QUEBEC CITY – 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.
But there were numerous signs here that leaders of other countries stood their ground, having stiffened after months of attacks and insults. Each country now faces crucial decisions about how to proceed. If they don’t back down and Trump does try to stop – or at least slow – the flow of trade, it could impact the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars in goods, potentially impacting millions of jobs in the U.S. and around the world.
Trump, in a news conference before leaving for Singapore, described private conversations he held over two days with the leaders of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada. He said he pushed them to consider removing every single tariff or trade barrier on American goods, and in return he would do the same for products from their countries. But if steps aren’t taken, he said, the penalties would be severe.