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Live Coverage of One-Page Declaration to Be Released Following G7; President Trump Thanks Macron for Genial G7 Atmosphere; President Macron Argues for Flexibility to Enable New China-U.S. Trade Deal. Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired August 26, 2019 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:30:00] SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Italy pushed back very strongly against him.
So the narrative that I think emerges is really one of U.S. isolation rather than U.S. leadership in a way that -- Trump has never been comfortable in this forum. I think he recognized that that's part of the story of these meetings and he doesn't want it. So it'll be very interesting to see, at this press conference, what he has to tell us about that.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: And Italy is a country where there's been substantial reporting about Russian interference in the political parties there, the election.
Nic Robertson, on the issue of the trade war, which is front and center, not just in U.S. stock markets but in the global economy, as adding to the global slowdown, have European leaders there tried to ease the president away from that strategy? Or have they given up on that, given it's a -- clearly a priority for this president?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I think they will have voiced their concerns, and they'll have voiced them, perhaps in the manner, as I mentioned, Boris Johnson feigned (ph) sheep-like notes, is how he described it. Voiced it carefully and cautiously.
But you know, what emerges here is a vacuum of leadership. And that's what we've seen President Macron here, fill that vacuum in part by tackling the other big issue, which was the security problem caused by tempering tensions with Iran. He's doing his best to head that off.
On the global trade spat with China, there's very little that the Europeans and the other leaders here can do to get in between President Trump and China. And it's not clear, even, if the president will listen to their words because we know that his message to them has been, "You're going to have to go through some short-term pain to get to the long-term gain."
I've said this before. The leaders here also recognize the voting public often don't -- are not prepared to go along with even short- term pain (ph). You can lose your leadership in elections over -- you know, over some perceived short-term gain. The public doesn't understand the long-term gain to come. So I don't think that the E.U. -- I don't think that the other leaders
here have a lot of leverage with President Trump on this particular issue. He's set his course and he's going to run with that course because what matters to him -- and this, again, goes to the America First, the isolationism -- what matters to him -- and this is what the leaders here understand -- is his -- his domestic political standing, his re-election campaign. That's something everyone here understands.
SCIUTTO: And perhaps U.S. adversaries as well.
Susan Glasser, we're told that it's just minutes away, that the president and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, will walk to that podium there. But as we wait for that, what should be the first question to this president as he leaves this third G7 summit, for him?
GLASSER: Well, I think it's -- it's inevitable that he will be asked, this morning, about China. And for us to understand his very contradictory statements of recent days including today, essentially saying, once again, he seems to have changed his mind. He claims to have heard from China and reopened talks on a new and more favorable basis --
SCIUTTO: Susan, sorry to interrupt --
GLASSER: -- the Chinese are behind that --
SCIUTTO: -- sorry to interrupt but we see the president -- President Trump, President Emmanuel Macron of France, they're prepared to speak to reporters. Let's listen in.
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): Mr. President, Madame First Lady, ladies and gentlemen -- ladies and gentlemen, following this G7 meeting that we have just held, and we've been discussing for two days now, and I'm going to report back to you.
But first of all, I'd like to thank President Trump and all the heads of state and government present here, for the extremely productive work and the very productive discussions that we've had since Saturday evening together. There was a lot of nervousness at the outset, a lot of expectations, a lot of tensions. And we heard about a lot of conflicts.
And I can say that -- but what we were really keen on was to convey positive and joint message following our discussions, discussions on several topics.
We haven't negotiated a very long text, as promised. And you (ph) will get just a one-page declaration. Then there'll be a lot of different annexes to it. But it's just one page, one page that covers some of the key items that -- that were addressed.
Now, we have decided to hold this joint conference. I'm going to give the floor to President Trump. And of course, President Trump and the first lady will then proceed with their own press conference to the American press, where other discussions will take place.
[10:35:08] But I just wanted to sum up what the different items on which we have agreed, and the topics on which we have made headway: biodiversity, digital economy, amongst others.
So we wanted to hold this joint conference together because next year, it is the United States of America that will host the G7 Summit. And we are going to pass the baton on to President Trump. That is why we are here together.
