How Trump administration positions put America in conflict with G20 nations
Nick Kirmse, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, July 7, 2017 1:51PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 7, 2017 1:52PM EDT
Graphic by Nick Kirmse / CTVNews.ca
With the world’s leaders meeting Friday and Saturday at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, President Donald Trump could find himself at odds once again with his international counterparts.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the G20 Chairperson for 2017, released her agenda for the summit in December of 2016. She stressed a focus on topics such as climate change, free trade, mass migration, terrorism, and more – issues on which the U.S. stands more or less alone on the world stage.
With the summit shaping up to be a showdown between Trump and Merkel’s vastly different viewpoints, here is a look at some of the issues that will be discussed at the conference, as well as how Trump’s positions on them have brought him into conflict with G20 leaders in the past.
G20 Leaders will likely try to get Trump to make a statement on the U.S.’s intentions for climate change.
Since coming to office, Trump’s cabinet has announced plans to slash funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, while also relaxing laws designed to reduce pollution from gas, oil, and coal companies.
But what has drawn the most ire from other leaders was Trump’s decision to step away from the Paris climate agreement earlier this year in June, claiming that the 2015 pact signed by 194 nations was a bad deal for America.
The act of pulling American support for the agreement made the U.S. one of only three countries not party to the agreement, alongside Syria and Nicaragua – the latter of which only did not sign because they felt the terms of the agreement did not do enough to combat global warming.
While Trump has said that he is open to renegotiating the agreement to find more agreeable terms for American involvement, last week Merkel declared that "the Paris agreement is irreversible and it is not negotiable."
Trump made numerous campaign promises to get tough on trade, putting “America First” on that front.
While the White House hasn’t followed through with most of the promises yet, it could lead to some contentious discussions during the summit.
Shortly after taking office, Trump signed an executive order which removed the U.S.from the Trans-Pacific Partnership – a free-trade agreement between 12 nations designed to reduce dependence on Chinese trade.
In spite of their withdrawal, Canada and the other 10 member nations have agreed to move forward and re-evaluate the deal, trying to rebuild the terms for a partnership without American involvment.
Trump has also made it clear that he plans to renegotiate NAFTA for more favourable terms, changing course on his plan to kill the deal entirely.
“I received calls from the President of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Canada asking to renegotiate NAFTA rather than terminate. I agreed..” he wrote in a tweet from April 27. He added: “...subject to the fact that if we do not reach a fair deal for all, we will then terminate NAFTA. Relationships are good-deal very possible!”
There’s also a growing concern that Trump will slap tariffs on foreign steel shipments, to stop countries from selling steel in the U.S. at artificially low prices.
The tariffs, if enacted, would affect Canada, Mexico, Brazil the EU, Japan, and China – and experts fear it could spark protectionist responses around the world.
Immigration and Travel
Trump’s efforts to block people from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. finally came into effect last week, drawing the ire of many of the G20 leaders.
The ban, which targets travelers from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen, allows for citizens who have visas to enter the United States, but limits new visas to people who can prove a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."
The U.S. has also seen a decrease in the number of refugees admitted into the country by nearly half under Trump when compared to the last months of Obama’s presidency, according to recent studies from the Department of Homeland Security.
Trump has reaffirmed his longstanding plan to build a wall along the Mexican border after his meeting this morning with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. He still claims that Mexico will pay for the construction, despite top Mexican officials saying they will not.