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Trump vows to deal with 'unfair trade' ahead of tense G7 summit

Reuters  |  LA MALBAIE, Quebec 

By and Jan Strupczewski

LA MALBAIE, (Reuters) - U.S. lashed out at and the on Friday, setting the tone for a hostile summit and raising the specter of a trade war that has unnerved Washington's top allies as well as investors.

The confrontation over U.S. tariffs on and aluminum imports threatened to rupture the G7, which during its 42-year history has traditionally sought to find consensus on the economy and other issues.

Trump, who aides said has scant interest in multilateralism, resumed his tirade against members and their "unfair trade practices" early on Friday. The said he would leave the two-day summit in four hours earlier than originally planned.

The U.S. leader will miss talks about climate change and clean energy, and will have left by the time Canadian and other leaders begin closing conferences likely to be laden with criticism of Washington's trade policy.

"We're going to deal with the unfair trade practices. If you look at what Canada, and Mexico, the - all of them - have been doing to us for many, many decades. We have to change it. And they understand it's going to happen," Trump said before departing for the summit in La Malbaie,

"We are going to do very well. Now, if we're unable to make a deal we'll terminate NAFTA, we'll have a better deal," Trump said, adding that the would be better off without trade pacts such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Canada and Mexico, the other members of NAFTA, have been frustrated by what they see as unacceptable U.S. demands in slow-moving talks to modernize the deal.

Trump also said that should be allowed again to attend summits.

A for Canada's Trudeau said that Ottawa's position against such a move had not changed.

NERVOUS MARKETS

Officials have conceded the mood at the summit will likely be exceptionally tense.

Although Trump said the tariffs are necessary to protect U.S. industry and workers, Canada and the EU have denounced them as illegal and are preparing retaliation, raising the prospect of a tit-for-tit escalation.

U.S. stock indexes opened lower on Friday partly due to investor nervousness over the summit.

French warned Trump in a rare rebuke on Thursday that the other six members of the G7 might form their own group, adding that no leader "isforever."

British took a more measured tone, telling reporters she wanted the EU to use restraint in retaliation against U.S. tariffs and that the response must be proportionate and legal.

Trump showed no sign of backing down on Friday after accusing both and Canada of imposing massive tariffs on U.S. goods, and then lashing out at Trudeau for "being so indignant."

The subsequently announced the would leave on Saturday, before the summit formally ends, to fly to to meet with North Korean leader

While the G7 chiefs have largely praised Trump for his efforts to stabilise the Korean peninsula, they are unhappy he pulled out of an international agreement designed to limit Iran's nuclear ambitions.

In Germany, top officials called for to remain unified in the face of rising trade tensions with the even as they maintained that remained its closest partner outside the continent.

(Additional reporting by and in Washington; Jean-Baptiste Vey in Montreal; Writing by and Paul Simao; Editing by Hugh Lawson, and Susan Thomas)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, June 08 2018. 19:43 IST
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