And I just wanted to say that for the last two days, we have worked a lot together on several common points. Well, we have a lot of things in common. But one thing we have in common with President Trump is they (ph) don't like to waste our time. And we like to achieve concrete results, and to provide momentum to the work.
And as soon as President Trump arrived, with the one-to-one lunch that we had together, and I think that was a most productive and interesting conversations that we've had together. And from that point onward, we set the pace and kept the ball rolling to be as efficient as possible until the very end.
There are a few things that are expected from both our countries. As far as Iran is concerned, President Trump and myself have had discussions in the last few weeks and particularly the last couple of days.
And we agreed that Iran needs to comply with its nuclear obligations and have responsible behavior in the gulf and work with us. Now, there are two very clear things that matter to us. Iran should never have the nuclear weapon. And its situation should not threaten the stability of the region.
France has taken a lot of different initiatives. And I've always informed President Trump on them, to be able to get the technical means to move forward because the decisions that the U.S. has taken in the last few months have put a lot of pressure -- and have put us in a situation where it is indeed necessary to improve the security situation of the region.
So we coordinated our efforts and we reached the decision to bring together the foreign ministers -- foreign minister of Iran to -- had a meeting with the French foreign minister. And a road map has sort of been set, but nothing is absolutely set in stone and we will have to move ahead, together, to find an outcome.
This morning, President Rouhani said that he was prepared to meet any political leader who -- in the interest of his country. And that's what I told Minister Zarif, this is what I mentioned to President Rouhani on the phone as well, that if he agreed to a meeting with President Trump, that my conviction was that an agreement can be met.
We know the terms. We know the objectives. But we have to just now sit around the table and make that happen. So I hope that in the next few weeks, based on our discussions, we will be able to achieve the meeting that we just mentioned between President Rouhani and President Trump.
Myself and the partners who have a role to play in nuclear negotiations will also be fully involved in these negotiations. And I think that this meeting is very important. And in the last few days, have clarified the situation.
A lot of messages have been conveyed, a lot of work has been done with our -- between our ministers. I would like to thank our ministers, who have been totally involved in these discussions, and have set the stage for these discussions and for an agreement. Of course, I want to be very cautious and very modest. But I think that this is going to lead to putting an end to escalation and reaching a suitable solution to this.
So the discussions that we had on Saturday afternoon and Saturday dinner, has just -- have been very fruitful and our purpose is to ensure the stability of the region. The idea is to make sure that Iran doesn't get the nuclear weapon, and have more visibility in the long term.
As far as trade is concerned, we've also shared a lot of analysis and a lot of observations. Later on, I'll go into the details of that. But I think we can say that our discussions have clarified what is legitimate and what the United States feels is an unfair situation.
We have international rules that govern international trade. And in this one-page document, we said that it is very good to have a single organization that governs international trade. But so far, this collective body has not been very efficient in raising trade barriers. It has not been efficient enough in solving problems when they occurred. It has not been efficient enough in protecting the intellectual property of our industries.
[10:40:22] Discussions are under way currently, in particular between President Trump and President Xi. And we have seen, even in just the recent -- very recent past, that an agreement can be reached. So we want to reaffirm our desire to change the rules that govern international trade, and revamp them so that no one is dealt with unfairly, so that our workers are protected and so that the situation of the past is put to an end. And this is something that being (ph) able to work on together.
Now, there was a lot of nervousness because of misunderstanding, but cause there's (ph) some were (ph) very powerful economic players. But if (ph) said, "But what about this digital tax that France has imposed?" Well, we have reached a very good agreement. And once again, to the solid work that has been done upstream by our ministers have -- has really helped us to make progress.
In our economies, we have very unfair situations where some players don't pay taxes. So there is unfair competition with other players. And it is these large multinational players that don't pay taxes, which leads to significant instability on the economic front. Is this fair? It is not fair.
Of course we're pushing for international rules on this, even. And at the European level, to 10 countries and France, Italy, even the U.K. is getting ready to do so, it (ph) has decided to do something at the national level. But it is not against any company in particular, it's just to solve the problem.
In fact, a lot of French companies will also be impacted by this tax. And some of you have probably heard me say, a few months ago, that this is only to find a solution to -- and the aim, ultimately, is to find an agreement internationally, by 2020, to revamp international tax systems within the framework of the OECD, to combat harmful trade practices, which are harmful to the U.S. economy.
