US President Donald Trump has fired off a string of angry tweets criticizing America’s closest allies hours after leaving a divisive G7 summit in Canada. Mr Trump said the US paid “close to the entire cost of Nato” to help protect countries that “rip us off on trade”. “Fair trade is now to be called fool trade,” he added in response to the threat of new tariffs against the US. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed retaliatory action next month over US tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Mr Trump has also attacked Mr Trudeau personally, suggesting the Canadian prime minister is “very dishonest and weak” and “acts hurt when called out”.In Quebec at the G7 the sherpas, political advisers and draftsmen toiled through two nights to find a form of words that all sides could sign up to. I left before the end of the summit to embark on a marathon journey from Canada to Singapore. When I left Quebec all the talk was there would be no agreement. But lo, by the time I landed in Hong Kong to change flights I read that there was a joint communique success.
Only to see a tweet from Donald Trump a little later rescinding his signature over something Justin Trudeau had said at his news conference, Unbelievable. The US president, who is in Singapore for a landmark summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, tweeted on Monday that America was paying disproportionately more towards the costs of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) than fellow members.”They pay only a fraction of the cost and laugh,” he wrote, adding that the EU needed to pay “much more” to help fund the international military alliance, which comprises of 28 members including the UK, US, Germany, Canada and Turkey.
Mr Trump went on to say that the US gets “unfairly clobbered” on trade despite “protecting Europe at great financial loss”. “Change is coming!” he warned. In a news conference after the summit, Mr Trudeau had said that while he did not want to “punish American workers”, his job was to protect Canadians and as such he would press ahead with tariffs on some US imports. “Canadians are polite and reasonable but we will also not be pushed around,” he said. Germany’s Angela Merkel later described Mr Trump’s decision to reject the joint communique initially agreed between the G7 leaders as “sobering” and “depressing”.
Other G7 partners also seemed stunned by Mr Trump’s reaction, and pledged to support the communique. French President Emmanuel Macron said international co-operation could not be “dictated by fits of anger and throwaway remarks”. “Let’s be serious and worthy of our people,” a statement from the French presidency said. “We make commitments and keep to them.” Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister who as an MEP currently co-ordinates Brexit talks for the European Parliament, mocked Mr Trump’s temper and supposed closeness to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a series of tweets.
In recent weeks, trading partners of the US have criticized new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports imposed by the Trump administration. On 1 June, the US imposed a 25% tariff for steel and 10% for aluminium on imports from the European Union (EU), Canada, and Mexico. Mr Trump said the move would protect domestic producers that were vital to US security. The EU then announced retaliatory tariffs on US goods ranging from Harley-Davidson motorcycles to bourbon. Canada and Mexico are also taking action.