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    French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump listen to national anthems during a welcoming ceremony at the Invalides in Paris, France, July 13, 2017.

    France Against Negotiating Customs Duties With US - French Foreign Ministry

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    PARIS (Sputnik) - The French government does not want to engage in negotiations on customs duties with the United States, which has recently introduced new import tariffs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, French minister of state for foreign affairs, told Les Echos newspaper in an interview.

    "The French government supports the position of the European Commission to ask a total, permanent and unconditioned exemption. The president of the republic, Emmanuel Macron, has reiterated in March that we will not negotiate with a gun to our heads. France is not favorable for discussion of taxation… We do not share the strategy looking to engage in negotiations on customs duties," Lemoyne told Les Echos.

    The European Union has the means to protect itself, Lemoyne said, when asked if France was ready for a trade war with the United States.

    "The European Union would not stand idly by International trade law allows us to take safeguard measures to face eventual deferral of steel and aluminum exports designated to the United States back to the European Union. We are preparing for that. The European Union is equally ready to contest in the [World Trade Organization] WTO any unilateral measure touching upon European interests, and to respond in a proportional manner in compliance with the WTO rules," Lemoyne said.

    The minister of state noted that France was ready to work together with the United States on reforming the WTO and reinforcing multilateralism.

    READ MORE: EU Requests to Join WTO Consultations Initiated by China Over US Steel Tariffs

    The European Union was granted a temporary exemption from US latest tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, but it might be made permanent depending on the results of the bloc's talks with Washington.

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    trade war, tariffs, European Commission, European Union, United States, France
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