G7 Summit: Cooperation And Addressing Trade Tariffs

Disarray and failure are just some of the words that have been used by BBC and Aljazeera to describe the G7 summit which was held from 8th-9th June in Quebec. This comes after the United States imposed 25% tariffs on steel imports and 10% on aluminium, on the European Union, Mexico and Canada on the 31st of May, making the environment of the summit tense and some conflicting concerns made vocal. This summit occurs once a year and is important for the cooperation and building relations between the leaders of the seven states France, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, United States and Canada. But this year had onlookers sceptical and taking a further dislike to President Donald Trump’s style of participation.

The agenda of the 2018 summit focused on economic growth, gender equality and women empowerment, future jobs and climate change. The G7 set targets for improvements to the World Trade Organisation, addressing issues within North Korea and Russian behavior in Syria, with all verbal agreements being recorded and published on the Communique. Although it was very disappointing to see Trump veto the climate change comments focusing on ‘sustainable economic growth’, but not under a form of governmental target or management.  This shows that he is incapable and unwilling to take part in discussion regarding the environment even out of the Paris Agreement, and suggests that he seeks to make his own agenda.

Comments after the summit were made regarding the trade tariffs and BBC reported the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the tariffs ‘illegitimate and unacceptable’, adding that they would harm Canadian citizens working in the involved industries. Trump made the comment that the U.S has been used as a ‘piggy bank’, and for states to retaliate with more tariffs is ‘not a good idea’ for many other states and that past ‘US leaders are to blame for the past trade problems’. Both leaders are dedicated to providing the best for their own nations, but it is leading to a conflicting position for their trading but could also harm their leader’s relations and peaceful relationship Canada and the US have had in the past.

The comments after the G7 summit are concerning because although the tariffs weren’t in the agenda of the summit, the need for the leaders to voice their concerns in the press conference after the summit shows the attitudes that were around in the two-day meeting. The U.S is also asserting their dominance through imposing such harsh tariffs and Canada clearly felt attacked by this imposition. The EU, Canada and Mexico are retaliating with tariffs on their exports, as they seek to make even with the US tariffs, but this battling and competition is not healthy for the relationships of the G7 states and with the risk it presents for creating ‘trade wars’ between some of the most valuable alliances.

The G7 Summit is and should be a platform for discussion of world focused goals between the biggest powers, but it is a problem for all involved when one state chooses to pick what they will take part in and set the rules as a dominator rather than a supporter. EU Council President Donald Tusk reinforced this, warning that Trump’s stance on trade, climate change and Iran are dangerous.  It should be in each leader’s best interest to make the effort of such a meeting to cooperate and be present for all issues that are global, with some of them not being state bound issues. Trump picking and choosing at this year summit is worrying because if he cannot take part in all global issues in a close contained environment like the summit, it questions his ability to interact in the international arena that is meant to support further state cooperation and peaceful trading.