizes the importance of dialogue, even when the opinions of partners differ on a number of topics. “If, under existing circumstances, an open confrontation between the United States and the rest of the G7 countries can be avoided, the summit can be considered successful,” Roland Paris concluded.

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