DUBLIN: Britain and the United States are “turning inward,” Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a press conference with his Irish counterpart on Tuesday in which both leaders took swipes at their heavyweight neighbours.

Trudeau also said during a visit to Dublin that there were “clear disagreements” with the United States ahead of the G20 summit this week, where US President Donald Trump is expected to attend.

“The choices made by the United States on trade and climate change are at odds with the majority of G20 countries, or even all the other G20 countries,” he said after talks with Ireland’s Leo Varadkar.

Trudeau predicted that there would be “robust and honest exchanges about how to serve not only our citizens but the whole planet” at the summit, while adding that such meetings were also a chance to try to find “common ground”.

The United States and Canada are locked in a trade dispute, with the US accusing Canada of exporting its products at unfairly low “dumping” prices.

Canada is also a major supporter of the Paris Agreement to combat global warming, which Trump has said he wants to pull out of. Both leaders issued thinly veiled criticism of their neighbours’ politics.

“There are tremendous opportunities for countries like Canada and Ireland, at a time where perhaps our significant allies and trading partners in the case of both the US and the UK are turning inward or at least turning into a different direction,” Trudeau said. The sentiment was echoed by Varadkar, who reiterated his country’s commitment to the European Union as it prepares for Britain’s exit from the bloc.

“We each share a relationship with a very big neighbour, a neighbour that has to a certain extent decided to go in a different direction at least for the time being,” he said.

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2017