Trump, World Leaders Head to G20 Summit Under N Korea Shadow

Trump, World Leaders Head to G20 Summit Under N Korea Shadow

The EU is the world's second largest steel producer after China. It is unclear whether his message reached U.S. President Donald Trump.

For the U.S., the singular focus on North Korea is not only naive and ineffectual, but also masks other consequential issues in the relationship that need to be addressed directly and candidly.

The investigation is peculiar in that the top providers of steel to the USA are allies, led by Canada, both the U.S.'s top importer and exporter of steel. Remedies taken under the national-security exception would make it hard for other countries to successfully bring a complaint to the World Trade Organization. Germany also has a large steel industry, and German officials have been particularly concerned about what a unilateral move to impose restrictions on steel imports to the USA might mean. Trump did, however, win a concession in the final summit communique on the need to promote what he calls "fair" trade.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been clearer than most about his distaste for Trump's policies.

However, the other G-20 leaders, while taking note of the United States decision to withdraw from the Paris accord, agreed that the climate deal was "irreversible". A self-imposted Department of Commerce deadline came and went this past Friday with no announcement of the steel investigation's conclusion.

Moreover, trade diplomats fear USA security-based tariffs on steel would widen cracks in the global trading order, after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates cited national security at the WTO last week to justify their economic boycott of Qatar. Germany also has a large steel industry and officials there have been particularly concerned about what a unilateral move to impose restrictions on steel imports to the United States might mean. In 2015, China produced 10 times as much crude steel as the United States.

Trump took a combative posture with China ahead of the meeting, ripping the country for its ties to North Korea at a time when dictator Kim Jong Un is developing long-range missiles and threatening USA allies. And applying trade barriers to those other countries makes no sense, in national security terms, because a lot of them are at worst not hostile to the United States and in many cases are close US allies. He suggested putting on Chinese imports 45% tariff and said he would announce on his first day in the office that China was a currency manipulator, and he said proposing taxing imports from Mexico that he would rip up the trade deals and referred this as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.




But while concessions made at Mar-a-Lago to open Chinese market access for USA beef, biotechnology applications, and financial services will benefit American businesses, more significant Chinese structural reforms have run into much greater difficulty.

G-20 meetings, which are held once a year in a rotation of countries, typically end with a joint statement from every nation about a range of issues that can include economic policy, worldwide assistance and security.

- President Trump left Wednesday morning for Poland, where he will stop for a brief visit before heading to Germany for the much-anticipated G20 summit.

A number of trade experts said it remains unclear whether Trump is simply threatening tariffs as a way to lure other countries to offer him concessions, or if he will follow through on new restrictions.

An assertive US president willing to tear up existing deals.

Mr. Trump's negotiators asked to include a line on the US helping other countries "access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently", the European Union official said.

On climate, too, the United States - just a year ago a leading voice in favor of global action to reduce carbon emissions - is on its own path. Underwhelming results at the end of the 100 days could lead to disappointment that cuts against the two leaders' constructive tone.

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