President Trump and other world leaders have gathered in France for the annual G7 summit.
The gathering is winding down: President Trump is scheduled to have a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron at 9:30 a.m. ET before his expected departure around 10:30 a.m. ET.
Here’s what you need to know about the summit:
- What is the G7 anyway? The G7 group represents some of the world’s major economies — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. Today is the final day of the group’s summit, hosted this year in France.
- Trump and climate talks: The President was missing from a session covering climate, biodiversity and oceans. White House officials said he had bilateral meetings that ran long. Climate has been a big part of this year’s summit: France’s Macron announced a $20 million emergency fund to help Amazon countries affected by the rainforest fires.
- About the economy and China: After sending confusing trade signals, Trump said Monday that he has received two calls from China saying they’re ready to restart talks. Dow futures — which were down — rose on his comments.
- Iran’s surprise visit: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made an unexpected arrival at the summit at the invitation of France. President Trump said G7 leaders agreed on a statement underscoring their collective view that Iran should not have nuclear weapons.
A White House official says President Trump didn’t attend the climate summit because he “had meetings and bilats with Germany and India. Both went long.”
“We sent staff to that session,” the official added.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, asked why he skipped it, said, told the pool: “The President had scheduled meetings and bilaterals with Germany and India, so a senior member of the Administration attended in his stead.”
Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were seen attending the climate session that Trump skipped.
French President Emmanuel Macron is giving the other G7 leaders a special gift to remember their gathering in Biarritz: a watch made from recycled fishing nets.
The limited edition timepiece was made by French company Awake. Apart from being made using recycled plastic, it is powered by solar energy to avoid using batteries.
According to Awake, Macron will gift these watches to all world leaders attending the G7 summit. The watch is meant to symbolize the need for international cooperation on sustainability and ocean conservation.
The leaders of the world’s biggest economies discussed biodiversity, climate and oceans at one of the sessions on Monday.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a guest at the session. He said he “highlighted India’s large scale efforts” on climate change and the environment.
President Donald Trump was notably missing from the meeting.
Asked about it during one of his news conferences, Trump appeared to suggest the climate talks were yet to happen.
French President Emmanuel Macron later said Trump only missed the climate session because it clashed with other bilateral meetings he had on Monday.
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a $20 million emergency fund to help Amazon countries affected by the rainforest fires.
Speaking after a G7 climate session Monday, Macron said the fires are “two times the surface area of France.”
He said the wildfires are damaging the “most important lungs of the planet” and France will provide military support.
The president admitted his country’s interest in the Amazon is partly because it has territory in the Amazon.
Macron angered Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro last week by calling the wildfires blazing in the Amazon rainforest an “international crisis” that should be on the agenda at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Bolsonaro said the idea of G7 discussing the issue was “reminiscent of colonial mindset inappropriate in the 21st century.”
Apart from the short term emergency funding, Macron also announced a longer term common initiative for the Amazon that will be discussed at the United Nations General Assembly.
President Donald Trump told reporters earlier: “China called, last night, our top trade people, and said, ‘Let’s get back to the table.'” Now Trump and his aides are declining to clarify the substance of those calls.
Asked in a meeting with India’s prime minister about the calls that he described, Trump cited Chinese vice premier Liu He’s comments earlier calling for “calm.”
Pressed on the calls, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said there has been ‘communication’ but wouldn’t say between whom. Trump added the communication was “at the highest level” and quickly pivoted to touting the US economy.
Asked again directly, “Was there not actually a call last night?” Mnuchin said only: “There were discussions that went back and forth and let’s just leave it at that.”
The Chinese foreign ministry didn’t mention the calls in a briefing Monday.
President Trump said again Monday he’s available to mediate the dispute between India and Pakistan over the region of Kashmir, even as India’s leader sitting alongside him said his help wasn’t needed.
“The prime minister really feels that he has it under control,” Trump said as India’s Narendra Modi looked on. “I’m sure they will be able to do something very good.”
Modi, asked if he was interested in Trump’s help, said the issue was between India and Pakistan.
“These issues are bilateral,” he said, adding: “We can find solutions to discussions.”
Despite those comments, Trump insisted he was still available for mediation.
“I’m here,” he said. “I have a very good relationship with both gentlemen.”
President Trump has denied that he raised the prospect of disrupting hurricanes using nuclear weapons.
A report in Axios said Trump suggested the idea in hurricane briefings over the first two years of his presidency.
