Macron and Trudeau vow to confront Trump on tariffs

US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron hold a joint press conference at the White House in Washington DC

The French president said he likes to keep his cards close to his vest and not reveal too much to the media.

When Trudeau asked how Canada, a longstanding ally, could be a threat to the U.S., Trump snarkily replied with a reference to the War of 1812, saying: "Didn't you guys burn down the White House?".

Chief White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Trump wants to negotiate with Mexico and Canada separately.

One source asked by CNN whether the comment was meant as a joke replied: "To the degree one can ever take what is said as a joke".

According to a report by The Washington Post, Trump has been complaining to aides about having to spend two days in Canada because he thinks the trip is a "distraction" from his upcoming Singapore summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. It's well documented that British troops torched the White House over 200 years ago.

"There were many, many areas, not only do we agree on, we're completely united on", Mnuchin said of the talks.

"There may be disagreements", Kudlow added.


Mexico has imposed new import tariffs on USA goods, including pork products. Trump may have less to fear than slow-growing Europe and Japan from a trade war in terms of economic losses if the "G6" pushes back on tariffs. "I prefer to say things directly and not through the press; and I will tell him what I told you, which are my convictions that he knows already".

The Mexican tariffs target US pork, produce, bourbon, and steel - products chosen with a political objective in mind. Trump ended that temporary relief this month, seeking to pressure the other countries to cut new trade agreements with the U.S. Japan was never granted a waiver, despite Prime Mininster Shinzo Abe's pleas.

In retaliation, all of them have either hit back with their own tariffs on United States goods or threatened to do so, as well as challenging the USA trade measure at the World Trade Organization. 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.

Now that they've gotten everyone's attention, it would be good if the Trump administration's next move is constructive. "But Trump can't handle being criticized like that". Beyond condemning the president's erratic and counterproductive actions, they could pass legislation to reverse the imposition of tariffs.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she expected "difficult discussions" at the summit. Canada vowed to hit the US with almost $17 billion worth of tariffs on various goods from the USA, such as toilet paper and maple syrup, and the European Union announced planned duties as well.

Mr Trump's meeting with Mr Trudeau could be particularly frosty, given the president's recent sharp criticism of Canadian trade policies and the anger in Ottawa over Washington's decision to justify its new tariffs on national security grounds.

"Canada became a country in 1867".

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