France will refuse to enter into trade talks with the United States while punishing steel and aluminum tariffs are in effect, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Thursday.
‘We refuse to negotiate under pressure,’ Le Maire told reporters while en route to a Group of Seven meeting in Canada. And ‘being hit by the tariffs will not help us to open the door to any kind of negotiation.’
The US announced the steep metals tariffs would be imposed on the European Union, Canada and Mexico as of midnight (0400 GMT Friday).
‘We strongly believe that the decision taken today by the American administration is really an unacceptable one. It is unjustified, unjustifiable and will have dangerous consequences for global growth,’ Le Maire said.
US President Donald Trump this week chose to escalate his multi-front trade confrontation with the world’s principal economies, generating a chorus of opposition and bringing the trading partners to the brink of all-out trade war.
Le Maire’s reaction underscored the tough reception that awaits US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday evening at meetings in this Canadian mountain resort.
The Trump administration’s decision to allow the tariffs to take effect has upended the agenda for this week’s meeting of finance ministers from Group of Seven economies, which account for more than 60 percent of global GDP.
Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau pledged to register his government’s grievances with Mnuchin during the dinner Thursday night to kick off the G7 ministerial.
Other participants likewise expressed dismay at the breakdown in cooperation on trade matters.
Canada provides half of all US imports of aluminum.