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Trudeau has been outspoken about the steel and aluminum tariffs, calling them "insulting" to Canada and declaring: "We have to believe that at some point their common sense will prevail". President Trump has railed against the US' trade deficits and has placed a range of tariffs on imports from several countries - rivals and allies alike.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, pressed about a Washington Post report that said the White House was considering additional economic penalties against Canada, told reporters that Ottawa was unaware of any such move.

Earlier on Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the USA proposal to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and sign a bilateral trade pact. But after collective irritation especially of the US' European allies with Mr Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the Iran nuclear deal, they were "no longer hiding behind pleasantries", said Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group.

Similar disputes occur between countries all the time, Kudlow told a news conference Wednesday in Washington, adding that he's confident that the current angst over Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs will soon blow over.

Trump economic advisor Larry Kudlow, however, framed the trade spat as a "family quarrel" which he said would be "worked out", while adding that his administration "will do what is necessary to protect the United States, its businesses and its workforce". The member countries are: Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, the United States and the Britain.

That move unleashed fury in the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations and prompted quick retaliation from Canada and Mexico and a promise from the European Union to do so as well, unnerving investors who fear a trade war that could derail the global economy. When then-prime minister Stephen Harper in 2011 said USA approval of the Keystone XL pipeline - which then-president Barack Obama was refusing to do - was a "no-brainer", the White House considered the remark beyond the pale.

There is no doubt, though, that Trudeau is upset that the USA would invoke security concerns as justification for the tariffs. For more than a century, the United States has had no problem building military equipment out of Canadian raw materials.

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Adding to the uncertainty is European anger over Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the global nuclear agreement with Iran.

"There will be frank and sometimes hard discussions around the G7 table, particularly with the U.S. president on tariffs", Trudeau told reporters. "They all tried to hug him close, as we used to say about Blair and Bush". European allies have urged Trump to reconsider.

Anticipating a tense two days in Quebec, Mr. Trump has complained about having to attend the summit, particularly since it comes just before his high-stakes meeting in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said two people with knowledge of his thinking.

Ministers from Germany, France and Britain have already written to USA officials urging them to shield European companies working in Iran from getting caught up in Washington's new sanctions on Tehran.

Despite the G7's efforts to coax the Trump administration away from a go-it-alone approach, some analysts now question whether Washington remains committed to basic policies that have upheld the post-World War Two global economic system.

Back in 1812, the roles between Britain and the United States were largely reversed.