Trump to stick with hard line on trade as G7 showdown looms

To give Trump the full benefit of the doubt on this, it would require him to know enough about history to know the pretext of the burning of the White House, but not the actual action itself.

Critics of Trump's trade policies fret that the president is undermining the very system on which America and the global economy rely.

"Simply put, Trump no longer sees the necessity of keeping allies happy at the expense of the American people, so he's trying to solve the free-rider problem", Schweller, a political science professor at Ohio State University, said in an email.

In April, Canada tried to address what Trump said were concerns about Chinese steel and aluminum being dumped into Canada and then being shipped into the United States.

Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow attended a meeting on Tuesday between Trump and Republican lawmakers, including Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn and Senataor Mike Crapo, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

Meanwhile, separate sources said China has offered to boost purchases of American goods by about US$25 billion this year to fulfil President Donald Trump's desire to shrink the USA trade deficit with the world's second-largest economy.

Trump mentioned the idea on Friday following a meeting with an official from South Korea.

The meeting on Friday and Saturday in Charlevoix, Quebec, will be the first chance G7 leaders have had to confront Trump in person since USA tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union were imposed last week.

The Commerce Department said foreign production of steel and aluminum was driving down prices and hurting US producers, creating a "national security threat".

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Amid heightened concern over the prospect of a global trade war, Mexican officials announced retaliatory duties on U.S. steel products.

The announcement comes as a senior Trump administration official said that the president wants to end the three-party talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, aiming instead to deal separately with Canada and Mexico to restructure the trade accord. Canada announced its own list last week, and the European Union said it would do so too later in June.

Mexico is a huge importer of American pork.

"We are bound by the national interest here, more than anything else", he said.

"The United States now has the fastest growing economy in the world, according to the OECD or at least the fastest growing economy among the industrialized nations", said Kudlow, who worked as Reagan's budget deputy between 1981 and 1985. In February, talking about "countries that take advantage of the United States", he said, "Some of them are our so-called allies, but they're not allies on trade".

"Some said it couldn't be done".

"Tariffs are a wake-up call", Kudlow said in a First on FOX Business interview on Wednesday.

"And that's what the G7 is very much for". When then-prime minister Stephen Harper in 2011 said US approval of the Keystone XL pipeline - which then-president Barack Obama was refusing to do - was a "no-brainer", the White House considered the remark beyond the pale.

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