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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Macron rules out a "commercial war" with the US

Por Damian

New declarations are all over the news as French President Emmanuel Macron said last Tuesday that among allies it is "impossible for there to be a trade war", and stressed before President Donald Trump that the European Union (EU) "is not responsible" for the excess production of steel and aluminum.

"It is very important to keep in mind that among allies, I mean, regarding security issues, it is impossible for there to be a commercial war", Macron said at the start of his working meeting with Trump in the White House. The French President acknowledged that it is necessary "to face the common global challenges that refer to trade" and "one of those challenges is of course the excess production of steel and aluminum".

"We have to work to solve the situation (...) but I think our desire is precisely to preserve the multilateral framework", said the French president. Later, in a joint press conference, Macron stressed that "the problem of overcapacity does not arise from Europe or France".

The French president's statements come a week before the deadline of May 1, when Trump must say whether or not to maintain the exemption to tariffs on European imports of steel of 25 percent and aluminum of 10 percent.

Trump imposed these tariffs in March with the argument of protecting the national steel industry, which he said was "decimated" by unfair international trade, but temporarily exempted from this measure several allies, such as the EU, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada or Mexico.

Brussels has threatened to impose similar measures on American products if these levies are finally applied to its steel and aluminum. As for his part, the US president insisted that the trade barriers of the EU are "unacceptable".

"Our farmers can´t send their products to the EU as easily as they should. And we accept yours. So we have to change that, and they understand it," Trump said. "We are negotiating with the EU. They have had their representatives here, and I think we are negotiating very, very seriously. "

Trump has repeatedly criticized the World Trade Organization (WTO), to ensure that the multilateral system lacks the necessary efficiency to manage the commercial challenges posed by the unfair practices of countries like China.