Searching for a bright spot in the escalating trade dispute emanating from the US, Norway’s prime minister said the world’s biggest economy just isn’t as important anymore.
“It’s important to remember that the US isn’t the same driving force as it used to be,” Erna Solberg said. “The world economy has more legs to stand on and there are far more economies that are growing.”
The prime minister was a special guest of the G-7 in Canada and had an upbeat take after the summit that ended in chaos and more tariff threats from US President Donald Trump.
There to discuss her vision for the world’s oceans, she found some common ground, even with US officials. And while Trump ultimately rejected a joint-communique, the fact that it was initially agreed on should be taken as a positive, she said.
“Underlying it all, I experienced the G-7 summit as a meeting where we moved forward on many important issues, including those I was present at,” Solberg said.
“Even though Trump didn’t participate, the Americans were present and gave clear signals and messages about the need to put efforts into the oceans and other issues.”
Trump upended the summit by rejecting the communique in a couple of tweets after he had already left and suggested he would seek to impose tariffs on US car imports.
Solberg offered some advice on how to handle the US president to avoid any future post-summit surprises.
“With Trump it’s possible one just has to be angry when one meets him so he understands, instead of being angry after and before the meeting.”
Norway, which heavily relies on oil and gas exports, has seen scant effect from the US tariffs on steel and aluminum.
But should the international trade dispute escalate, Solberg said it could spill more broadly into world’s financial markets, where Norway’s massive $1 trillion fund has placed its wealth, as well as stall a global recovery.
“We’re at a time when we need to create more jobs, to give people hope, so the answer is not less international trade but more,” Solberg said. “What I’m afraid of are the cross-effects that could happen if other countries take action.”