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  1. ITV Report

G7 'more a G6 plus one' after Donald Trump introduces steel and aluminium tariffs

Credit: AP

The United States has been singled out by some of its closest allies over the imposition of tariffs that they warn will undermine open trade and weaken confidence in the global economy.

Following a meeting of G7 finance ministers in Canada, France’s Bruno Le Maire said the summit had been "more a G6 plus one than a G7".

The dispute is over President Donald Trump’s new levies on steel and aluminium imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, prompting threats of retaliatory action.

Meanwhile, Beijing has warned Washington that any deals they produce “will not take effect” if President Trump’s threatened tariff hike on Chinese goods goes ahead.

The US has renewed a threat to hike tariffs on $50 billion (£37 billion) of Chinese high-tech goods in response to American complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.

After the G7 summit, Canadian finance minister Bill Morneau issued a summary saying the other six members want Mr Trump to hear their message of “concern and disappointment” over the US trade actions.

Leaders of the group’s member countries meet next week in Quebec and ministers urged the US to abandon the tariffs ahead of the leaders’ summit to prevent deeper divisions.

Mr Le Maire, France’s finance and economy minister, was blunt in his assessment of the Whistler meeting, where ministers confronted US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“It has been a tense and tough G7 — I would say it’s been far more a G6 plus one than a G7,” said Le Maire, who called the tariffs unjustified.

“We regret that our common work together at the level of the G7 has been put at risk by the decisions taken by the American administration on trade and on tariffs."

But Mr Mnuchin dismissed the narrative of "G6 plus one".

"We believe in the G7, it’s an important group,” Mr Mnuchin said.

The US president has said the tariffs are needed to protect US steel and aluminium industries vital to the nation’s security.

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Mr Morneau, who presided over the ministerial meeting in Whistler, has called the tariffs “absurd”, saying Canadian metal sales are no security risk to the US. He warns the measures will destroy jobs on both sides of the border.

Next week's summit will be Mr Trump’s first visit to Canada as president.