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French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire urges US to end “bygone era” trade battle with Europe

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French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called on the US to end trade rivalry with Europe.

Washington:

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Thursday called on the United States to end the trade rivalry with Europe, insisting that a “strong” France and Europe are in America’s interest.

“My message to the US administration on these trade issues is very clear: Let’s get rid of these areas of tension between the US and Europe as quickly as possible,” he said in an interview with AFP.

Le Maire was due to meet White House officials on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings this week.

The dispute over steel and aluminum remains a major point of tension in transatlantic relations.

In June 2018, former US President Donald Trump imposed punitive tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, citing national security concerns. The duties imposed on American allies and rivals alike, and drew swift retaliation from Europe.

Joe Biden succeeded Trump as president in January, but did not proceed to lift tariffs.

Le Maire said “progress has been made in the trade talks” but “there are still stumbling blocks.”

Both the parties have time till December 1 to settle the matter.

The French minister suggested the sides should take “a few months” to find a definitive solution that would eliminate the risk of a trade war – something he said “belongs to a bygone era.”

He called the conflicts “unnecessary” and “counterproductive”.

In addition, “they prevent us from working on more important topics” such as addressing difficulties in supply chains, including semiconductors.

Finance officials gathered for meetings of the IMF, the World Bank, the G20 and the G7 have focused on supply-chain bottlenecks that have created shortages of key raw materials in many countries, driving prices higher and global warming. development is at risk.

Le Maire echoed Biden’s comments on Wednesday, citing the need for energy and other commodities to “gain our independence on semiconductors.”

reliable, attractive partner

He argued that countries can no longer accept a situation where auto factories run at half capacity because they rely exclusively on semiconductors coming from Taiwan, South Korea or elsewhere.

But the move towards self-reliance in manufacturing should not be seen as a threat to Washington.

“A Europe that is more independent, has its own technologies, has its own value chains, which is not against the United States, it is good for the United States of America,” he insisted.

And France is “a reliable, attractive and powerful partner in Europe” for the United States, and an attractive destination for American investment, he said. But unfortunately that message is “not always understood in Washington.”

On China, Le Maire advocated a practical rather than an adversarial approach.

The US strategy is to “oppose” China’s rise to power, while Europeans seek to “engage” Beijing on questions of intellectual property, market access and human rights.

“I think the only good solution is to have as many exchanges as possible with our American partners, look at the subject matter what approach we are taking, and continue to collaborate, for the 21st century. Discussing this strategic topic: the rise of China,” he said.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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