Trump arrives in France for G-7 summit after escalating trade war with China

Trump arrives in France for G-7 summit

Last Updated Aug 24, 2019 8:47 AM EDT

Biarritz, France — President Trump arrived in France on Saturday morning for the start of the G-7 summit. Mr. Trump may get an icy reception when he meets with the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.

China is not part of the G-7, but it is expected to dominate the conversation this year after the world's two largest economies dramatically escalated their trade war on Friday. 

"I think our tariffs are very good for us. We're taking in tens of billions of dollars. China's paying for it," Mr. Trump said before he departed for France.

China on Friday unveiled retaliatory tariffs on roughly $75 billion worth of U.S. goods. Mr. Trump responded by announcing he would increase existing tariffs. Earlier in the day, he ordered U.S. companies to find alternatives to manufacturing goods in China, encouraging moving production to the U.S.  

The National Retail Federation released a statement saying, "It is unrealistic for American retailers to move out of the world's second largest economy, as 95% of the world's consumers live outside our borders."

The president fired back. "I have the absolute right to do that, we'll see how that goes, but I have the absolute right."

Why Trump may be in a "very sour mood" ahead of G-7 talks

Mr. Trump has repeatedly tried to deflect blame for any U.S. economic turmoil to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. "No, I'm not happy with Jay Powell. I don't think he's doing a good job at all. I don't think he's much of a chess player," the president said.

In a speech Friday, Powell highlighted the Fed's limited power, saying, "Setting trade policy is the business of Congress and the administration, not that of the Fed." 

Mr. Trump responded on Twitter: "My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?"

Last year, the G-7 summit became six against one as captured in this photo. Mr. Trump refused to sign the traditional agreement at the end of the summit and left early amid disputes over trade.

The leaders will not sign a joint agreement this year, but they are set to discuss the global economy, Iran, and whether Russia should rejoin the group after it was kicked out in 2014 over the annexation of Crimea. 

Mr. Trump had lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday and held an impromptu pool spray. Speaking to reporters, Mr. Trump highlighted the "special relationship" between the U.S. and France. "We'll accomplish a lot this weekend and I look forward to it," Mr. Trump said.

Grace Segers contributed to this report.