Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves as he arrives at the airport in Biarritz, France Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Trudeau is joining U.S. President Donald Trump, host French President Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of Britain, Germany, Japan and Italy for the annual G-7 summit in the elegant resort town of Biarritz. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves as he arrives at the airport in Biarritz, France Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Trudeau is joining U.S. President Donald Trump, host French President Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of Britain, Germany, Japan and Italy for the annual G-7 summit in the elegant resort town of Biarritz. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

European Council President Donald Tusk is urging G7 leaders to find common ground, especially on issues of security and trade, warning that trade wars ”will lead to recession” — one day after a Twitter tirade against China by the U.S. president that sent investors running for cover.

The spectre of Donald Trump’s scorched-earth style loomed large Saturday as Tusk acknowledged the mounting tension among G7 nations in recent years as they seek common ground at a time when greater co-operation was never more important.

“This may be the last moment to restore our political community,” Tusk told a news conference in the seaside resort of Biarritz, France, where the leaders of the seven leading world economies have gathered for several days of meetings and talks.

“Trade wars will lead to recession, while trade deals will boost the economy — not to mention the fact that trade wars among G7 members will lead to eroding the already weakened trust among us.”

ALSO READ: France takes torch passed by Canada, will focus on gender equality at G7 summit

It was only Friday when Trump angrily upped the ante in his trade fight with China, promising to increase planned tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods from 10 to 15 per cent in response to Beijing’s decision to raise taxes on $75-billion worth of U.S. imports. He also “hereby ordered” American companies to find alternatives to doing business there.

“I have no choice. We’re not going to lose close to a trillion dollars a year to China,” he later said on a day when the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 673 points lower. “Tariffs are working out very well for us. People don’t understand that yet.”

It’s in spite of that superheated atmosphere that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is hoping to build consensus on the virtues of free trade and strengthen Canada’s trade ties with its G7 partners.

Trudeau met Saturday with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for discussions that were expected to focus on how Canada’s existing trade deal with the European Union would function in a post-Brexit Britain. It was the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since Johnson took over as prime minister of the United Kingdom in July.

Trudeau was also scheduled to meet later in the day with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Those talks were aimed at giving Trudeau the opportunity to highlight strong Japanese-Canadian ties forged from the successful launch of the rebooted Trans-Pacific Partnership late last year, as well as a chance to talk security issues amid rising tensions between Tokyo and South Korea.

But while Trudeau tries to cement plans for a smooth transition in the U.K. of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) — which set rules for trade between Canada and the European Union — opposition to CETA in France among farmers and environmentalists has continued.

Isabelle Hudon, Canada’s ambassador to France, acknowledged there is a “steep curve in France around trade issues,” but says she has been encouraged by an uptick in the number of French businesses using and benefiting from CETA.

“In Canada we are way more comfortable doing trade, for our companies to do trade, internationally and vice-versa,” Hudon said.

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has played down any expectations of a unified front from the leaders — a legacy of last year’s acrimonious ending to the gathering in Quebec.

Instead of a final communique to wrap the summit, Macron is aiming to publish outcome documents for following agreements reached between individual countries on different issues, including free trade, gender equity and the environment — an attempt to avoid the fate of the 2018 summit in Charlevoix, Que., when Trump lashed out at Trudeau from the confines of Air Force One and scratched his name from the communique.

A final communique is not the most important thing for the G7 summit, Hudon argued. Getting the world’s Group of Seven leaders together to speak candidly about issues of joint interest — even if building consensus has become elusive, is more important, Hudon said.

“There’s a shift in what the G7 is becoming. That being said, that’s not a reason to stop the conversations.”

Tusk said the summit “will be a difficult test of unity and solidarity of the free world and its leaders” but urged G7 leaders to find unity not only on trade, but also on climate action, defending the rule of law and human rights and combating the threat of nuclear proliferation — rather than focusing on “senseless disputes among each other.”

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced the province surpasses one million COVID-19 tests Friday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up by 100 in last 24 hours

Most central Alberta communities under province’s enhanced measures list

Millet Fire Department 2019. Photo/ Pipestone Flyer.
Millet Fire Department hosts “Light it Up for Liam” event

The Millet Fire Department is lighting up the fire hall this season with holiday spirit.

file photo
Wetaskiwin, Maskwacis RCMP search warrant seize drugs; numerous charges laid

39-year-old Wetaskiwin man, Wayne Wiebe charged with 21 criminal code offences.

.
Alberta confirmed more than 1,500 COVID-19 cases Sunday

Central zone active cases slightly up

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

Russ and Luanne Carl are sharing about their experiences of fighting COVID-19 this past summer.
photo submitted
Stettler couple opens up about COVID-19 battle

Luanne and Russ Carl urge others to bolster personal safety measures amidst ongoing pandemic

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Claudio Mastronardi, Toronto branch manager at Carmichael Engineering, is photographed at the company’s offices in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. As indoor air quality becomes a major concern in places of business, HVAC companies are struggling to keep up with demand for high quality filtration systems. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Business is booming for HVAC companies as commercial buildings see pandemic upgrades

‘The demand right now is very high. People are putting their health and safety ahead of cost’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Long-awaited federal rent subsidy program for businesses hurt by COVID-19 opens today

The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest

Traffic crosses over the Lions Gate Bridge from North Vancouver into Vancouver on July 2, 2015. Motorists would have to pay a fee to drive into downtown Vancouver under the city's plan to slow climate change but one expert warns it could pose financial hardship for some. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver’s climate plan ‘first 10 steps in a journey of 10,000,’ says expert

Almost 40 per cent of Vancouver’s carbon pollution comes from vehicles

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
After COVID-related transplant delays, 16-year-old N.S. girl gets lung transplant

‘This is the difficult time now of seeing Tahlia in ICU hooked up to 15 IVs and sedated’

Most Read