Unofficial memorabilia, velcro tags made by Flabslab, are arranged for a photograph ahead of the June 12 summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore. (Photographer: Nicky Loh/Bloomberg)

Trump to Leave G-7 Summit Early and Head to Meeting With Kim

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump will leave early from the Group of Seven summit in Quebec, where he’ll face backlash over his trade policies, and head straight to Singapore to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

G-7 leaders are meeting Friday and Saturday in what’s shaping up to be the most divisive gathering of leaders from major industrialized nations in years. America’s closest allies are frustrated by Trump’s imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs last week, as well as his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iranian nuclear accord and the Paris climate agreement.

"Looking forward to straightening out unfair Trade Deals with the G-7 countries," Trump said Friday in a Twitter posting. "If it doesn’t happen, we come out even better!"

Trump will leave the gathering at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday and put Everett Eissenstat, his deputy assistant for international economic affairs, in charge for the remaining sessions, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Thursday.

The early exit will give Trump about 24 hours to meet with allies and try to defuse the escalating trade dispute. French President Emmanuel Macron has warned he won’t sign the traditional concluding joint statement unless there’s progress on tariffs and other contentious issues. The European Union has said that it’s maintaining low expectations for the outcome.

Tensions With Trudeau

The agenda after Trump’s departure on Saturday includes sessions on climate change and clean energy and oceans; meetings with leaders from countries outside the G-7, and the closing press conference by the summit’s host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The tensions have been particularly evident between and Trudeau and Trump. Trudeau has been among the most vocal critics of the steel tariffs, describing the move as lacking common sense, in sharp contrast from the conciliatory tone he had taken since Trump’s election.

Trump on Thursday accused Trudeau of “being so indignant” given that Canada protects its dairy sector with high tariffs. When asked for a response to Trump’s remarks, a senior Canadian official said that the nations can manage their differences through discussions. Trudeau is scheduled to meet with Trump at 5 p.m. on Friday, the official said at a press briefing in Quebec.

Trump is set to hold the first meeting between a sitting U.S. president and North Korean leader on June 12.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.