G7 summit dogged by divisions between Trump and allies

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Talks at the G7 summit in Canada have failed to resolve deep differences between US President Donald Trump and leaders of major industrial nations.

The divisions were laid bare on Friday, notably over trade.

Allies of the US are furious over Mr Trump’s recent decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, raising fears of a global trade war.

It is unclear whether a communique agreed by all will be released when the meeting concludes later on Saturday.

The two-day summit is being held in the town of La Malbaie, in Quebec province.

Mr Trump is due to leave early on Saturday to head to Singapore for a landmark meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Divisions wider than trade

By the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent, James Robbins, Quebec

This summit started very badly, and it could end without the usual communique agreed by all.

Divisions between Mr Trump and the other six leaders go way beyond trade – they include climate change, relations with Iran and the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is one of those arguing it might be better to set out those differences clearly rather than give a false impression of unity. It’s more honest, she said, than pretending everything’s OK.

Others still believe some sort of consensus can be found, and Mr Trump says he’s hopeful of progress. But there’s no doubt about Mr Trump’s isolation.

He dislikes negotiating with groups, and he will leave well before the end of this G7 summit: next stop Singapore, to face Kim Jong-un, and seek the sort of one-to-one deal he much prefers.

Why are there divisions?

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On 1 June, the US imposed a 25% tariff for steel and 10% for aluminum on imports from the EU, Canada, and Mexico. Mr Trump said the move would protect domestic producers that were vital to US security.

The EU then announced tariffs on US goods ranging from Harley-Davidson motorcycles to bourbon. Canada and Mexico are also planning retaliatory moves.

On Friday Canada’s foreign minister called the tariffs “illegal “. European Council President Donald Tusk said they threatened the “rules-based international order”.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said she wants the EU to act with restraint.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he believed all sides were willing to reach agreement.

What is the G7?

It is an annual summit bringing together Canada, the US, the UK, France, Italy, Japan and Germany, which represent more than 60% of global net worth between them.

Economics tops the agenda, although the meetings now always branch off to cover major global issues.

Russia was suspended from group in 2014 because of its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. On Friday, Mr Trump made a surprise call for Moscow to be readmitted, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel said other members were against the idea.

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Image caption China’s President Xi Jinping invited Vladimir Putin to a friendly ice hockey match on Friday

Meanwhile a meeting described as the alternative G7 is being held in China, with President Xi Jinping hosting counterparts from Russia, Iran, India, Pakistan, and four former Soviet central Asian republics.

The summit of the Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a regional security bloc led by China and Russia, is taking place in the eastern city of Qingdao.

What else is being discussed at the G7?

The five themes for this year’s summit are:

  • Inclusive economic growth
  • Gender equality and women’s empowerment
  • World security
  • Jobs of the future
  • Climate change and oceans

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According to the leaders’ programme, Mr Trump will miss the talks on climate change, the environment and probably gender equality on Saturday.

The US president was the odd man out on climate change during the G7 in Italy last year, later announcing his intention to withdraw from the landmark Paris agreement.

Iran is also a sticking point. Mr Trump recently ditched the 2015 agreement aimed ar curbing Iran’s nuclear programme. This angered the other signatories who have since sought to shore it up.

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