G7 leaders and guests pose for a family picture with the Biarritz lighthouse in the background on the second day of the annual G7 summit: (First row) L-R Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, African Union Chair Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, US President Donald Trump, France’s President Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, Senegal’s President Macky Sall, Burkina Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera, Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, European Council President Donald Tusk; (Second row) Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat (2nd,L), Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (4th,L), United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (6th,R), India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (5th,R), Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (3rd,R), OECD Secretary-General Jose Angel Gurria (2nd,R), African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina (R) on August 25, 2019 in Biarritz, France. (Andrew Parsons/Getty Images)
BY IVAN PENTCHOUKOV
Leaders of the Group of Seven issued a declaration on Aug. 26 committing to fair trade, a term which President Donald Trump has frequently employed in his campaign to rebalance America’s global trade relationships.
French President Emmanuel Macron released the declaration at the end of a three-day G-7 summit in Biarritz, France. The statement emphasized “great unity” among the leaders and expressed their commitment to “open and fair global trade and the stability of the global economy.”
Macron issued the declaration hours after Trump announced that China is eager to make a deal after the White House said the day before that the president regretted not raising tariffs on China higher. Trump has accused China of employing unfair trade practices and imposed several waves of tariffs to force the communist regime to agree to a fair deal.
“Sadly, past Administrations have allowed China to get so far ahead of Fair and Balanced Trade that it has become a great burden to the American Taxpayer,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Aug. 23. “As President, I can no longer allow this to happen! In the spirit of achieving Fair Trade, we must Balance this very unfair Trading Relationship.”
The United States and China are the world’s two largest economies. The trade spat between the two countries has cooled global markets while the U.S. economy continues to soar.
On Aug. 25, Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced their agreement, in principle, on a U.S.-Japan trade deal. The measure is expected have a positive impact on roughly half of American agricultural and ranch exports to Japan. The deal will also impact industrial tariffs and digital trade, according to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer
In the meantime, the United States is negotiating a trade deal with the European Union and is close to ratifying the replacement for the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Trump noted during a press conference alongside Prime Minister Modi of India on Aug. 26.
“When we get these deals done, our country will be transformed,” Trump said. “I mean, it will be monetarily transformed. It’s such a difference between the horrible, horrible one-sided deals that we had in the past. And, frankly, past administrations should be ashamed of themselves for allowing that.”
The joint statement from the G7 leaders reinforces Trump’s position as he takes on China with tit-for-tat tariff measures impacting hundreds of billions of dollars in trade. Trump has said he is open to open, tariff-free trade, but that he has to use tariffs to secure fair deals for the United States.
While trade issues appeared to dominate the summit, the G-7 leaders also discussed admitting Russia back to the group and ways to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Trump believes Russian President Vladimir Putin should be part of the next summit, which Trump wants to hold in Doral, Florida. Russia was ejected from the G-8 in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
Macron invited the Iranian foreign minister to Biarritz in a bid for a breakthrough in the stalemate with the United States. Trump did not meet the foreign minister but said he would be open to meeting with Iran. The Iranian foreign minister met with some of the G-7 leaders. German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the meeting as a “big step forward.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.