PARIS (Reuters) - French presidential candidate and current frontrunner Emmanuel Macron on Thursday criticized the protectionist and environmental policies of U.S President Donald Trump.
Trump has caused disquiet in Europe over threats to impose a border tax on German cars and his attempts to unravel former Democratic President Barack Obama’s initiatives to combat global climate change.
“Mr Trump would be making a grave mistake by going back on his predecessor’s commitments towards the climate,” Macron said, speaking after he announced his election manifesto.
Macron said France needed a strong relationship with the United States and hoped to continue cooperating on intelligence issues, notably in the fight against terrorism. But he would seek China’s help to ensure climate agreements are not undone.
“I will forge a very strategic alliance with our Chinese partner on this subject,” he said.
On the economic front, Macron said Trump’s policies would hurt the spending power of the American middle-class, which depended on goods produced in lower-cost countries.
“I think Mr Trump is wrong to advocate protectionism for his own economy. The United States is one of the most open economies in the world,” he said.
Europe would have to raise tariffs on U.S. exports if the United States did the same on European goods, in line with World Trade Organization rules, he said.
“I don’t want to go down that path, but we would respond if the wrong choices were made,” he said.
Macron already had a dig at Trump last month when he invited U.S. scientists, academics and entrepreneurs at odds with Trump’s administration to move to France.
Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Angus MacSwan