US President Donald Trump is not backing down from the tough line he has taken on trade, the White House’s top economic adviser said on Wednesday, setting the stage for a showdown with top allies at this week’s G7 summit in Canada.
The meeting in Quebec, will be the first chance G7 leaders have had to confront Trump in person since US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the EU were imposed last week. That move unleashed fury in the Group of Seven industrialised nations and prompted quick retaliation from Canada and Mexico and a promise from the EU to do so as well, unnerving investors who fear a trade war that could derail the global economy.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the summit host, and British Prime Minister Theresa May, who will also attend, are among those to sharply criticise the US tariffs as unjustified and punitive. “There are disagreements. He’s sticking to his guns. And he’s going to talk to them,” Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic adviser, told reporters in Washington.
Trump, who has vowed to protect US industry and workers from what he describes as unfair international competition as part of an “America First” agenda, is due to hold bilateral meetings with Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron during the summit, Kudlow said. A French presidency official said that while G7 members would raise their unhappiness over the tariffs, they would not deliver an ultimatum that he drop them.