Squabbles erupt as G7 leaders open summit in French resort

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at a press conference. Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at a press conference. Reuters

President Trump arrived in France for the annual G7 Summit, with the flagging global economy and ongoing trade war with China framing his visit, and the meeting potentially further exposing deep rifts between the US and other countries over trade and climate change.

Alterman and Heather Conley, the Europe expert at CSIS, both said Macron appeared to be trying to fill the void left by Trump on the world stage, noting the French leader's recent efforts to try to reduce tensions between the USA and Iran.

President Donald Trump may be in France for an global summit, but his mind is on news coverage at home after he r.

French riot police briefly used water cannons and tear gas on Saturday to disperse anti-capitalism protesters in Bayonne, near Biarritz.

Feeding Trump's anxiety, aides say, is his realization that the economy - the one sturdy pillar undergirding his bid for a second term - is undeniably wobbly.

The Saturday-to-Monday gathering in the French beach resort town of Biarritz comes as the global economy shows signs of slowing, in part due to anxiety caused by the trade war.

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It was only Friday when Trump angrily upped the ante in his trade fight with China, promising to increase planned tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods from 10 to 15 per cent in response to Beijing's decision to raise taxes on $75-billion worth of USA imports.

As he arrived in France, Johnson said that global trade, the environment and women's education will be his "three obsessions" over the days of meetings. Formal talks are set to begin Sunday morning.

"So far so good", Trump told reporters as he sat for lunch on a seafront terrace with Macron, saying the two leaders had a special relationship.

Speaking about Mr Trump's aim in calling for economic talks at the G7 summit, an administration official said: "I would anticipate President Trump will be speaking quite frankly about the policies he's seen work in his own economy and really wanting to work with other countries in the G7 to figure out how we can jumpstart growth in economies all around to ensure that there are markets and opportunities for all of our workers and people". It was the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since Johnson took over as prime minister of the United Kingdom in July. He's opened new points of tension with allies on trade, Iran and Russian Federation.

But sitting across from Trump ahead of their unscheduled two-hour lunch, Macron said he hoped to lead Europe toward lowering taxes, in an acknowledgement that fiscal stimulus could blunt a coming recession.

"There won't be a G5+2", one senior G7 diplomat said.

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China often uses public order charges against political targets and has sometimes used the charge of soliciting prostitution. Protesters used an electric saw to slice through the bottom of the lamppost, while others pulled ropes tied around it.

"This is not the way to proceed", he said.

Anti-summit protests have become common, and on Saturday thousands of anti-globalisation activists, Basque separatists and "yellow vest " protesters marched peacefully across France's border with Spain to demand action from the leaders.

European Union leaders piled pressure on Friday on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro over fires raging in the Amazon rainforest.

There is already friction between Trump and the Europeans, Canada and Japan over trade tariffs.

The UK's Johnson has voiced deep concern about the forest blazes, but appeared to disagree with Macron on how to respond.

"The G7 will launch "not just an appeal, but a mobilization of all the powers there, but in partnership with the countries of Amazonia", to fight fires and invest in reforestation", Macron said.

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