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World

Nations Respond After Trump Withdraws Endorsement Of G-7 Communique

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right, let's get the view from Europe now after President Trump scuttled that G-7 summit communique and lashed out at European leaders. As NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Berlin, the European leaders are saying they are not going to be bullied by the White House, and they are doing some lashing out of their own.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: For a short time, it looked as if members of the G-7 had reached a shaky truce in their trade dispute when they released a hard-fought but nevertheless joint communique. That all changed when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters after the G-7 summit about retaliatory tariffs his country will slap on the U.S. next month.

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PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU: I have made it very clear to the president that it is not something we relish doing, but it is something that we absolutely will do because Canadians - we're polite, we're reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.

NELSON: The impending Canadian tariffs, like the expected European Union ones, were hardly a surprise, given they were announced nearly two weeks ago. Nevertheless, after Trudeau's remarks, President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the communique and unleashed a string of tweets attacking the Canadian leader in Europe over trade practices and defense spending. His latest blowup rattled European leaders. French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement that international cooperation could not be dictated by fits of anger and throwaway remarks.

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CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL: (Speaking in German).

NELSON: Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a talk show last night on German public television network ARD, described Trump's withdrawal from the communique via tweet as sobering and a bit depressing, adding, quote, "we won't let ourselves be ripped off again and again."

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MERKEL: (Speaking in German).

NELSON: But fighting alone isn't enough, the chancellor said. She said Europeans have to figure out how to work together more effectively. That often isn't the case, including at the G-7, when the new Italian prime minister broke with his fellow Europeans and sided with Trump's request that Russia rejoin the G-7. The heightening tensions alarmed other German officials, given Trump's threat to go after European car imports. Car manufacturing is a key component of the German economy, accounting for about 800,000 jobs.

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CHRISTIAN LINDNER: (Speaking German).

NELSON: Christian Lindner, who heads the business-friendly Free Democrats in the German parliament, warned that Germans can ill afford to let Trump destroy a partnership and alliance built over many decades. Meanwhile, the World Trade Organization is expected to merge into one case the complaints filed by Canada, the EU and Mexico over the American tariffs on steel and aluminum. The retaliatory tariffs the EU said it will impose on the U.S. starting on July 1 will net about $3.5 billion on such things as bourbon, peanut butter and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR News, Berlin.

(SOUNDBITE OF 9 LAZY 9'S "RUSSIAN SPRING") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.