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France slams Trump's new tariffs on steel, aluminium

FRANCE SLAMS TRUMPS NEW TARIFFS ON STEEL, ALUMINIUM

France condemned U.S. President Donald Trump for signing off new tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium.

"France regrets announcements of @realDonaldTrump on steel & aluminum tariffs. There are only losers in a trade war," French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire tweeted late on Thursday.

"With our EU partners, we will assess consequences on our industries and agree [on an] appropriate response," he added.

Maire had already warned last week that such measures would not be acceptable and call for "a strong, coordinated, and united response from the EU".

He said these taxes "would have a major impact on the European economy and on French companies like Vallourec, ArcelorMittal or Ugitech."

Trump on Thursday formally ordered new tariffs on steel and aluminum imported into the U.S.

In a ceremony at the White House, Trump signed separate proclamations imposing a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.

The tariffs will take effect in 15 days.

The proclamations exempt Canada and Mexico, although Trump said this could be rescinded if the White House does not like the outcome of ongoing renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Describing the new rules as "flexible", Trump said other countries can apply for exemptions.

Currently, about 90 percent of aluminum used in American manufacturing is imported as well as one-third of steel.

Industry groups believe consumers will face the brunt of the impact from the tariffs through increased prices for items ranging from beer to cars as well as thousands of other items built of the two metals or packaged inside them.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned earlier on Thursday that such a move would weaken American influence in the world if implemented.

"Europe must show its power and sovereignty," Le Drian told French CNews broadcaster.

Tariffs "might be attractive for the United States now, but in the long term it will have detrimental effects on America's worldwide influence".

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