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'American wine is better than French wine!' - Trump threatens tariffs on France and 'foolish' Macron

The US President was responding to France’s new a digital services tax.

Macron and Trump at D-Day commemorations last month.
Macron and Trump at D-Day commemorations last month.
Image: PA Images

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has accused French counterpart Emmanuel Macron of “foolishness” and threatened tariffs on French wine in response to moves to tax tech giants.

In a tweet this evening, Trump said:

“France just put a digital tax on our great American technology companies. If anybody taxes them, it should be their home Country, the USA. We will announce a substantial reciprocal action on Macron’s foolishness shortly. I’ve always said American wine is better than French wine!”

Trump’s tweet was linked to a law passed by the French parliament this month on taxing digital companies for income even if their headquarters are elsewhere. This would aim directly at US-based global giants like Amazon.

Deputy White House spokesman Judd Deere said Washington was “extremely disappointed by France’s decision to adopt a digital services tax at the expense of US companies and workers.”

“The Trump administration has consistently stated that it will not sit idly by and tolerate discrimination against US-based firms,” he said in a statement.

In addition to a probe already opened by the US government against France, “the administration is looking closely at all other policy tools.”

Trump has generally got along well with Macron, avoiding some of the more stormy episodes marring traditionally stable relations with other close US allies in Europe and Asia.

But his drive to correct what he sees as unfair trade practices by allies and rivals alike has stirred unprecedented discord.

And this is not the first time that he has mused about taking aim at France’s renowned wine industry.

In June, he told CNBC television that domestic wine makers had complained to him about the difficulties of entering the European market.

“You know what? It’s not fair. We’ll do something about it,” he said.

- With reporting by © – AFP 2019

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Rónán Duffy

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