France's finance minister says the U.S. shouldn't see global trade like the Wild West or the "gunfight at the OK Corral." Bruno Le Maire called looming U.S. tariffs on European steel and aluminum "unjustified, unjustifiable and dangerous." He reiterated European promises to respond with retaliatory tariffs.
Ahead of a meeting Thursday in Paris with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Le Maire said: "Global trade is not a 'gunfight at the OK Corral.' It's not about who attacks whom, and then wait and see who is still standing at the end."
He said a trade war would hurt growth everywhere, and argued for abiding by international rules instead.
President Donald Trump says the tariffs are needed for U.S. national security. Secretary Ross told Le Figaro newspaper that a decision on tariffs would likely come after markets close Thursday as U.S. and European trade chiefs are meeting hours before the U.S. is expected to make its final decision to impose tariffs.
Ross met Thursday morning in Paris with French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, whose government has vigorously objected to tariffs. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer meanwhile is meeting in Paris on Thursday with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom among other international trade chiefs.
In his Le Figaro interview, Ross said the Americans are still open to discussion, and the EU would be to blame for any trade war if it imposes retaliatory tariffs as expected.