QUEBEC CITY—President Donald Trump told the Group of Seven (G7) leaders that there should be no tariffs and barriers among the G7 countries, during the summit in La Malbaie, Quebec.
“You go tariff-free, you go barrier-free, you go subsidy-free. That’s the way you learn at the Wharton School of Finance” Trump told reporters on Saturday. “I did suggest it, and people were—I guess, they got to go back to the drawing board and check it out.”
President Donald Trump left the G7 talks early, flying directly to Singapore to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
He held a press conference in La Malbaie before his departure, addressing a wide range of topics including the trade tensions, Russia, North Korea, and Iran.
Trump said the leaders tackled a variety of issues facing the countries but trade topped the list. The talks on trade were not contentious, according to Trump. The language, however, was strong, he added.
“The United States has been taken advantage of for decades and decades, and we can’t do that anymore,” Trump said.
“We’re like the piggy bank that everybody’s robbing,” Trump complained. “And I don’t blame other leaders for that. I blame our past leaders.”
The United States would not back off from its tough stance in negotiations with trading partners, Trump said.
The trade imbalance would change, he added. “They have no choice. If it’s not going to change we’re not going to trade with them.”
Trump had bilateral meetings on Friday with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Before heading to the summit, he had engaged in a bitter back-and-forth with both leaders over Twitter, criticizing Canada and the EU for their unfair trade practices.
In a trade war, Trump told reporters that the United States has nothing to lose.
“We win that war a thousand times out of a thousand,” he said.
Should the NAFTA talks fail, Trump repeated that the United States would consider separate bilateral trade deals with Canada and Mexico.
Trump earlier called on the G7 leaders to reinstate Russia as a member. He reiterated his position, saying it would be an asset to have Russia back in the group.
“We’re looking for peace in the world. We’re not looking to play games,” Trump said.
Responding to Trump’s proposal, Italy’s new Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte tweeted on Friday: “I agree with President @realDonaldTrump: Russia should re-enter the G8. It’s in everyone’s interests.”
Russia was suspended from what was then the G8 after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Trump accused President Obama of letting Russia take over Crimea.
“Crimea was let go during the Obama administration. And you know Obama can say all he wants, but he allowed Russia to take Crimea,” he said.
With respect to the North Korea summit, Trump said that it would be a “one time shot” for Kim Jong-un but he is hopeful that the meeting would work out.
“He won’t have that opportunity again,” Trump said. “He’s going to do something very positive for his people, for himself, his family.
“Within the first minute, I’ll know,” Trump said in response to a question on how long it would take him to understand the Korean leader’s sincerity.
The G7 leaders also discussed the issue of uncontrolled migration and the threat it poses to national security.
“We are committed to addressing the migration challenge by helping migrants to remain and prosper in their own home countries,” Trump said.
During the summit, other security threats were addressed including the threat of Iran.
“The G7 nations remain committed to controlling Iran’s nuclear ambitions with or without them. Those ambitions are going to be controlled along with efforts to combat terrorism and extremism and those who spread this deadly ideology,” Trump said.