Though climate change got little love from the United States at the G7 summit, President Trump backed a pledge to fight protectionism—despite his stance on trade thus far largely resembling protectionism.
Reports peg the summit, which was held in Taormina, Italy on Friday and Saturday, as frustrating at best and tense at worst as Trump was “pitted” against leaders from Japan, Germany, the U.K., Italy, France and Canada on certain issues, according to Reuters.
Trump touted the meeting as “tremendously productive” and said that he strengthened ties with some of the U.S. longest standing partners.
On Twitter Saturday, Trump said: “Just left the #G7Summit. Had great meetings on everything, especially on trade…”
When talk came to trade, things appeared positive when Trump agreed to language for the G7 communiqué that promises to fight protectionism and to improve how the WTO works.
“Leaders reiterated their commitment to keep markets open and to fight protectionism, while standing firm against all unfair trade practices. They committed to adopting appropriate policies so that all firms and citizens can make the most of opportunities offered by the global economy,” briefs about the summit with regard to trade said. “The G7 called for the removal of all trade-distorting practices so as to foster a truly level playing field. Leaders also stressed the importance of the rules-based multilateral trading system, and the committed to working together to improve the functioning of the WTO.”
But shortly after the G7 Summit, Trump threatened Germany over trade after ruffling Angela Merkel’s feathers at the summit over climate change. (The German chancellor called the conversation “very dissatisfying” and said there was no telling whether the U.S. would remain in the Paris Agreement on climate change or not).
Back on Twitter Tuesday, Trump said: “We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change.”
Since then, it seems relations between the U.S. and Germany could be taking a turn for the strained.
Merkel said speaking to a crowd in southern Germany on Sunday that, “The times when we could completely count on others, they are over to an extent. I have experienced this in the last few days. And that is why I can only say that we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands…” The chancellor added that Europe will move forward in friendship with the United States and other nations, but that it must fight for its future on its own.