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August 25, 2019

Trump steps up world trade war

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August 25, 2019

WASHINGTON/PARIS: US President Donald Trump on Saturday sought to smooth over his prickly relationship with French President Emmanuel Macron as he arrived in France for the G-7 summit – telling reporters he loved French wine, hours after threatening to slap tariffs on the export.

“I love French wine,” the president told reporters sitting opposite Macron for a lunch after his arrival in Biarritz. “We actually have a lot in common, Emmanuel and I,” he said. “We’ve been friends for a long time and every once in a while we go at it just a little bit, not very much, but we get along very well, we have a great relationship, I think I can say a special relationship.”

Hours earlier, before jetting off from Washington, Trump had threatened to impose tariffs on French wine over France’s digital services tax that would hit U.S. technology companies, reports the international media. Trump said that while he was not a “big fan” of tech companies, “those are great American companies and frankly I don’t want France going out and taxing our companies.” “And if they do that, we’ll be taxing their wine or doing something else,” he said. “We’ll be taxing their wine like they’ve never seen before.”

Meanwhile, amid escalating trade war with China, President Donald Trump counterpunched against retaliatory tariffs announced by Beijing pledging to hike the rates importers must pay on Chinese-made goods even higher.

Trump said the US will raise tariffs from 25% to 30% on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods that are already being taxed starting October 1. He also threatened to ratchet up promised tariffs on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports from 10% to 15%.

Those tariffs, which would hit mostly consumer items, are set to begin taking effect September 1, though most goods will be duty-free until December 15 -- a move Trump made to avoid putting a damper on holiday retail sales.

The president's announcement came after Beijing unveiled a new round of retaliatory tariffs on about $75 billion worth of US goods. China will place additional tariffs of 5% or 10% on US imports starting on September 1, according to a statement posted by China's Finance Ministry.

"We're having a little spat with China and we'll win it," Trump told reporters Friday night before departing for the annual G7 summit in Biarritz, France.

"We put a lot of tariffs on China today, as you know. They put some on us, we put a lot on them." "We're up to about $550 billion -- they've been hitting us for many, many years for over $500 billion a year, taking out of our country much more than 500 billion a year," he added. "So we want that stopped."

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