Global disputes likely to thwart unity at G7 summit in France
Leaders of the G7 nations began arriving in France on Saturday for a summit as a U.S.-China row over protectionism highlighted President Emmanuel Macron’s tough task in delivering real results on trade, Iran and climate change, reports Trend citing to Reuters.
The three-day meeting in the Atlantic seaside resort of Biarritz takes place amid sharp differences over a clutch of global issues that risk further dividing a group of countries already struggling to speak with one voice.
Summit host Macron wants the leaders of Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States to focus on the defense of democracy, gender equality, education and climate change, and has invited leaders from Asia, Africa and Latin America to join them for a global push on these issues.
But with the trade war between China and the United States worsening, European governments struggling to defuse tensions between Washington and Tehran and global condemnation growing over illegal fires in the Amazon, his agenda could be eclipsed.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s history of pugnacity at multilateral gatherings, which brought last year’s G7 summit to an acrimonious conclusion, means there is scant hope for substantive agreements.
Macron was exploring holding a joint news conference with Trump at the summit’s close, a French diplomatic source said, but has already decided that, to avoid another failure, there will be no final communique.
“French President Emmanuel Macron... bills the meeting as a chance to relaunch multilateralism, promote democracy and tame globalization to ensure it works for everyone,” Stewart Patrick of the Council on Foreign Relations think tank wrote.
“More likely, the gathering will expose the political, economic and ideological fault lines threatening Western solidarity and international cooperation.”
Trump’s fireworks at the Charlevoix summit in Canada last year prompted foreign policy analysts to dub the Group of Seven nations the G6+1.
U.S. officials said Trump would tout his policies of tax cuts and deregulation and press allies to follow his example to stave off problems with the global economy.
Hours before leaving for Biarritz, Trump reacted angrily to China’s move to impose retaliatory tariffs on more U.S. goods, even saying he was ordering U.S. companies to look at ways to close their operations in China. The president cannot legally compel U.S. firms to abandon China immediately.
Trump also took aim at France’s new tax on big tech companies, threatening to tax French wine “like they’ve never seen before”. His remarks cast doubts over Macron’s chances to secure agreement at the summit on a universal digital tax.
China’s President Xi Jinping is not among the Asian leaders invited to the Biarritz summit.