Trump’s trade rupture gains momentum
The G7 summit in Canada is already being described as ‘six-plus-Trump’ due to his tariff strategy
To Canada, where the Group of Seven meets to contemplate the implications of Donald Trump’s tweets for the global economy.
Trump, who tweeted on Monday that he had the right to pardon himself in the event that he is found guilty of criminal action, set the tone for the summit by imposing heavy trade tariffs on Canada and European countries.
But the self-pardoning malarkey was just a distraction from Trump’s relentless effort to make everyone in the world hate him with equal venom.
Tariffs imposed on China, it turns out, were just the first salvo in a trade war that affects all continents. SA’s steel industry has already felt the effects.
When the first round of tariffs was imposed, Canada and European countries were exempted. But that was only temporary.
Now the EU and Canada have been hit by tariffs on steel and aluminium on top of the US decision to unilaterally bin the Iran nuclear deal against the advice of European allies.
The G7 summit is already being described as "six-plus-Trump".
To justify the tariffs, Trump has had to resort to describing Canada and the EU as security threats, a notion that is, to put it mildly, far-fetched.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau reacted: "Our soldiers who fought and died together on the beaches of World War 2 and the mountains of Afghanistan, and have stood shoulder-to-shoulder in some of the most difficult places in the world, that are always there for each other, somehow — this is insulting to them.
"The idea that the Canadian steel that’s in military vehicles in the US, the Canadian aluminium that makes your fighter jets, is somehow now a threat?"
In the words of French finance minister Bruno Le Maire: "What this G7 is going to show is that the US is alone against everyone and especially alone against its allies."
Reuters reported that University of Ottawa international affairs professor Roland Paris, a former adviser to Trudeau, warned "there is the real possibility of a more open rupture".
This is why six heads of state will be sitting up all night, watching their Twitter feeds. You don’t want to be the world leader who missed the rupture.