Quebec, Canada: French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday threatened to join with other world leaders to issue a rare rebuke of the United States at a global summit here this weekend, drawing an immediate and sharp reply from US President Donald Trump.
Macron threatened to exclude the United States from the joint statement issued every year at the end of the G7 summit, part of an international pushback against Trump efforts to change trade rules.
French President Emmanuel Macron
"The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be," Macron wrote on Twitter.
"Because these 6 countries represent values, they represent an economic market which has the weight of history behind it and which is now a true international force."
Trump responded by accusing Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of hurting the United States with unfair trade practices.
"Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the US massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers. The EU trade surplus with the US is $US151 billion, and Canada keeps our farmers and others out. Look forward to seeing them tomorrow," Trump wrote.
US President Donald Trump
Macron is scheduled to meet one-on-one with Trump during the G7, and the Twitter barbs could be a prelude for an awkward confrontation.
The joint statements are often ceremonial and don't carry the weight of international law, but they do establish a measure of common principles that each nation shares.
Trump and his senior advisers have already discussed the idea of refusing to sign a joint statement, known as a communique. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declined to sign a joint G-7 statement last week during a meeting with other finance ministers, in a possible prelude of what was to come.
Last year, at Trump's first G-7 meeting, he agreed to sign on to the joint statement, even embracing language that the leaders of Europe and Canada have accused the United States of now violating.
That statement said "we reiterate our commitment to keep our markets open and to fight protectionism, while standing firm against all unfair trade practices."
But in a nod to concerns raised by Trump last year, the joint statement also said "At the same time, that trade has not always worked to the benefit of everyone. For this reason, we commit to adopting appropriate policies so that all firms and citizens can make the most of opportunities offered by the global economy."
Trump has spent much of this year engaged in a series of escalating trade wars with a number of countries, including US allies Canada, Mexico, and members of the European Union like France. Last month he announced he was imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from these countries, infuriating numerous foreign leaders who have pledged to confront him during the G-7.
French President Emmanuel Macron, right, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau embrace after Macron’s arrival on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario.
Leaders in Europe, Canada, and Mexico have vowed to retaliate against these tariffs with economic penalties against US exports, but so far Trump has been unmoved. His advisers have said he is trying to use the threat of tariffs as leverage to force other countries to lower barriers in a way that would allow more US imports. But rhetoric on all sides has only become more heated, and Macron took it to another level in his Twitter post on Thursday.
Trump's advisers have signalled that he plans to stand his ground during the meetings in Canada, but he has publicly expressed much more interest in the meeting he will have with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore after he leaves Canada, making clear to advisers that he isn't looking forward to being lectured by leaders from Europe and Canada.
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