France calls for ‘united and strong’ European response to US tariffs

France calls for ‘united and strong’ European response to US tariffs
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France's finance minister called on Sunday for a "united" response to U.S. tariffs from Europe, taking a decidedly harder line on the duties than German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"If tomorrow there is an increase in tariffs, like in the car industry, our reaction should be united and strong to show that Europe is a united and sovereign power," Bruno Le Maire said, according to Reuters

His comments came days after Merkel warned against the prospect of a full-blown trade war between Germany and the U.S. and insisted that her country make "every effort to try to defuse this conflict."

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But Le Maire said that a trade war had already erupted between the U.S. and Europe, adding that the continent was prepared to act collectively to push back against the Trump administration's tariffs. 

"Let it be known that if we are attacked we will react collectively and we will react firmly," he said, according to Reuters.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE moved in May to impose stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum exports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, prompting international condemnation and threats of retaliatory duties on U.S. products. 

Tensions rose even higher last month when Trump threatened 20 percent tariffs on vehicles manufactured in Europe and exported to the U.S. 

At the same time, the U.S. is also facing an escalating trade war with China as a result of the Trump administration's tariffs, which the president has defended as necessary to safeguard U.S. business interests and balance out one-sided trade.