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'It's best not to see the sausage being made': Macron tight-lipped on how his Trump phone-call went

An unnamed source told CNN television the call went badly.

French President Emmanuel Macron with United States President Donald Trump at the White House earlier this year
French President Emmanuel Macron with United States President Donald Trump at the White House earlier this year
Image: Blondet Eliot/ABACA

FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL Macron isn’t disclosing details of his phone call last week with US President Donald Trump, after an unnamed source told CNN television it went badly.

Macron instead repeated the famous line attributed to 19th century German statesman Otto von Bismarck about laws and sausages: “It’s best not to see them being made”.

The French leader told reporters he doesn’t like to comment on “how things went, if that’s hot, if that’s cold, if that’s warm, if that’s terrible. We do (things) and we move forward”.

He promised a “frank and direct discussion” with Trump at an upcoming summit in Canada.

The French presidency says Macron told Trump during a call last week that new US tariffs on European, Mexican and Canadian goods are illegal and a “mistake”.

Mexico tariffs

Yesterday Mexico announced steep duties on a raft of US products ranging from whiskey to apples in retaliation for the “unilateral adoption” by Washington of steel and aluminum tariffs.

The Mexican economy ministry published a list of American products that will be subject to duties of between 15 and 25%, including pork, cheese and grapes.

The products concerned are for the most part agricultural goods, but some metal-based products such as steel plating and tubing are also included.

“Mexico has the right to take measures with equivalent commercial effects”, the economy ministry said in a statement explaining the tariffs.

Mexico and other US allies including the European Union and Canada have hit back after US President Donald Trump announced stinging steel and aluminum tariffs that came into effect on Friday.

One Planet Summit - Heads of state on the mirage boat - Paris French President Emmanuel Macron and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto late last year Source: Blondet Eliot/ABACA

“Mexico can adjust the composition of the list of products originating from the United States,” the ministry warned.

The tariff increases are designed to hit areas that are politically favorable to Trump, such as pork production, Mexican experts said.

Complaints and criticism 

The World Trade Organization received a complaint from Mexico on Tuesday, a WTO official in Geneva said.

Mexico filed the complaint after Trump decided not to extend a temporary exemption granted in March to the EU, Canada and Mexico.

On Friday, he imposed the 25% tariffs on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports from Mexico.

The EU and Canada had already opened legal challenges at the WTO.

Canada said proportional duties would be imposed on US steel, aluminum and consumer goods from 1 July, while Brussels is also preparing tariffs on US products including bourbon, motorcycles and blue jeans.

Mexico submits that the tariffs were not adopted in accordance with relevant WTO procedures and also violate the 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

The US decision, widely criticised on the international scene, came as the US, Canada and Mexico renegotiate the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), at the urging of Trump who called it a “disaster” for American jobs.

The White House’s chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said he had informed Canada of Trump’s willingness to negotiate a separate agreement to replace NAFTA.

Mexico’s Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said his government wanted to maintain that trade deal, which has been “very productive for the integration of North America, and is already a global brand known to investors”.

He said it would be a loss if the trade accord ceased to exist. NAFTA is vital for Mexico, which exports nearly 80% of its products to the US market.

 

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Associated Press

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