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President Donald Trump on Saturday refused to endorse a G-7 declaration calling for a reduction of tariffs and other barriers to trade, as he continued to lash out at traditionally close allies for allegedly treating the United States unfairly.
Earlier reports had indicated that the United States had endorsed the G-7 communique, but Trump subsequently posted a message on Twitter slamming Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's press conference held after the summit.
Trump said he had instructed U.S. representatives not to endorse the G-7 communique and his administration was considering imposing tariffs on automobiles.
During his press conference, Trudeau said Trump's move to impose tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum for national security reasons was insulting to Canadians who had stood with the United States in times of war for generations.
"I highlighted that it was not helping in our renegotiation of NAFTA and that it would be with regret, but it would be with absolute certainty and firmness, that we move forward with retaliatory measures," Trudeau said.
The Canadian prime minister flatly rejected a proposal by the White House to insert a sunset clause in a re-negotiated North American Free Trade Agreement.
"We will not, cannot sign a trade deal that expires automatically every five years – that is not a trade deal," Trudeau said. "So that's not on the table."
Trump has repeatedly threatened to pull out of NAFTA if the agreement is not renegotiated in a way that he views as more favorable for U.S. companies and workers.
"Canadians, we're polite, we're reasonable, but we will also not be pushed around," Trudeau said.
There had been widespread speculation that the G-7 nations would not issue a joint communique that included the United States due to deep differences between the Trump administration and close American allies on trade.
Earlier in the day, however, a breakthrough seemed possible as Trump appeared to offer an olive branch when he said there should be "tariff free" trade between the G-7 nations.
He did not elaborate, however, on how or whether the US would reduce barriers. Instead, he focused on the need for other countries to reduce their barriers against the United States, such as Canadian duties on U.S. dairy.
During a press conference, Trump threatened to stop trading with countries that do not reduce barriers to American products.
"We're talking to all countries, and it's going to stop, or we'll stop trading with them. And that's a very profitable answer if we have to do it," Trump said. "We're like the piggy bank that everybody's robbing, and that ends."
At the summit, Trump reportedly showed up late to a breakfast discussion about gender equality and skipped sessions on climate change, clean energy and protecting the oceans.
Trump left the summit early to fly to Singapore, where he is set to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for historic negotiations in which the White House hopes to convince Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons.
After departing, Trump said the United States has "put up with trade abuse for many decades — and that is long enough."
The Trump administration imposed aluminum and steel tariffs on the other G-7 members — the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, Canada and Japan — ratcheting up tensions between the U.S. and its allies in the run-up to the summit.
Tensions threatened to boil over before the summit even started, when French President Emmanuel Macron said the other 6 countries might sign a joint statement without the U.S.
Hours after Macron's statement, Trump lashed out at the French president and Canadian prime minister, accusing them of levying "massive tariffs" and "non-monetary barriers."