In a tweet on Monday, Trump dismissed the report as “fake news.”
The story by Axios that President Trump wanted to blow up large hurricanes with nuclear weapons prior to reaching shore is ridiculous. I never said this. Just more FAKE NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2019
France’s new digital tax is a hot topic at the G7 summit.
Starting January 2020, France will start charging a 3% tax on revenue earned by large internet companies in the country. American companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google will be impacted.
The Trump administration has staunchly opposed the move, and the president himself has even threatened to place tariffs on French wines and other French products in retaliation for the new levy.
On Monday, Trump said the US and France were getting closer to striking a deal on the issue.
The press department of the French finance ministry confirmed Monday that US and French negotiators have reached a compromise agreement, which will be submitted to Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron later on Monday.
The world’s richest countries are currently working on an international digital tax proposal through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). However, some countries, including France and the UK, have argued the OECD plan is taking too long to draw up and announced they would impose their own interim tax until the global scheme is put in place.
The French finance ministry confirmed reports that the compromise would consist of France repaying to companies the difference between the French tax and the planned mechanism being drawn up by the OECD.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov on Monday said President Donald Trump’s desire to reinstate Russia in the G7 would depend on consensus within the group.
“Of course, returning to the Seven only at the invitation of one of the countries is impossible, because all decisions there are made by consensus,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.
Peskov earlier reiterated Russian President Vladimir Putin’s position that Russia was not opposed to rejoining the group, but considered formats that include countries such as China and India to be more constructive.
President Trump confirmed reports that he is “possibly” looking at hosting the next G7 summit at his Trump National Doral Golf Resort in Miami.
Trump discussed the pros of hosting the G7 at his Miami-Dade resort, including its close proximity to the airport and infrastructure that he said could easily accommodate the large presence of global leaders, delegations and press.
Trump said his club could “handle whatever happens” and repeated several times that it is only a five-minute drive to the airport. He added that it was still being decided.
The Washington Post first reported in June that Trump was looking at hosting the next G7 at his Doral club.
President Donald Trump reiterated on Monday he would like to bring Russia back into the G7, but admitted that other leaders of the world’s biggest economies disagreed with him.
Trump said he told his counterparts it would be advantageous to readmit Russia to the group. “There are people that agree with me 100%, but there are some that don’t,” Trump said. “We did have a discussion about Russia,” he added.
Sitting next to him, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear her priority is to resolve the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Ukraine has been locked in a proxy war with Russia for five years, and the conflict has claimed around 13,000 lives in the country’s east. Western powers imposed sanctions on Russia after it annexed Crimea in 2014.
“I want the talks now between the Ukrainian President and the Russian President… I think we have to try and bring this forward in the next few months,” Merkel said when asked about Russia.
“It’s a big problem and we have enough problems in the world as it is, I think we ought to make progress on this one,” she added.
President Donald Trump said the next G7 summit, which is scheduled to take place in the United States in 2020, is likely going to take place in Miami.
He said it will be “right next” to the Miami airport, avoiding the need to “drive for hours and hours and hours.”
“We are thinking about it, they like the location, and it’s Miami, it’s a great area,” Trump said.
President Donald Trump is meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday morning.
Speaking to journalists at the summit, the two said they discussed the United States’ trade war with China.
Merkel said she was hoping that the US and China can strike a deal that would ease the tensions between the world’s two biggest economies.
“Of course, we are all linked together, we have all interest to find a solution and would be very glad if an agreement could be found between China and the US.”
“She’s a brilliant woman, she understands,” Trump said.
President Donald Trump said he has received positive signals from China on a trade deal.
Speaking in France on Monday morning, Trump said “China called last night” to relay a desire to return to negotiations. He described the calls as “productive.”
“Let’s get back to the table,” Trump said, describing the message from Beijing.
“They want to make a deal. They want calm. That’s a great thing, frankly,” Trump said alongside Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
“This is a very positive development for the world,” Trump said, adding later: “I think we’re going to make a deal.”
President Donald Trump didn’t make it to the start of a G7 session on climate on Monday, according to reporters in the room.
As the meeting got underway, the seat reserved for Trump was empty. Other G7 leaders — including Boris Johnson, Shinzo Abe, Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau, Angela Merkel — were there.
Macron began the session jokingly chiding Johnson to come to “order.” He then presented the other leaders with wrist watches made from recycled plastics.
