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Trump vents anger on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, European Union and Canada's Trudeau

14 June 2018

The alliance is firmly ensconced in a network of common interests, values, and history - it would take much more than trade disputes and a bad meeting to scuttle it.

Nevertheless, Trump appears determined to up-end the trade relationship, insisting that the U.S. is the loser, and has demanded that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) be renegotiated or abandoned.

The prime minister's silence on Monday came in sharp contrast to a roar of disapproval among Canadian politicians, who banded together across party lines to denounce Trump's attack and praise the bilateral and trading relationship between the two neighbours.

And in Ottawa on Monday, International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne urged lawmakers to speed ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that might offset losses in USA trade by binding Canada closer to Asia, Australia and Latin America.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland responded to the White House assault by saying ad hominem attacks were not helpful, that Canada would retaliate to U.S. tariffs in a measured and reciprocal way and that Canada would always be willing to talk.

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"So long as the U.S. government persists on its present course where the instinct is to undo anything that is already there", said Sebastian Mallaby, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, in a phone call with reporters ahead of the weekend summit.

Because the U.S. has vowed to ignore the rules of the global trading system that it helped put into place, including the World Trade Organization, trade deals are stalled for the foreseeable future.

Trudeau had been saying the same thing for several weeks, but Trump apparently found it reprehensible to repeat the message on the eve of his historic summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

Trump also said he might double down on import tariffs by hitting the sensitive auto industry, throwing the G7's efforts to show a united front into disarray.

During an appearance on "Newsmax Now", Reagan addressed Navarro's comment in which he said, "There's a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door", referencing Trudeau. And chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow accused Trudeau of betrayal and stabbing Trump in the back.

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We have very little use for Trudeau, that avatar of chic progressivism, or for Trump's other foil, Angela Merkel, the very embodiment of the short-sighted and high-handed European establishment.

While foreign policy issues such as North Korea do not usually have much bearing on the polls, Mr Trump's outburst against Nato allies, the European Union and Canada appeared aimed at striking a chord with voters who support his America First agenda. The tariffs, which also take effect July 1, will last until the USA ends its trade action.

When Trump left Quebec, it was thought that a compromise had been reached, despite the tension and the determination of European leaders Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany to push back against the USA president's protectionist policies. Thomas Wright, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told reporters that for Trump's first 500 days, "these countries generally were bent over backwards not to criticize President Trump".

As for the prospect of new trade deals touted by the Trump administration, Alden says they are a pipe dream. For instance, Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs are expected to cause a drag on United States economic growth and result in a net loss of American jobs.

Speaking to Fox News, Kudlow said: "He is very seriously contemplating kind of a shift in the NAFTA negotiations". In the end, that language stayed in and it was only on climate change that no consensus was reached.

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Trump vents anger on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, European Union and Canada's Trudeau