President Trump used a press conference at the G7 summit in Canada to double down on his tough stance on trade, telling reporters that the United States is like “the piggy bank that everybody is robbing” but promising that that is ending under his leadership.
Trump made the remarks before he departed Charlevoix, Canada, after meeting with world leaders. Trump had entered the summit amid a spat with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron over U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum
But Trump said that talks at the summit had been “extremely productive” about trade among other issues. He said that he didn’t blame them for what he saw as an unbalanced trade relationship which hurts the U.S.
“People can’t charge us 270 percent and we charge them nothing, that doesn’t work anymore,” he said.
He said he believes other countries are now more committed to a fairer trade relationship.
“I don’t blame them, I blame our leaders,” he said. “In fact, I congratulate leaders of other leaders for so crazily being able to make those trade deals that were so good for their country and bad for the United States.”
But he promised an end to the situation, and even warned of penalties for countries that do not remove trade barriers. He also said that the North American Free Trade Agreement could either be renegotiated, split up into separate trade deals, or the U.S. could pull out entirely.
“We are like the piggy bank that everybody is robbing,” he said. “And that ends.”
He warned that the U.S. will take any action necessary to defend Americans from unfair trade practices.
Despite the tension between Trump, Europe and Canada, the president has emphasized what he has described as strong relations. During a Friday meeting with Trudeau, who Trump has had an often uneasy relationship, he joked that his Canadian counterpart had “agreed to cut all tariffs and trade barriers.”
With Macron, on the back of a cozy meeting at the White House last month, Trump said they had a “good relationship” although he admitted they were having some issues on trade.
Macron and Trudeau had criticized Trump’s tariffs on imports of aluminum and steel into the country, with Macron suggesting that the U.S. could be excluded from a joint statement.
But on Saturday, the president warned other countries against ramping up measures in response to U.S. tariffs.
"If they retaliate, they’re making a mistake," Trump said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.