The most uneasy G7 summit ever kicks off in Quebec
The 44th summit of the Group of Seven (G7) kicked off in La Malbaie, Charlevoix, Canada, on Friday, June 8, amid rising tension between the United States and its allies over tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.
G7 is a rich men's club which has been meeting every year since 1975 over issues pertaining to global economy and security and the ongoing summit is being seen as one of the most heated up among allies that have stood by one another over the years.
US President Trump, who has taken a strong stand on trade vis-à-vis other countries, including Washington's old allies like Europe and Canada in a quest to make his own country "great again", reportedly held a brief discussion with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on issues like trade and North Korea, whose supreme leader Trump will meet in another three days time in Singapore.
The official theme of the Quebec summit includes raising investments and created employments to boost growth and gender equality. But given the prevailing conditions, the dispute between the US and Canada and the European Union on trade tariffs besides the US's withdrawal from the climate and Iran deals looks to dominate the summit and there is very little chance of the members issuing a joint communiqué, something that hasn't happened in the history of G7 ever.
The US's relation with Canada has been particularly hit as the latter too has retaliated with counter tariffs after the former revealed its decision. Besides steel and aluminium, Canada's lumber, dairy and auto industries also face the wrath of Trump's tariff policies.
Trump's remark ahead of the summit that Russia should be allowed back into it was also an irritant for the western states as German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU nations agreed that the time was not yet right for re-admitting Russia into G7. Russia has not featured in G7 summits since 2014 after its annexation of Crimea.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May though did not support Trump's decision on high tariffs on the allies, she backed the latter's idea of leaving the G7 summit early to concentrate on his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Trump was not happy with his itinerary of attending the G7 summit ahead of the Kim summit in Singapore for he felt it was distracting for him and there was even e possibility of sending Vice President Mike Pence to the G7 though that did not happen in the end.