And through this digital tax -- on this digital tax, we've worked a lot bilaterally as well. And we have reached an agreement to overcome the hurdles. So we're going to work on a bilateral and multilateral basis, to find a solution together. And the day international tax exists on digital services, France will do away with its national tax. And everything that has already been paid under the French tax system will be reimbursed.
So the idea is that we need to find a joint agreement in order to address joint international problems. And the situation right now is very negative, and the international tax system definitely needs to be modernized. And I think we will work together in a spirit of cooperation on this.
As to Libya, Syria, North Korea, Hong Kong, you will see in the one- page document, that we have made considerable headway in the spirit of unity, and we have also reached -- done some significant work and -- as far as the Amazon region is concerned. There has been -- there have been relations with President Bolsonaro.
And we have taken a very ambitious initiative that President Pinera presented this morning, after having discussed with all the heads of state and government of the region, as we had wished and as President Trump had wished as well.
I don't want to go into the details, but I just wanted to highlight these few things that I just mentioned. I just wanted to say that we work together, hand in hand with President Trump over these two days. And during this G7 -- and I would like to thank all my colleagues, in fact, for this -- we have managed to reach a convergence at unprecedented levels on several issues.
And now, we're going to continue this work in the weeks and months to follow, with a lot of energy. And North Korea knows how strongly President Trump is committed to this issue. There is also the agreement with China and we're going to work hand-in-hand on all of the different issues.
I would like to thank you, President Trump, for your involvement of the last couple of days. I would like to thank your first lady, who was by your side and who has been very active, side-by-side with my own spouse. And she has honored us in our country. She knows how popular she is in our country.
And President Trump, will be hosting the G7 summit next year, so I'm going to give him the floor so that he can tell us how you intend to organize the G7. And I will be there, by your side, with the same will and the same determination and the same desire for unity. Thank you.
TRUMP: Well, I want to thank you very much. And I think more importantly than anything, I wanted to come up here to say that because the job that President Macron -- and your wife, by the way, who is a great lady, Brigitte, would like to thank Brigitte. She has been spectacular, spent a tremendous amount of time with Melania and some of the folks who came in, some of the wives that came in and they had a great tour of the area and it's a beautiful area.
But I want to thank you very much, Mr. President, for the incredible job you did. This is a truly successful G7. There was tremendous unity. There was great unity. Sometimes I'd read a little bit of false reporting that (ph) I will tell you. There was -- in fact, we were -- we would have stayed for another hour. Nobody wanted to leave. We were accomplishing a lot. But I think more importantly, we were getting along very well, seven countries. And it really was the G7. And you have been a spectacular leader on this. And I want to thank you. And I want to thank the great country of France. Thank you very much.
MACRON: Thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you.
MACRON: Thank you. Thank you very much. Was (ph) that (ph) --
TRUMP: And with that, I think -- excuse me -- I was -- go ahead, let's go.
MACRON: No, no. I -- I just wanted to say we will take two questions each time. After a while, I will say goodbye to my friend, President Trump. I will leave the room in order for you to follow up with your (ph) --
TRUMP: If you like, we could do two each --
TRUMP: -- and then we'd both leave the room. Would you prefer that or would you prefer to -- I just don't want to have the president of France standing here while I'm answering these absolutely wonderful questions, OK?
TRUMP: So why don't we start with a question for France.
MACRON: Which means this -- these four questions are about G7 and U.S.-Franco relations.
TRUMP: And Emmanuel's going to have his own press conference after this.
TRUMP: So that will be fine.
Go ahead. To France, John (ph). To France.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Margo.
Of course. They are the host country. They should go first. Monsieur le President Macron, China was not on the official agenda, but it was certainly a big part of the discussions, here at the G7. Are you concerned that the trade war that exists now between the United States and China could harm the global economy?
If you are, did you talk to President Trump about that? And are you also, at the same time, concerned that if China's current trade practices go unchecked, that a decade from now, we could be in a very terrible situation.
