Presidents Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron have reached a ceasefire in an escalating trade war – that will mean neither France nor the U.S. will impose punitive tariffs this year, avoiding for now a massive new tariff increase on French goods such as wine, cheese, and handbags, according to CNN.
The fight began in July when France approved a 3% tax on revenue generated by large digital companies operating in France, primarily targeted at American tech firms such as Silicon Valley giants like Amazon, Facebook, and Google.
American wine shop owners and importers that sell French products in the US and already dealing with tariffs on European imports, had protested the plans, arguing the expected 100% tariff on French wine and Champagne would cost American jobs and would devastate their industry.
The White House said Monday that Trump spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and “agreed it is important to complete successful negotiations on the digital services tax,” though did not confirm his decision to hold off on tariffs for now.
Macron tweeted he had a “great discussion” with Trump.
“We will work together on a good agreement to avoid tariff escalation,” he wrote.
Macron and Trump will hold off on potential tariffs until the end of the year, the French official said, as negotiations over the digital tax continue at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Trump’s proposed tariffs would hit a wide range of French products, totaling $2.4 billion, that would also include makeup, handbags and cookware — specifically Le Creuset, who make the enameled cast iron pans and dutch ovens. One American wine merchant called it the biggest threat to the industry since Prohibition a century ago.
A 25% tariff on French wine remains in place due to a separate trade dispute related to European countries improperly subsidizing Airbus.