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22 Jul, 2018 10:11

'Trade war to produce only losers,’ French minister warns US

'Trade war to produce only losers,’ French minister warns US

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has bashed a recently started “trade war,” warning that no one will benefit from it. He said France will not negotiate a free trade agreement with the US while its tariffs are in force.

“We refuse to negotiate with a gun to our head,” Le Maire told reporters on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Brazil on Saturday, according to French media. The official was responding to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said that Washington is ready for a free trade agreement, but only if it includes “no tariffs, no non-tariff barriers and no subsidies.”

"We are all, particularly us European countries, worried about this trade war that was launched a few weeks ago," Le Maire said referring to US President Donald Trump’s decision to slap levies on EU steel and aluminum imports and threat to target European cars next. "This trade war will produce only losers, it will destroy jobs and put pressure on global growth.”

Le Maire also called the US imposing the tariffs “the law of the jungle” that cannot be the basis for world trade. And if Washington fails to change its mind, there will be “no choice other than to retaliate," he warned. 

The French minister has already threatened that Europe will have to “defend” itself, after Trump vowed to impose 20 percent increase on cars in response to EU’s tit-for-tat measures. 

The EU took the US to the WTO to challenge its steel and aluminum tariffs. It was not alone at the complaint to the organization, as Trump’s levies also targeted Canada and China, who has long been protesting what it called US unilateralism referring to US protectionist policies.

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