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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 June 13 - 19  > Trump’s trade policy causes confusion at G7 summit
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2018 June 13 - 19 [ECONOMY]

Trump’s trade policy causes confusion at G7 summit

June 15, 2018

Akahata editorial (excerpt)

There is a photo that depicts the outcome of this year’s Group of Seven summit meeting held in Canada before the historic face-to-face talks between the U.S. and North Korean leaders. In the photo, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with a stern expression on her face, is leaning across the table toward U.S. President Donald Trump who looks displeased and Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is standing with his arms folded. The photo illustrates the confrontation that took place over trade issues at the G7 summit meeting. The seven leaders at one point agreed on a joint statement acknowledging the importance of free and fair trade, but Trump left the meeting before the official closing and then tweeted that he instructed his representatives to not endorse the statement. The joint statement has been shelved.

The leaders of the major economic powers have annually held a meeting to discuss economic and political issues since 1975 when the first summit was held to tackle economic crisis.

However, the G7 nations’ dominance in the world economy has decreased as new economic powers and developing countries have become more and more influential. In the international political arena in recent years, the United Nations meetings and Group of 20 meetings often take center stage over the G7 meetings as was the case in the 2008 economic crisis triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

The latest G7 summit was effectively paralyzed due to the refusal to sign the joint statement by Trump, who clings to his “America First” policy. This indicates that gone are the days when a handful of superpowers dictate policy prescriptions to the world.

With the confrontation between the U.S. and European nations deepening over the U.S. trade barriers on steel and other products before the G7 summit, it was rumored that the leaders would fail to adopt a joint statement. However, Abe proposed a compromise in line with Trump’s position and Trump at one point agreed with the joint statement. Despite all these developments, Trump retracted his agreement in the end. He delivered the fatal blow to the framework of the G7 which has already lost its ability to function.

Concern is growing that as long as the Trump administration’s acts cause confusion and disruptions in the world economy and the Abe government continues to follow the administration's lead, Japan would be forced to shoulder heavier burdens. Japan’s diplomacy must depart from its present subservience to the U.S. and instead protect Japan's sovereignty.
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