WASHINGTON — The White House said President Donald Trump will cut short his visit with the Group of Seven economic powers in Canada this weekend, announcing that he would to leave the summit early after sparring with other world leaders on the issue of trade.
By leaving after a session on women’s empowerment on Saturday morning, Trump will skip meetings on climate change, energy policy and oceans. Instead, he’ll leave early for Singapore, where he’s scheduled to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next week.
In a series of tweets Thursday evening, Trump fired back at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron — both of whom have criticized tariffs Trump has placed on exports from those countries.
Leaders of the world’s seven largest industrialized economies — including Trump, Trudeau and Macron — are set to meet Friday for the two-day G-7 summit. The Twitter exchanges ahead of that meeting have underscored the tension expected to play out between allies over shifting trade negotiations.
“Prime Minister Trudeau is being so indignant, bringing up the relationship that the U.S. and Canada had over the many years and all sorts of other things,” Trump posted. “But he doesn’t bring up the fact that they charge us up to 300% on dairy — hurting our Farmers, killing our Agriculture!”
The message was in response to mounting pressure from allies about the 25% tariff on steel and a 10% duty on aluminum Trump imposed in late May. Macron suggested earlier Thursday that the U.S. could be excluded from the group’s agreements.
“The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be,” Macron posted 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.”
“No leader is eternal,” Macron wrote earlier.
The back-and-forth on Twitter came as talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico have largely stalled. Some have viewed Trump’s tariffs as an effort to prod those discussions along, or to broker separate deals with each country.
But Canada and European Union leaders questioned the approach, particularly in light of the Trump administration’s willingness to offer a major concession to China on Thursday. The Commerce Department announced Thursday it would end a crippling seven-year ban on Chinese telecom ZTE doing business with the U.S. that was imposed after the company was caught violating sanctions on Iran.
“American jobs are on the line because of his actions and because of his administration,” Trudeau said Thursday. “When we can underscore this, and we see that there’s a lot of pressure within the U.S., perhaps he will revise his position.”
On Twitter, at least, Trump seemed prepared to stick to his guns this weekend.
“Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the U.S. massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers,” the president wrote. “The EU trade surplus with the U.S. is $151 billion, and Canada keeps our farmers and others out. Look forward to seeing them tomorrow.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump’s so-called summit “sherpa,” Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs Everett Eissenstat, will represent the United States for the Saturday G-7 sessions that Trump will skip.