The G7 summit brings together several of the world’s most industrialized world leaders to discuss economic growth, gender equality and other issues. The 2018 G7 summit, formally known as the Group of Seven summit, is held in Quebec, Canada. President Donald Trump will be meeting with the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Japan.
President Trump will be expecting tough talks with world leaders at the summit, following several issues that have arisen over the last few months with the Trump Administration and the United State’s allies. Relations are tense after the president put new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from the European Union, Mexico, and Canada, which has in turn forced said nations to threaten new tariffs of their own on U.S. goods.
Among the trade tariff dispute, Trump has also raised controversy with several world leaders attending the summit after pulling out of the Iranian nuclear deal, as well as issues involving the Nato agreement and climate change.
Here’s what you need to know about the G7 2018 Summit:
1. President Trump Started a Dispute Over Trade Tariff’s the Night Before the G7 Summit
When President Trump was campaigning, he vowed to put “America first” and has really attempted to carry through on that promise, even at the expense of pushing away some of America’s staunchest allies.
G7 finance ministers met ahead of the summit and described the group as “G6 plus one,” with the U.S. in the rare role of an outlier, according to CBS News.
The night before the summit, Trump discussed little about his goals, but had messages for two of the world leaders he was about to meet with. He tweeted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “is being so indignant” and slammed both Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron for their tariffs on the U.S.
Macron and Trudeau said they would not back down to Trump, who claims his administration’s recently imposed tariffs will help keep the U.S. safe.
“It is laughable”, Prime Minister Trudeau said, “To say that Canada [or] France represent a threat to America’s national security.”
2. Trump Caused More Controversy After Pulling Out of the Iran Nuclear Deal, with Three of the G7 Countries Expressing “Regret” at Trump’s Decision
Apart from this trade tariff controversy, Trump has also pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal, allegedly threatening foreign companies that still want to do business there. Trump announced in May he would pull the U.S. out of the deal, which was reached between Iran and the U.S., U.K., Russia, France, China and Germany in 2015.
The pact “sought to limit and prevent further Iranian progress towards building nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions,” according to Global News.
Al Jazeera has explained, “Under the deal signed in Vienna with six world powers – the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union – Iran scaled back its uranium enrichment programme and promised not to pursue nuclear weapons. In exchange, international sanctions were lifted, allowing it to sell its oil and gas worldwide. …The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly confirmed that Tehran has been meeting its nuclear commitments fully. …Thomas Countryman, former US assistant secretary of state who helped negotiate the deal, said withdrawing from the agreement would further thrust the Middle East into the path of instability.”
Trump declared the deal “disastrous” and argued that it fails to do anything to address the destabilizing influence Iran wields in the region and stop the development of its ballistic missile program, Global News reports.
By pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, Trump put more strain on already-tense relationships with America’s allies, including three G7 countries – France, Germany and the United Kingdom – who have all expressed their “regret” that Trump has pulled out of the agreement.
Trump also withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement a year ago, causing a flurry of controversy, as America is the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, right behind China. Only two other countries have rejected the nonbinding agreement – Syria and Nicaragua.
3. Both Trump & Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte Want to Bring Russia Back to the G7 Summit
The G7 summit used to be called the G8, when Russia was still involved in the meeting. However, Russia was suspended from the former G8 convention after its annexation of Crimea, essentially removing Russia from any involvement in the future summits.
Trump says that Russia should be reinstated. Speaking before the G7 summit in Canada, the US president said: “It may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run. And in the G7, which used to be the G8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in. Because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”
Canada flatly rejected Trump’s suggestion, according to CBC News. Canada pushed for Russia’s removal from the convention in 2014 and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada’s position has not changed on the matter, regardless of Trump’s thoughts on the matter.
“Russia was invited to be part of this club and I think that was a very wise initiation, and an invitation full of goodwill,” she told reporters at the summit. “Russia, however, made clear that it had no interest in behaving according to the rules of Western democracies.”
However, President Trump isn’t alone in his desire to bring Russia back into the fold. Italy’s new Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte allegedly backed Trump’s call for Russia to be included once more into Group of Seven meetings, according to Reuters.
“I agree with President (Trump). Russia should be re-admitted into the G8. It is in the interests of everyone,” Conte said in a tweet from Canada where he is due to make his international debut as Italian leader at a summit of world power leaders.
4. President Trump Will Be Leaving the Summit Early to Attend a Meeting with North Korean Leader Kim Jon-Un
President Trump will be leaving the summit early to attend a different, highly-anticipated summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“President Trump will depart the G7 Summit at Charlevoix at 10:30 a.m. Saturday,” read a statement from White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. “The President will travel directly to Singapore from Canada in anticipation of his upcoming meeting with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un Tuesday.”
Everett Eissenstat, deputy assistant to the president for International Economic Affairs, will remain at the G7 sessions in the president’s place, according to the Washington Examiner.
President Trump will be missing talks about climate change and clean energy, which will take place shortly after he departs for Singapore. According to Business Green, Trump angered his peers at the summit by absenting himself from discussions on one of the G7’s key strategic priorities.
“The G7 has repeatedly used recent Summits to stress its support for the Paris Agreement on climate change, call for a phasing out of ineffective fossil fuel subsidies, and promote the roll out of clean energy technologies,” Business Green reports. “G7 states, barring the US, are now keen to help lay the groundwork for a successful UN climate summit in Poland in December, which is being billed as the most important round of climate talks since 2015’s Paris Summit.”
5. The Joint Communique May Not Be Signed by All Seven Leaders This Year
The G7 summit usually concludes with all seven leaders signing a joint communique, but with President Trump’s absence, there is a chance that not all leaders will be signing this year.
A French official told Bloomberg that French President Emmanuel Macron wants to make progress with President Trump on smoothing tensions over trade, the US’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, and climate policy — and if that doesn’t happen, France may refuse to sign the communique, according to Vox.
Macron also spoke to reporters, setting the current diplomatic tone: “When you’re saying that President Trump doesn’t really care, maybe you’re right, but no one lives forever.”
Because of the many issues facing the summit due to Trump’s actions and comments, some are referring to the 2018 summit as “G6 plus one,” according to CBS.