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Macron takes swipe at Trump tariffs plan

French President Emmanuel Macron took a swipe during an address to Congress on Wednesday at President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE’s plan to levy a variety of tariffs on U.S. allies and China.

Macron insisted that, instead of imposing tariffs, the best way forward is a consensus on trade and using the World Trade Organization to fight against abuses. 

“We need a free and fair trade for sure,” he said.

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Trump and Macron have met several times at the White House over the past several days. Macron's visit has included a dinner at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate and a state dinner on Tuesday night. 

The leaders have shown great warmth toward each other during their public appearances. 

During his speech to Congress, however, Macron said that facing challenges in a growing global economy “requires the opposite of massive deregulation and extreme nationalism.”

“A commercial war is not consistent with our mission, with our history with our current commitments for global security,” Macron told lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

“At the end of the day it will destroy jobs, increase prices and the middle class will have to pay for it.”

Trump has vowed to slap tariffs of 25 percent on imports of steel and 10 percent on aluminum.

The 28-nation European Union, of which France is a part, has a temporary waiver from the tariffs.

But that could change next week. The Trump administration set a May 1 deadline for decisions on exemptions if a new agreement isn’t reached to either permanently exclude the EU or provide more time to reach a deal that would stop the tariffs.

“I believe we can build the right answers to legitimate concerns regarding trade and balances, excesses and overcapacities by negotiating through the World Trade Organization, and building cooperative solutions," Macron said on Wednesday.  

"We wrote these rules. We should follow them,” he said.

Trump also is threatening to levy steep tariffs on more than 1,300 imports from China, which has ramped up tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

With the metals tariffs hanging in the balance, Trump is sending a delegation, which includes Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | JPMorgan: Economy will shrink in first quarter due to COVID-19 spike Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Pence, Biden wage tug of war over pandemic plans MORE and U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerWhiskey, workers and friends caught in the trade dispute crossfire GOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 MORE, to China next week to discuss a way forward to avoid the duties.