French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire shared his concerns regarding the unfolding trade war with the US during a conference in Aix-en-Provence, saying that Washington is trying to sow division in relations between European countries, particularly France and Germany. He also expressed his belief that the trade war with the US had already started.
He also called for strong and unified response from the EU in case more tariffs are imposed by the US, assuring that Europe has sufficient economic clout to do so. At the same time, he stated that the Eurozone is currently "fragile," as within its single monetary zone, some 19 different fiscal policies exist, calling instead for creating a single Eurozone budget, referring to a similar idea proposed earlier by International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde.
In May, President Donald Trump ordered the Commerce Department to conduct an investigation into the EU's trade surplus with the US and the possibility of imposing higher import tariffs on European cars. Last week, the president announced that the research will be complete by the end of July and that Washington was considering the introduction of 20 percent duties on all vehicles assembled in the EU.
Responding to the US president's threats to impose import duties on European automobiles, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on July 5 that she would support reducing EU tariffs on US cars. The tariff was imposed as a response to US import taxes on steel (25%) and aluminum (10%) from the European countries. She added, however, that for the tariff to be lifted, a "common European position" must first be reached.