The U.S. economy is doing great all by itself this week. President Trump seems to want to find out how well it will do by itself in all the weeks to come.
U.S. equity markets gained for a second day on Monday, powered by optimism on the U.S. economy. The excellent May jobs report on Friday pushed aside for the moment concern that the U.S. is starting a trade war with Mexico, Canada and the European Union over tariffs for imported steel and aluminum, and amid signs that a U.S.-China trade pact may be a non-starter.
The world's two biggest economies were unable to reach any deals by the time trade talks ended on Sunday in Beijing as Chinese negotiators said they wouldn't commit to buying more American goods without a Trump administration agreement not to slap more tariffs on Chinese exports.
"If the United States introduces trade measures, including an increase of tariffs, all the economic and trade outcomes negotiated by the two parties will not take effect," China said in a statement distributed by the state-controlled news media.
Up in Canada, where the leaders of the G-7 countries - the seven biggest industrialized democracies, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States - are scheduled to meet in Ottawa this weekend, officials are perplexed and upset by the stated reason for the steel and aluminum tariffs: national security.
"What you are saying to us and to all of your NATO allies is that we somehow represent a national security threat to the United States," said Chrystia Freeland, Canada's minister of foreign affairs, in an interview with CNN. "And I would just say to all of Canada's American friends - and there are so many - seriously? Do you really believe that Canada, that your NATO allies represent a national security threat to you?"
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the U.S. decision "frankly insulting and unacceptable" in TV interviews over the weekend. Freeland recalled in her interview the trade policies of the 1920s that led to the Great Depression when she said "we know that beggar-thy-neighbor policies don't work."
The U.S. President responded with indifference, tweeting that "China already charges a tax of 16% on soybeans. Canada has all sorts of trade barriers on our Agricultural products. Not acceptable!"
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Canada isn't the only ally who's upset. The relationship Trump has with French President Emmanuel Macron is on the rocks after Macron and Trump reportedly had a "terrible" phone call during which Macron criticized U.S. policies. Earlier, Macron had issued a statement saying the U.S. tariff decision is "not only illegal, it is a mistake on many points. It is a mistake because it responds to a worldwide unbalance that exists in the worst ways through fragmentations and economic nationalism."
So, as the President is fond of saying, we'll have to see what happens. Here's one thing that seems like a reasonable bet: he will skip the G-7 in Ottawa saying he has to prepare for his summit on June 12 in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. That's one week from tomorrow.
Considering the President's tendencies when it comes to facing hostile crowds, the possibility that he will skip it has to be considered. In Canada, it looks like Trump will be facing the rest of the G-7 alone, the same way he is positioning the nation of which he is the leader. Even Melania isn't going.
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