MACRON (through translator): On this subject, we obviously had lengthy discussions. During the session on the world economy yesterday morning, on both subjects. The discussions under way between China and the United States of America obviously as we clearly see, create uncertainty, which disturb markets and investors. And during the negotiations, will create tensions, which is the case of any discussion. We saw this on different stock markets, with which we're familiar.
Now, the question is to know what the result of these discussions will be. And that's why we considered that it was so important an agreement be found between the two greatest economic powers in the world.
President Trump clearly showed us his willingness to arrive at an agreement. We saw just a few hours ago, the very positive and encouraging message that could be distilled from this. We see that things are moving.
Our deep wish is for an agreement to be found between the United States and China concerning trade because I think that would be something positive for everyone. Neither the United States nor China is economically or industrially naive. It has to be a balanced agreement that will be good for everyone. And we will be vigilant to see that it's good for the whole world. In that context, our different parameters will be taken on board and that was one of the subjects of our discussion.
What's bad for the world economy is uncertainty and the quicker agreement is arrived at, the quicker that uncertainty will dissipate. That's what we discussed yesterday, and that's the American president's wish.
[10:50:05] In terms of trade practices -- I said this earlier -- for me, the most effective way forward and the most strategic way forward, in settling our trade relations with China, is to develop trade. But also to ensure that that trade is part of international trade rules.
The problems we sometimes had were very familiar with this, with the Chinese economy. It's a major economy where there's been lots of investment from the United States, European countries, Canada and Japan. The problem is respecting intellectual property, dealing with excess capacity, which sometimes unbalances some world markets, and the ability to deal rapidly with conflicts we may have and with unfair situations.
Now, we are obliged to see that when this type of trade happens outside of WTO rules, things don't work very well and we're not properly protected. And when we file a WTO rules, the WTO rules as they presently exist haven't allowed us to be protected on these subjects.
So what we decided together, yesterday morning, was to accelerate with a very realistic agenda, and to say we're going to change the rules of world trade so that everyone can have free and fair trade, balanced trade and that the subjects, which I've just mentioned, which have sometimes been bad for our economies, can be settled in an international framework, which we wish, profoundly, to change.
And we and our different ministers and the different contexts that we're putting forward, are going to share these political goals. And to my way of thinking, the way to deal with the practices you have mentioned, certainly the positive agreements that will be arrived at, and also the renewal of our international trade rules, as we said yesterday morning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump, are you satisfied with how far the proposed WTO reforms will go?
TRUMP: No, I'm not. But --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because you have spoken -- you have spoken about the need for that. And second to that --
TRUMP: Yeah, we're getting there, just to answer that. We're getting there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Second to that, are -- do you believe that China is -- is sincere about what it said this morning?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or do you think that they are just trying to calm the markets and play for time? Because our sister network, the Fox Business Network, has been told by Chinese sources that they have no plans on going back to where they were in terms of the negotiations this spring, on intellectual property, forced technology transfer, ownership. So..
TRUMP: We'll see, John (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- do you trust that they are sincere about this?
TRUMP: I do. I think they want to make a deal very badly. I think that was elevated last night, very late in the night. I see an alert -- or, as you would call it, breaking news -- and it was that the vice chairman -- we're not talking about somebody from China at a low level, the vice chairman -- of China came out, that he wants to see a deal made, he wants it to be made under calm conditions -- using the word, "calm," I agree with him on that.
And China has taken a very hard hit over the last number of the last number of months. They've lost 3 million jobs. It'll soon be much more than 3 million jobs. Their chain is breaking. Chain is breaking up like nobody's seen before. And once that happens, it's very hard to put it back together. You understand.
I think they want -- very much want to make a deal. And the longer they wait, the harder it is to put it back, if it can be put back at all. So I believe they want to do a deal. The tariffs have hit them very hard in a fairly short period of time. The United States will have collected over $100 billion in tariffs.
And I say it again. The reporters fail to -- the media fail to acknowledge it. But if you look at the goods coming in from China -- we're talking about China, not other countries -- if you look at the goods, they have a power that others don't have. But that power is only good for so long.
They've manipulated their currency, they've devalued their currency and they put a lot of cash into the system. And because of that, the prices have not gone up. Or if they've gone up, it's been very little because they want to keep people working. If the prices go up, they're not going to be able to keep people working. They're not going to be able to compete. It's a brilliant market. It's a brilliant, brilliant market, the world market. A lot of markets are brilliant.
