G7 says to fight protectionism, cut barriers after summit

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has closed the G7 summit by stating he "won't be pushed around" by Donald Trump on trade. "The Prime Minister said nothing he hasn't said before - both in public, and in private conversations with the President".

President Donald Trump told foreign leaders at the Group of Seven summit that they must dramatically reduce trade barriers with the United States or they would risk losing access to the world's largest economy, delivering his most defiant trade threat yet to his counterparts from around the globe.

There was little expectation of a major breakthrough at the summit - held in the mountainous Quebec village of La Malbaie - on trade given Mr. Trump's temperament and long-held protectionist ideology, but the President insisted he got along well with Mr. Trudeau and other leaders who stood up to him.

In retrospect, the consensus had appeared shaky from the outset, and even as Trump flew out it was clear that the summit had failed to heal the rift on trade. "I would say the relationship is a 10", he said, referring to leaders from Germany, France, and Canada, respectively. "There was no reason that this should have happened".

On trade, at one point it seemed as though Mr Trump was in search of some sort of grand bargain, as he called for the end of all subsidies, tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade.

The letter comes on the day of the Group of 7 (G-7) summit amid heightened conflict between Trump and other G-7 members over the tariffs and following Trump's suggestion that Russian Federation be reinstated into the group.

As they departed Saturday, it became clear that many are still searching for ways to deal with the unpredictable USA leader.

Leaders from Canada and the United Kingdom rejected Trump's call to bring Russia back, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin would have to make major changes to be welcomed back.

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But Trump's gambit, which his economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters amounted to a "free trade proclamation", called the other leaders' bluff - if they're so opposed to his new tariffs, he suggested, why not eliminate all tariffs?

Trump left the summit early Saturday to head for a meeting in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12.

Copies of the communique stamped with "approuve", or approved in French, were being circulated around the G7 media centre in Quebec City as Trump made his order on Twitter.

Trump's decision not to endorse the G7 communique brought pushback from some in the United States, including Arizona Republican Sen. "That's what I do". And it could even undercut the upcoming North Korea summit - Trump effectively backed out of a deal with allies while traveling to try and reach a deal with a foe. Roughly 28,000 American service members and civilian military personnel are now stationed in South Korea.

Optimistically responding to Trump's suggestion, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is reported to have told him, "We'll take it as a starting point".

The trade spat has dominated the meeting, with Canadian and European leaders threatening retaliatory duties in response to the new USA levies on imported metals. But he warned of severe penalties that for countries that kept current rules in place, arguing they had taken advantage of previous U.S. administrations to rig the global system against USA interests.

Trump - who has a history of hair-trigger responses to slights - landed in Singapore on Sunday for the Tuesday summit meeting with Kim.