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New US tariffs 'a hostile act': French Economy Minister

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New US tariffs 'a hostile act': French Economy Minister
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire speaks to reporters at the IMF meeting in New York on Friday. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP
07:35 CEST+02:00
New US tariffs on $7.5 billion in European goods are a "hostile act" from American allies, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday, adding that wine tariffs were "profoundly unfair."
"This is a hostile act between allies. These hostile acts are unwelcome," Le Maire told reporters on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
   
"This is especially the case because we are working in good faith toward a negotiated solution," he added.
   
Washington on Friday slapped tariffs on European goods after an arbitration ruling by the World Trade Organization found European aircraft manufacturer Airbus had received improper state subsidies.
   
But Le Maire said both sides should jointly develop common compliance standards."That's the right answer," he said.
   
Le Maire also denounced new US tariffs on French wine. "On what grounds are French winemakers hit by these tariffs? No one can understand," he said.
   
"Hitting these winemakers... is profoundly unfair and incomprehensible from our American ally," said Le Maire, who was due to meet with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer later on Friday.
   
Still, he said he doubted the Americans would suspend the tariffs at his request. "I'm realistic," he said.
   
After 25 percent tariffs took effect, French winemakers demanded speedy economic aid from Paris and called on the European Commission to begin talks with Washington.
   
Washington's tariffs on $7.5 billion in European exports took effect at 0401 GMT on Friday. EU authorities could soon be permitted to retaliate, having lodged their own complaint at the WTO against US subsidies for Airbus rival Boeing.
 
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