Free trade, climate change among issues on Trudeau's agenda at G7 summit

Cheryl Sanders
May 28, 2017

"There is no doubt that this will be the most challenging G7 summit in years", European Union president Donald Tusk predicted, setting the tone for the two-day meet in Sicily's ancient hilltop resort of Taormina.

The G7 meeting also agreed to step up efforts to fight terrorism following the suicide bombing in Manchester on Monday which left 22 people dead.

The leaders will discuss political issues as well as foreign policy and security during a luncheon and a work session to follow.

Trump has proposed to amend the Paris agreement, with his administration officials reportedly telling lobbyists and European diplomats that the United States will withdraw from the climate pact unless it secures concessions for the fossil fuel industry.

After the G-7 summit of economically advanced countries, the president will address American troops on an Italian base before departing for home.

State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu says the G7 Summit offers the President an opportunity to project Kenya's point of view on how to foster inclusive growth in the country, region and continent - especially on security matters.

"It's time for him to have an intimate discussion and understand their issues but, more importantly, for them to understand our issues", national economic adviser Gary Cohn told reporters on Air Force One late Thursday.

On Thursday evening in Brussels, Trump made his feelings about free trade clear when he called Germany "bad, very bad" for running a trade surplus with the U.S. "Look at the millions of cars they're selling in the U.S. awful".

Disagreements are most likely to come over climate change and trade, the BBC's correspondent there said.

Group of Seven nations risked unprecedented deadlock on Saturday after US President Donald Trump ditched the charm for snarls, resisting calls for concerted action on hot-button issues such as climate change.

With May and Trump among four new faces in the club of the world's major democracies, the gathering in Italy was billed as a key test of how serious the new United States administration is about implementing its radical policy agenda, particularly on climate change.

A Canadian government official with knowledge of the negotiations said global trade and the Paris agreement on climate change - which Trump could back out of - remain major sticking points that will likely keep talks going through the night.

On Thursday, the Washington Post and NBC News reported that Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner was under scrutiny by the Federal Bureau of Investigation because of his meetings with Russian officials before Trump took office.

Once his first foreign trip draws to a close on Saturday, President Trump will return to the USA where his approval ratings are low and he is coming under increasing pressure over alleged Russian meddling in November's election.

The gruelling week-long trip has temporarily diverted attention from domestic concerns focused on alleged campaign collusion with Russian Federation.

Some of the leaders watch an Italian flying squadron at the summit.

Happy holiday Friday! It's no rest for the wicked as this week we're playing Top Trump Tweets!

Trudeau is expecting to find an ally on free trade, climate change and other so-called progressive issues in Macron, the newly elected French president with whom he had a bilateral meeting Friday.

The group reached agreement on improving cooperation against terrorism in the wake of the bomb attack on a pop concert in Manchester, Britain, ahead of the summit. "We're a trading nation and we're always going to stand up for that", she said.

Climate policy promises to be the real buzzkill at the G-7 party.

The source told BuzzFeed News that the leaders focussed their case above all on the longer term economic gains between a trade-off in adaptation costs and the benefits of de-carbonizing economies.

The G7, urged on by Japan, will also adopt common language against North Korea after a series of missile tests by the nuclear-armed nation.

Abe met Trump privately before the summit with the United States leader bullishly promising the problem "will be solved".

Other reports by iNewsToday