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‘There will only be losers’: France laments Donald Trump’s new trade tariffs

France "regrets" US President Donald Trump's announcement of duties on steel and aluminium imports to the United States, the Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday.

'There will only be losers': France laments Donald Trump's new trade tariffs
Photo: AFP

“There are only losers in a trade war. With our EU partners, we will assess consequences on our industries and agree appropriate response,” he tweeted.

Trump imposed the tariffs — 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium — despite repeated warnings from the EU and other allies that this could trigger a full-on trade war.

Last Friday, Le Maire warned that any such measures by the US would be “unacceptable” and called for a “strong, coordinated, united response from the EU”.

The French minister then warned that the tariffs would have “a major impact on the European economy and on French companies such as Vallourec, ArcelorMittal and Ugitech”.

“There are certain countries which practice dumping and other subsidies which distort global trade,” he said, in an indirect reference to China. “The American authorities know that perfectly well, and it is this that they should be addressing, not anything else.”

The White House said Thursday that countries concerned by the new tariffs could speak to the US in order to negotiate possible exemptions.

“The EU is a close ally of the US and we continue to think that the EU must be exempted from these measures,” said EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia
Malmstrom.

“I will demand more clarity on this issue in the days to come,” she added.

FRANCE US

‘We have a lot to do’: Macron congratulates Joe Biden on winning US presidential election

French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday congratulated US president-elect Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris on their election victory.

'We have a lot to do': Macron congratulates Joe Biden on winning US presidential election
Joe Biden. AFP

“The Americans have chosen their president,” said Macron

“We have a lot to do to overcome today's challenges. Let's work together!” Macron tweeted, in French and English, after major US media networks announced Biden's victory over incumbent Donald Trump.

Macron has never met Biden, who will in January become the 46th president of the United States.

France under Macron is keen for Europe to move away from its reliance on US military might, for defence in particular.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo reacted to Biden's win by saying “Welcome back America”.

 

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Thursday reinforced recent statements from Paris that the nature of US-EU relations had permanently changed under Trump.

Europe needs to build a “new trans-atlantic relationship, which is a new partnership” irrespective of who wins, he said then.

“We cannot go back to the status quo ante, to a kind of good old days in the trans-atlantic relationship,” as Europe affirms its sovereignty in security, defence and strategic autonomy, Le Drian added.

Apart from the far right, the French political class generally hailed Biden's victory at the polls, which saw him win more votes than any other US president in history.

Former French president Francois Hollande, who was in office when Trump came to power in 2016, welcomed the “good news for American democracy”.

Biden has promised to return the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement after Trump pulled out of it.

Hollande hailed the “happy news for the planet with the return of United States in the climate agreement”.

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