French PM urges taxes on imports from countries snubbing climate pact

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls attends a news conference for the launching of the new campaign against radicalisation and jihadism at the Hotel Matignon in Paris, France, November 18, 2016. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

PARIS (Reuters) - Europe should impose tariffs on imports from countries that do not implement a global agreement for fighting climate change, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said in an opinion piece published on Wednesday.

Valls’ position puts him at odds with Germany and the European Commission which rejected a call from former French president Nicolas Sarkozy for a tax on U.S. imports if a Trump administration quits the 2015 Paris Agreement.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to pull out of the Paris Agreement for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from fossil fuels. Instead, he says he will push ahead and develop cheap coal, shale and oil.

Valls wrote in Les Echos business newspaper that Europe should take action to prevent companies from moving to countries that spurn the Paris Agreement.

“If for that Europe needs to tax imports from countries that don’t want to implement the Paris agreement, well then, let’s do it,” he wrote.

French President Francois Hollande, who was the architect of the pact and whose term ends in May, has said that he would work with Trump and that the agreement was in the interest of the American people.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Toby Chopra