Trump Gives Contradictory Signals at G7 Summit

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ByI. Mitic
August 26, 2019

President Trump confused world leaders at the G7 summit with public comments on Sunday, August 26. Instead of a clear and definitive answer to what his intentions are concerning the trade war with China, the president gave contradictory statements. The summit ended with the president restating his threats to raise tariffs on Chinese goods in September even though he initially claimed he was having “second thoughts” about the new round of levies. Winthin a few hours, the President changed his mind again and said he regretted not raising the tariffs even higher. 

The meeting happened in Biarritz, France, and it brought a new wave of uncertainty into Trump’s efforts to keep the trade war under control. Product flow between the two countries and hundreds of billions of dollars related to trade are up in the air until the situation is resolved. 

“I think they respect the trade war,” Trump said of his allies at the summit. He also made a statement about China: “What they’ve done is outrageous, that presidents and administrations allowed them to get away with taking hundreds of billions of dollars out every year.”

US allies agree that China’s policies are a threat to the global economy, but very few like President Trump’s approach to resolving the issue. World leaders worry that the president may tip the global economy into recession, further contributing to the hardship of European economies. 

The president didn’t use this opportunity to present America in a positive light and create a united front against Chinese trade policies. While the rest of the G7 leaders wanted to make a conciliatory deal with China, Trump once again set himself apart by making it clear he has no intention of backing down. The heads of other states treated the president delicately, hoping to avoid another outburst, but several decided to challenge Trump on his trade policies with North Korea and Russia. Even the prime minister of the UK, Boris Johnson, challenged Trump and warned him about the dangers of an extended conflict with China. 

“We’re in favor of trade peace on the whole,” Johnson told the president. “The UK has profited massively in the last 200 years from free trade, and that’s what we want to see.”

American Democrats have also been critical of President Trump’s approach and conduct at the G7, saying that American leverage is weakening each day as the president keeps failing to work with allies in a concerted approach to change China’s course. 

Photo: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons
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