One of Emmanuel Macron closest associates made clear the French president will pursue “full and permanent” exemptions from the new tariffs President Donald Trump has suggested he will impose.
Speaking to reporters at the World Bank/International Monetary Fund Spring meetings on Friday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire left no doubt that exemptions for France from any Trump tariffs would be a top priority during Macron’s state visit to the United States this week.
“We cannot accept the European Union and France being hit by new tariffs,” said Le Maire, replying to a question whether “temporary exemptions” would be pursued by Macron during his talks with Trump.
“There must be a full and permanent exemption to any new tariffs,” he added without hesitation.
LeMaire emphasized that the EU and France are strong U.S. allies. “We cannot live with the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads.”
The finance minister also noted that both the EU and France “want to engage China” over its threats of stiff tariffs against the United States.
“We must get rid of that threat,” said LeMaire, but quickly added that before engaging China, there must be “a full and permanent exemption on [U.S.] tariffs.”
Once environment minister under former President Nicolas Sarkozy, LeMaire, 49, last year unsuccessfully sought the presidential nomination of the center-right party known as The Republicans. Following his defeat, he backed Macron and his En Marche! movement and was named finance minister after the 2017 elections.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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