Trump, Trudeau tension over trade, tariffs at G7 meeting in Canada

Andrew Harrer  Bloomberg via Getty Images

Andrew Harrer Bloomberg via Getty Images

Trump responded by saying: "Didn't you guys burn down the White House?".

Trudeau heaped scorn on Donald Trump's national security justification for the new metal tariffs.

British troops burned down the White House in 1814 during the War of 1812, in retaliation for an American attack on York, Ont., a British colony at the time.

"We will do what is necessary to protect the United States, its businesses and its workforce", he added.

The Trump administration has threatened to impose sanctions against European companies that continue to do business with Tehran, an effort the U.S. has said it will resist.

The unelected European Commission also launched a legal challenge against the US tariffs at the World Trade Organization on Friday last week.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron say they intend to bluntly tell Donald Trump at the Group of Seven summit on Friday that USA trade tariffs on steel and aluminum will hurt American workers and must be reversed. But U.S. shares rose on Wednesday.

Both Trudeau and Macron had tried to persuade Trump not to impose the tariffs. They said was an essential forum for finding common ground and resolving differences. His advisers have said he is trying to use the threat of tariffs as leverage to force other countries to lower barriers in a way that would allow more USA imports.

Non-US G7 members say they will be firm as they confront Mr Trump but do not want a rupture that could cause a major trade war.

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The other 6 members of the G7 are holding out hope they can find common ground with Trump, but are prepared to stand up to United States protectionism.

Kudlow rejected criticism of Trump and declined to describe the dispute as a "trade war".

"This is unlikely to deter President Trump given the United States' widening $570 billion trade deficit, particularly if he feels cornered", said Olivier Desbarres of economic strategy consultancy 4X Global Research. "It will start first of all to hurt USA workers".

Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland questioned the Trump administration's move on CNN. Beyond condemning the president's erratic and counterproductive actions, they could pass legislation to reverse the imposition of tariffs.

It was the understanding of Canadians officials at the time that this would satisfy the Trump administration and allow for Canada to receive a permanent exemption from tariffs.

Now, the G7 summit has been transformed into an exercise in pure survival for the prime minister: prevent U.S. President Donald Trump from taking a wrecking ball to this exclusive club of the world's leading democracies.

Trump and his senior advisers have already discussed the idea of refusing to sign a joint statement, known as a communique.

Despite the lobbying and pleas, Trump has pressed ahead with tariffs as well as pulling out of the Paris climate accord.

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