In the lead-up to the G7, Trump’s aides said he wasn’t interested in the climate portions of the summit, believing them a waste of time compared to discussion of the economy.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Trump joined the session late, since cameras were dismissed from the room after a few minutes.
A meeting between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the European Council President Donald Tusk on the summit’s sidelines did not bring any major surprise on Brexit.
According to a statement from the Downing Street, Johnson repeated, once again, that “the UK will be leaving the EU on 31 October whatever the circumstances.”
He also said the withdrawal deal agreed by his predecessor Theresa May was “anti-democratic.”
Ahead of the meeting, Tusk said the EU was “willing to listen to ideas that are operational, realistic, and acceptable to all Member States including Ireland, if and when the UK government is ready to put them on the table.”
Tomorrow I meet PM @BorisJohnson. I hope that he will not like to go down in history as “Mr. No Deal”. The EU is ready to listen to operational, realistic ideas acceptable to all Member States including Ireland, if and when the UK government is ready to put them on the table.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) August 24, 2019
Holger Schmieding, the chief economist at Berenberg Bank, said his main takeaway from the summit so far is the lack of “big negative headlines.”
“Unlike last time in Canada when the G7 meeting ended with a bust-up, the Biarritz summit has not yet made big negative headlines,” Schmieding said in a note on Monday morning.
“In their deliberations so far, G7 leaders even agreed some useful initiatives to combat deforestation in the Amazon and to support a French-German initiative to stabilize Africa’s Sahel region.
If we get through the last day of the G7 without any major accident, the summit may even have served the original purpose of such G7 meetings, namely for leaders of some key countries to exchange views as a potential basis for co-operating better — or less badly — in the future.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been working the floor at his first-ever G7 summit, hoping to set the stage for future trade deals with the world’s biggest economies.
The United Kingdom is set to leave the European Union at the end of October. Unless a major breakthrough is reached in the next few weeks, the country could end up crashing out of the world’s biggest trading bloc without a deal. A messy Brexit would hurt the British (and, to a lesser extent, the European) economy.
Johnson is hoping that the void left by the EU could be filled by other countries. He met the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison early on Monday.
According to a statement from Downing Street, the two leaders discussed “enhanced and deep trading relationship.”
Johnson has also met US President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The final day of the summit is shaping up to be busy for all those involved.
President Trump started the day with the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Trump is also expected to meet the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and appear at a joint press conference with the host, French President Emmanuel Macron.
The leaders of the world’s biggest economies are also set to take part in sessions covering climate, biodiversity and digital transformation, before attending the closing talks in the afternoon.
French President Emmanuel Macron staged a major surprise at the G7 meeting, unexpectedly inviting the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the gathering.
Zarif has met with his French counterpart at the sidelines of the summit, but didn’t sit down with any US officials.
Macron has been trying hard to salvage the Iran nuclear deal after President Trump withdrew the US from the agreement last year and reimposed sanctions on the Middle East nation.
The deal with Iran was negotiated by Trump’s predecessor in the White House, Barack Obama, and with the UK, Germany, France, China and Russia in 2015.
It imposed strict limits on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanction relief. After Trump reimposed the sanctions, Tehran announced last month that it was no longer complying with the deal. It said it started increasing its uranium purity threshold beyond the limits set by the agreement.
Tehran has also increased pressure on the remaining signatories of the deal by attacking and seizing tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, a key shipping route.
US officials told CNN they weren’t given significant advance warning that Zarif would be in Biarritz for talks.
Read a full analysis here.
G7 leaders have agreed to help Amazon countries “as quickly as possible,” the French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday.
The Amazon rainforest, the world’s largest, has been burning at the highest rate since 2013.
“While respecting national sovereignty, our objective must be reforestation,” Macron said.
“This morning Colombia called out to the international community, and we must be present, and we will finalize this. Our teams are in touch with all the countries in the Amazon, for us to finalize concrete engagements both technical and financial,” the French president added.
During the summit on Sunday, President Donald Trump seemed to indicate he regretted his trade duel with China in comments that rocketed around the world amid concern about its economic impact.
“I have second thoughts about everything,” he said, leaving critics to hope the president was trying to make himself political room to deescalate the showdown.
But Trump, who hates to look like he’s being backed into a corner or is climbing down, then sent out his aides to say that on the contrary, his only regret was not being tougher on China.
Read a full analysis here.
By Ivana Kottasová, CNN
Sources from: CNN
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