Macron, Trump discuss Syria, N. Korea

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday discussed with his US counterpart Donald Trump by phone the situations in Syria and North Korea, and the looming trade dispute over US steel and aluminium tariffs.
On the ongoing Syrian conflict, the French leader highlighted “the necessity of clear action to avoid the pursuit of a humanitarian disaster” in Syria, according to a statement by the Elysee Palace.
Macron also “welcomed the announcement” that the US and North Korean leaders would meet in a summit to try to de-escalate tensions and resolve the nuclear testing issue in North Korea, the statement noted.
On the trade dispute that is looming between the US and the European Union, the French President expressed “deep concern” concerning customs tariffs that Trump is implementing on imports of steel and aluminium.
Macron said he understood and agreed with the need to stop unfair trading practices and he urged a reinforcing of international trade rules, which he said should be effectively implemented.
But he said that the US plan to take measures against “allied countries,” who respect world trade rules, would not be effective against unfair trade practices.
These measures “risk contradicting (trade rules) and starting a trade war in which all involved countries would emerge as losers,” Macron warned.
The EU is currently planning retaliatory measures against a host of American exports, many symbolic, but which could provoke a counter-reaction and tariffs on European car imports by the US Administration.
“Europe will respond in a clear and proportionate manner against any unfounded practice that is contrary to international trade,” Macron stressed.

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