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Front row, L-R: Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, Guinea’s President Alpha Conde, US President Donald Trump, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi pose for a family photo  with other participants of the G7 summit, on May 27 in Taormina, Sicily.
Front row, L-R: Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, Guinea’s President Alpha Conde, US President Donald Trump, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi pose for a family photo  with other participants of the G7 summit, on May 27 in Taormina, Sicily.

G7 Makes Progress on Trade Talks as US Softens Stance

Diplomats conceded that as the United States was unlikely to budge, the final communique could be watered down significantly compared with the one unveiled at the summit in Japan

G7 Makes Progress on Trade Talks as US Softens Stance

The Group of Seven nations have made progress in negotiations on trade, notably on the issue of multilateralism, a French presidential source said Saturday, suggesting there has been some softening in the United States’ protectionist stance.
The leaders have been wrangling on the wording of a final communiqué since Friday with international trade and climate change the main stumbling blocks, news outlets reported.
 “The discussions on trade are making substantial progress, notably on the issue of multilateralism,” a French presidential source said at the Italian town of Taormina.
Since taking office, US President Donald Trump, has derided some of the same international partnerships, including the World Trade Organization, raising the prospect that the Republican’s “America First” agenda might well mean an America more willing to act alone.
A senior White House official on Friday said Trump had told the leaders of Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Canada and Britain that the United States would treat other countries in the same way it was treated, Reuters said.
Diplomats conceded that as the United States was unlikely to budge, the final communiqué could be watered down significantly compared with the one unveiled at the summit in Japan.
While Canada, Italy, Germany, France, Britain and Japan confirmed their commitment to the Paris agreement, Trump–who promised during the campaign to abandon the accord–had not yet made up his mind, said Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.
Gentiloni said they had made progress on the issue of foreign trade, but added that the wording of the final communiqué still needed to be worked out. This means on Saturday the group will sign off on a significantly “pared-down” statement at the close of their meeting in Sicily–an indication of deep divisions on climate change, trade and various other issues between Trump and the rest of the developed world.
Leaders have also been at odds over the sharing of intelligence information, particularly in the aftermath of the Manchester attack that led to British concerns about US leaks.
But some of that has been undone by now-viral images of the billionaire tycoon shoving his way past other leaders at a North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Brussels on Thursday, and by his reported comments on Germany.
Trump has refused to commit the United States to extending sanctions imposed on Russian Federation over its 2014 annexation of Crimea. Trump will be urged not to abandon the 2015 Paris agreement to tackle global warming; and he will resist moves to limit protectionism in global trade.
According to German media reports, he also condemned Germany for “very bad” trade policies in meetings with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk, signaling he would take steps to limit the sales of German cars in the US.

Most Challenging Summit
“No doubt, this will be the most challenging G7 summit in years”, he said. This year’s G7 summit is a largely different group compared to 2016.
The G7 nations met with African heads of state and government on Saturday, discussing issues like migration, development, among others. Leaders of Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Niger and Tunisia were invited to join the talks, along with representatives from six African organizations, including the African Union, as the G7 wrapped up its two-day annual summit, Xinhua said.
The African leaders were welcomed with a ceremony at Taormina's ancient Greek theater early morning, before meeting with their counterparts from the US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. At the end of Friday’s discussions, Gentiloni said six countries confirmed “our commitment and our determination” to the Paris agreement, while the US will have “a period of reflection” on the issue. The president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, a senior White House adviser, has advocated for remaining in.
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, said one of the important issues faced by the summit this year is the empowering of women and girls around the world.

 

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