WASHINGTON — France and Canada displayed a unified front ahead of Friday and Saturday’s G7 summit, with French President Emmanuel Macron suggesting that the group of most advanced economies in the world may come to G6 agreements that leave the U.S. on the outside.
The summit comes after President Trump imposed 25 percent steel and 10 percent aluminum tariffs, asserting they were necessary from a national security standpoint to bring back manufacturing jobs.
Macron arrived in Charlevoix, Quebec, a day early to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“We must try to be convincing and to keep the United States in the community of nations, but we must never sacrifice our interests or values,” Macron said. He argued that a trade war will hurt American workers first, and noted that “among countries which are friends and allies, it is inappropriate to refer to national security in order to justify trade sanctions.”
“The six other G7 countries combined form a larger market than the American market. This must not be forgotten,” he said.
Macron said that Trump “may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a six-country agreement if need be.”
“Because these six countries represent values, they represent an economic market which has the weight of history behind it and which is now a true international force,” he said.
Trudeau said the message for Trump at the summit will be that “American jobs are on the line because of his actions and because of his administration.”
“When we can underscore this, and we see that there’s a lot of pressure within the U.S., perhaps he will revise his position,” he said at a news conference.
In a reportedly tense phone call with Trudeau on Wednesday, the prime minister asked Trump how he could justify using national security grounds to justify the tariffs. Trump reportedly replied, “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” British troops torched the White House in 1814 after an attack on York, Ontario, then a British colony, during the War of 1812.
France and Canada issued a joint statement today stressing their joint commitment to “building a safer, more peaceful world, to supporting an international order based on fair rules, and to promoting a transition to a low carbon economy so that everyone may reap the benefits of environmentally sustainable growth.”
The agreement listed the shared principles of “supporting strong, responsible and transparent multilateralism to face global challenges,” “working together to fight climate change,” “promoting democratic values,” “promoting a free, open and rules-based trading system,” and “making gender equality a reality in all fields.”
Trump tweeted at the two allies, “Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the U.S. massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers. The EU trade surplus with the U.S. is $151 Billion, and Canada keeps our farmers and others out. Look forward to seeing them tomorrow.”
“Prime Minister Trudeau is being so indignant, bringing up the relationship that the U.S. and Canada had over the many years and all sorts of other things…but he doesn’t bring up the fact that they charge us up to 300% on dairy — hurting our Farmers, killing our Agriculture!” Trump added.
Trump met earlier in the day with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House.
“Tensions are going up everywhere. This G7 will be demanding,” Macron tweeted this evening. “The risk: To create a world of the law of the fittest. It is neither good for us nor for any of our friend countries in the world. That is why we will continue to fight.”