The Trump regime has initiated the formal process for imposing tariffs on $2.4 billion in French goods in response to the country's new tax on digital services, but France is a member of the European Union which trades as a single bloc and Trump cannot impose tariffs on just one member of the bloc. It doesn't work that way.
European and French trade officials met in Brussels this morning where they vowed a unified response to Trump's tariffs.
The EU’s chief trade negotiator Phil Hogan met with French Finance Minster Bruno Le Maire on Wednesday to discuss how to react to the American threat. Hogan said in the meeting that this was a European matter and that the bloc would react as one, said the official, who asked not to be identified because the discussion was private. [...]
“It’s clear that if the U.S. would impose sanctions on France, the EU would react in a united way to protect France,” Le Maire told reporters in Brussels after the meeting. “We don’t want to enter into this rationale of sanction and retaliation, that’s not what we want, but we’re forced to protect ourselves if the U.S. decides to follow through.”
Trump and his cabinet lackeys have floated the idea of reaching some kind of compromise or accord with France to avoid opening yet another front in Trump's global trade war, but I cannot imagine anyone truly believes that's going to happen. France and other countries aren't going to repeal or halt the passage of their digital services taxes just to avoid the threat of Trump.
If the European Union responds to Trump with retaliatory tariffs on an equal amount of American goods, Trump will have ultimately penalized American companies just because he hates French President Emmanuel Macron.
Trump says taxing the likes of Google and Amazon should be left to him, not France, but Trump hates Amazon and their founder Jeff Bezos. I do not believe he's doing this to protect Amazon. I believe he's doing it because he hates Macron.
Trump is emotionally reactionary and having left the NATO summit early because he feels insulted by the likes of Emmanuel Macron and other European leaders, escalation is probably the only thing we can expect to see in the near future.
And somewhere, Vladimir Putin cracks a smile.