And frankly, I think that China cannot -- I don't know, maybe they can, maybe they can't. I don't think they can do that. And I think they're very smart. And I think President Xi is a great leader who happens to be a brilliant man. And he can't lose 3 million jobs in a very short period of time, and that's going to be magnified many times over and it's going to break down the Chinese system of trade, and he can't do that.
So when you say, "Do you think they want to" -- maybe they want to and maybe they don't. But I think they want to make a deal. I'm not sure they have a choice. And I don't say that as a threat. I don't think they have a choice.
[10:55:04] In the meantime, the United States, which has never collected 10 cents from China, will, in a fairly short period of time, be over $100 billion in tariffs. So I think they want to make a deal very badly.
MACRON (through translator): Second question?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Mr. President -- OK (ph), you've just declared that you've created the conditions for a meeting between President Trump and President Rouhani. Does that mean that France, for instances, might be a mediator in that meeting? And more concretely, what did you discuss in terms of that possible agreement with Iran?
Then a question for Mr. Trump. Are you ready to lift or to soften American sanctions on Iranian oil exports? And would you be ready to meet President Rouhani? Thank you.
MACRON (through translator): On the first question, the terms of the discussion are quite simple. An agreement was signed in 2015, on July 14th. We call it the JCPOA.
And that agreement set forth guarantees for the international community, including the signatories of that agreement, saying that Iran would no longer enrich uranium over a certain period of time -- I'm simplifying this, but up until 2025 -- in exchange for reopening many economic sectors and massive investment largely made by the United States.
That agreement had a twofold advantage: stability and security, and also reopening economically speaking, which was good for Iran. This agreement also had drawbacks and shortcomings. French negotiators in 2015 were the most determined, and France was the country that hesitated most to sign this agreement. Because we considered, we needed as many guarantees as possible.
President Trump, during his campaign, made a commitment to those who voted for him, to be more demanding and tougher because he considered that this agreement was insufficient, which caused him to leave it.
Today, because of the sanctions made by President Trump, the Iranian economy is having serious consequences and a serious slowdown. And that situation, very clearly, is the aspect -- we might say the positive side of things, from one standpoint, is creating pressure and therefore the necessary conditions to improve the terms of an agreement.
On the other hand, it's leading to reactions in Iran, who are saying, "Well, we've signed this agreement. But those who have signed it are not respecting its terms" and so, starting symbolically (ph) to enrich uranium. And the risk that they're going to go further still and leave the JCPOA.
So given the two goals that we have, where are we going with this? We need to be sure that Iran will never get a nuclear weapon, and that there will be (ph) no flare-ups in the region. And so what we discussed very concretely was to see how we could improve, very considerably -- or really, in fact, build a new nuclear agreement with Iran.
President Trump was very clear, saying that we would need a much longer timeframe for it. That there needed to be surveillance of many more sites. And this is how we can build a much further-reaching agreement in terms of our security demands.
And on the other hand, we need to convince the Iranians to go int hat direction. And we can do that if we give them economic compensation of some form. If we make some movement in terms of lines of credit or reopening certain economic sectors.
I can't tell you today, publicly, more about this because anything I will tell you in detail will jeopardize the conversations we're going to have. But this is basically what we're discussing, on the basis of our initiative.
There's also a Japanese initiative -- I'm talking in total transparency with the president -- but we agreed on a strategic goal and I want us to go further in this framework, and to make proposals.
At a given point in time, there will have to be a meeting between the American and the Iranian presidents, and I would wish that in coming weeks, such a meeting take place.
France will play a role, together with the other signatories who are our partners in the JCPOA. But after that, we'll need to create the necessary conditions because we'll have the necessary visibility for this agreement to be signed into (ph) it (ph). And for hits meeting with the two presidents to take place.
So I would rather think about concerted initiatives and exchanges rather than mediation. Because at the end of the day, we have constant exchanges with President Trump. I share his goals. Sometimes we say we don't agree on methods, but I want to get there. I want to have an agreement.
[11:00:05] And I think there has been a true change. This morning, President Rouhani showed himself to be open.