ePaper

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Trump's tweets spew ire on NATO allies, Trudeau

  • Print

US President Donald Trump fired off a volley of tweets on Monday venting anger on NATO allies, the European Union and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the wake of a divisive G7 meeting over the weekend.

The escalating clash over trade between Washington and some of its closest global partners cast a cloud over Trump's efforts to make history in nuclear talks in Singapore on Tuesday with Kim Jong Un of North Korea, one of America's bitterest foes.

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

"Fair trade is now to be called fool trade if it is not reciprocal," said Trump, who flew from Canada to Singapore on Sunday to prepare for the first-ever summit between a US and North Korean leader. "Sorry, we cannot let our friends, or enemies, take advantage of us on trade anymore. We must put the American worker first!"

The communique, which had appeared to have papered over the cracks that surfaced so uncharacteristically at the G7, said the leaders of the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Japan were agreed on the need for "free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade" and the importance of fighting protectionism.

"We strive to reduce tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers and subsidies," the statement said, which came despite Washington appearing intent on taking more punitive steps on trade. Trump's extraordinary outburst on Monday against NATO allies, the European Union and Canada appeared aimed at striking a chord with voters who support his "America First" agenda.

At the same time, however, it put Trump in the position of going into a crucial summit at odds with countries he needs on his side to pressure North Korea to move toward dismantling a nuclear arsenal that threatens the United States. "Not fair to the people of America! $800 billion trade deficit," he said.

"Why should I, as president of the United State, allow countries to continue to make massive trade surpluses, as they have for decades, while our farmers, workers & taxpayers have such a big and unfair price to pay?"

It was left to Trump's aides to figure out how to defend Trump's airing of grievances against trading partners instead of focusing on his coming talks with Kim, which the president's supporters hope will provide him with a major foreign policy win.

"He's rattling the cages right now on trade," said White House spokesman Raj Shah, who insisted there was no reason to believe there would be any negative fallout for the North Korea summit. "These are really unrelated baskets of issues."

Asked whether allies had any reason to worry about Trump's commitment to any deal he reaches with North Korea following his abrupt withdrawal from the G7 communique, one U.S. official dismissed the issue, saying other countries have gotten used to the sometimes abrasive way the president operates internationally.

But another US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged: "The timing for all this is not very good at all." The prospect that Trump could be moving toward an even greater protectionist trade policy is likely to chill financial markets worried about tit-for-tat escalation that could lead to a full-blown global trade war.

"Business confidence, and subsequently capital spending, is at risk if this tension continues through the summer," said Tai Hui, J.P. Morgan Asset Management Chief Market Strategist for Asia Pacific. "This could cast a long shadow over global growth, which has rebounded in recent weeks after a soft start to the year."

-Reuters, Singapore

More News For this Category

Trump greets EU trade reprisals with threat of steep auto tariff

| By
President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to escalate a trade war with Europe by imposing a 20 percent tariff on all US imports of European Union-assembled cars.
Trump greets EU trade reprisals with threat of steep auto tariff

Harley says EU duties could prompt price hikes

| By
Harley-Davidson Inc could be forced to raise prices in Europe due to EU tariffs on US goods, hitting buyers of new motorcycle models when they are shipped to
Harley says EU duties could prompt price hikes

Opec agrees ouput rise of about one million barrels: KSA

| By
Opec members have agreed on a combined increase in crude oil output of one million barrels per day, the oil minister of the cartel's kingpin Saudi Arabia said
Opec agrees ouput rise of about  one million barrels: KSA

Xiaomi puts indefinite delay on CDRs

| By
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp said on Saturday there is no time frame for a mainland share offering, casting doubt on Beijing's efforts to lure foreign-listed Chinese tech
Xiaomi puts indefinite delay on CDRs

Japan's inflation stays weak despite stimulus measures

| By Business Desk
Japan's core inflation remained subdued in May, yet again highlighting how far off the central bank is in hitting its 2 per cent price goal despite over five
Japan's inflation stays weak despite stimulus measures

German consumer prices 5% above EU average

| By Business Desk
The level of consumer prices in Germany is 5 percent above the European Union (EU) average, according to compiled figures published on Friday by the Federal Statistical Office.

SL's female labor force to boost economic growth: IMF

| By Business Desk
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday said raising Sri Lanka's female labor force participation can boost the island nation's economic growth in the long run.

China May gasoline exports up 134% at 1.47m tonnes

| By
China's gasoline exports in May surged from a year earlier, as state refiners sought to profit from good export margins and additional quota, customs data showed on Saturday.

Hong Kong has world's priciest office market: Survey

| By Business Desk
The rent is due, the rankings are out and it is another year at the top for Hong Kong, the most expensive office market in the world.

Trump threatens 20 percent tariff on all imported EU cars

| By Asian Age Online
US President Donald Trump threatened Friday to impose a 20 percent tariff on cars imported from the European Union, after the bloc's additional tariffs on
Trump threatens 20 percent tariff on all imported EU cars

© 2018 The Asian Age