The French government says the United States should expect “united and strong” retaliation from European countries if it moves to impose more tariffs.
“If tomorrow there is an increase in tariffs, like in the car industry, our reaction should be united and strong to show that Europe is a united and sovereign power,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in an address to an economic conference in Aix-en-Provence, southern France, on Sunday.
“The question is no longer whether or not there will be a trade war, the war has already started,” he added.
“Let it be known that if we are attacked we will react collectively and we will react firmly,” Le Maire said.
On June 10, the administration of US President Donald Trump imposed 10 per cent tariffs on aluminum imports and 25 percent tariffs on steel imports, which mainly affects the EU, Canada, and Mexico, ending exemptions that had been in place since March.
Trump argued at the time that enormous flows of imports to the US were putting in jeopardy the American national security, and made an odd departure from a decades-long US-led move towards open and free trade.
He further escalated tensions last month with threats to impose up to 20 percent tariffs on all cars and car parts manufactured within the EU, a move that could upend the industry’s current business model for selling cars in the US.