What are you doing Emmanuel? Macron powerless to stop Biden tariffs – showdown on Friday

Joe Biden realises Europe is ‘indispensable partner’ says expert

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The French President has so far failed to prevent tariffs imposed by Donald Trump, which came into force on January 12, from being confirmed by the new administration in the White House. French winemakers are paying the biggest price as the tariffs have helped push the volume of French wine exports to a 15-year low, according to data published by Macron’s Government.

French wine exports to the US have dropped in value by 18 percent, according to the French wine exporters’ federation.

On Friday, Mr Macron and Mr Biden will go head to head at a virtual meeting of the G7.

Ignacio Sánchez Recarte, the secretary general of European wine exporters lobby group CEEV, warned the US tariffs were “extremely” damaging for EU exports.

Bernard Farges, the president of EFOW, a group representing the specially protected EU wines that make up the bulk of the bloc’s transatlantic exports, told Politico: “It’s a diplomatic urgency to make sure that these tariffs for wines exported to the United States stop as soon as possible.”

The customs duties were announced at the end of 2020 and target French and German products, at an eyewatering 25% on non-sparkling wines, grape must and cognacs, and 15% on certain aeronautical parts.

EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said ending the row between Airbus and its American competitor Boeing could assist in ending the wine tariff row.

The two aeronautical companies have been clashing since October 2004 before the World Trade Organization over public aid paid to the two groups, deemed illegal, in the longest commercial conflict handled by the justice of the peace of world trade.

The United States was authorised at the end of 2019 to impose taxes on nearly 7.5 billion dollars of European goods and services imported each year, the heaviest sanction ever imposed by the WTO.

In a mirror decision a year later, the institution authorised the EU to impose taxes on products imported from the United States.

The EU has since imposed tariffs on $4 billion in US exports.

President Biden will hold his first event with other leaders from the G7 nations, including President Macron, in a virtual meeting on Friday to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, the world economy and China relations.

When asked about the transatlantic relationship and reviving the idea of a trade deal, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said: “We won’t wait for the United States to give Europe its sovereignty.

“It’s up to Europe to conquer it.”

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The cautious approach to future trade deals adopted by France will have to contend with German enthusiasm for closer cooperation between the bloc and the US.

Peter Beyer, transatlantic coordinator for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, said Germany and the new US administration under President Biden should “think big” and aim for an ambitious agenda based on shared values and focused on joint interests.

Mr Beyer said: “After the difficult years under Donald Trump, Germany and Europe now have a historic chance to breathe new life into the transatlantic partnership and improve relations with the US.”

Mr Beyer said while Germany and the United States would continue to have differences on issues like Russian gas imports, this should not stop them from liaising closely on economic, trade, tax and climate policies.

He said: “Now is the right time to put a package of trade and economic policy proposals on the agenda.

“This must include a comprehensive and ambitious free trade deal.

“It should include a common roadmap for a WTO (World Trade Organisation) reform that, among other things, finally gets China to play by international trade rules – violations of these rules must be sanctioned.”

As a first step towards rebuilding trust, Mr Beyer said, the new US administration should withdraw punitive tariffs unilaterally imposed by Trump on European imports of aluminium and steel.

Mr Beyer added: “And we should also abandon the maxim that there can only be an agreement once we have agreed on all areas. Instead, we should go step by step.

“The first step could be an agreement which would see the EU and US abolish all tariffs on industrial goods.

“Progress could be made quickly here.

“Controversial areas such as agriculture must then be discussed in a second step.”

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