US tariffs on EU would have 'very negative consequences', warns France's Le Maire
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If President Donald Trump follows through on a plan to impose tariffs on European goods in the dispute over Airbus, it will have "concrete" repercussions, France's Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said Thursday.
"These decisions would have very negative consequences both from an economic and a political point of view," Le Maire told reporters shortly after meeting with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
US tariffs on a record $7.5 billion in European goods are set to hit at midnight (0400 GMT), after the World Trade Organization agreed with Washington's longstanding argument that Airbus receives unfair government subsidies, which hurts American competitor Boeing.
Le Maire warned the US against starting another front in its trade conflicts, with Washington already involved in a costly tariff battle with China.
He also is due to meet with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Friday afternoon, and he said he will again urge Washington to work towards a negotiated settlement.
The European Union has vowed to retaliate with tariffs of its own in a parallel WTO case against Boeing.
"I think this will not be in the interest of the US, it would not be in the interest of the EU, and it would have, of course, negative consequences on the level of the world growth," Le Maire warned.
At a time when the global economy is slowing, "I think that our responsibility is to do our best to avoid that kind of conflict."
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