TAORMINA, Sicily — Leaders of the G7, the world’s most exclusive geopolitical club, issued their 2017 declaration Saturday, with U.S. President Donald Trump refusing to join his counterparts in pledging commitment to the 195-nation Paris accord on climate change.
The statement also included language on trade, which appeared to be a compromise between the new U.S. administration’s skepticism about some current trade deals and the more pro-free trade views of other G7 members. On Russia, Trump went along with the group, maintaining a hard line on the conflict in Ukraine.
While the declaration included remarkable language, highlighting that the U.S. stood apart, the other allies expressed some relief that Trump had not outright rejected the accord and said they remained hopeful he would come around
“The United States of America is in the process of reviewing its policies on climate change and on the Paris Agreement and thus is not in a position to join the consensus on these topics,” the leaders wrote. “Understanding this process, the Heads of State and of Government of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom and the Presidents of the European Council and of the European Commission reaffirm their strong commitment to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement, as previously stated at the Ise-Shima Summit.”
The declaration did include what appeared to be some softening of resistance by the U.S. on multilateral trade. Earlier this year, the U.S. had blocked traditional language in the G20 declaration about fighting “all forms” of protectionism.
While the “all forms” construction, which appeared in last year’s G7 statement, was not revived, the new communique stated: “We reiterate our commitment to keep our markets open and to fight protectionism, while standing firm against all unfair trade practices.”
The declaration, however, also included new language that acknowledged some drawbacks to trade. “At the same time, we acknowledge that trade has not always worked to the benefit of everyone. For this reason, we commit to adopting appropriate policies so that all firms and citizens can make the most of opportunities offered by the global economy.”
On another crucial topic, the declaration retained language previously adopted by the G7 warning Russia that it could face additional punishment if the situation worsens in Ukraine.
While calling for Russia and Ukraine to work to implement the Minsk 2 peace agreement, the G7 leaders declared, “We also stand ready to take further restrictive measures in order to increase costs on Russia should its actions so require.”