The risks of a trade war were already high. This will not help
.. FOR a moment, the Group of Seven (G7) leaders attending their annual summit, in a mountain village in Quebec, looked like they had managed to paper over their differences with President Donald Trump and present a united front. They found just the right wording to secure American agreement on matters that never used to be in question, such as supporting democracy, abiding by international-trade rules and fighting terrorism.
.. It was unclear whether Mr Trump’s reversal was because of Mr Trudeau’s confirmation that Canada would retaliate against America’s steel and aluminium tariffs (the two leaders had already discussed this). Or was it a rejection of Mr Trump’s claim that a new deal for a North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would have a sunset clause?
.. On trade, at one point it seemed as though Mr Trump was in search of some sort of grand bargain, as he called for the end of all subsidies, tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade. But this was more an indication of how poorly Mr Trump understands the global trading system than a serious summons to the negotiating table.
.. But his combination of bullying rhetoric and aggrieved victimhood is well-known.
.. It is perhaps more surprising that Mr Trump still faces people who think he can be persuaded by facts.
.. At the meeting, Mr Trump’s counterparts brought binders of figures to the session devoted to trade in an attempt to persuade him that his belief that the rest of the world was unfair to America was mistaken. Tellingly, the desk in front of Mr Trump was bare.
He later told reporters the others had been smiling at him as if they could not believe they had got away with using America as a “piggy bank” for so long. “The gig is up,” he said.