US agrees to hold off tariffs on French wine

The US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron have agreed to hold the tariffs on French wine until the end of this year.

Wine cellar

Last December, the US government announced that it is planning to implement 100% tariffs on $2.4bn worth of French goods as a response to France’s digital services tax.

The tariff will be implemented on wine and other French products, such as Le Creuset Dutch ovens, Hermès handbags and Roquefort cheese, announced Trump.

US-based wine importers protest that Trump’s tariff decision on French wine will impact their livelihoods.

The digital service tax is aimed at American companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon (GAFA).

The French government also previously announced it will be imposing a 3% tax on the annual revenues of the US-based technological companies.

However, recent discussions between the Presidents have reportedly calmed the situation to some extent.

According to French diplomatic personnel, who addressed various media agencies, Macron and Trump have agreed to hold the tariff implementation plans and focus on continuing negotiations on digital tax at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

President Macron tweeted saying he had a ‘great discussion’ with President Trump and that the two countries would ‘work together on a good agreement to avoid tariff escalation.’

Currently, a 25% tariff has been implemented by the US government on French wine due to Airbus trade dispute.

Source: US agrees to hold off tariffs on French wine

NATO Summit: Trump slams Macron over NATO criticism

Trump used his first meeting at the summit to slam French President Emmanuel Macron.

LONDON — President Trump on Tuesday slammed as “very, very nasty” and “very disrespectful” recent comments by his French counterpart about the diminished state of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance.

Referring to comments President Emmanuel Macron made last month in an interview with the Economist magazine — in which Macron described the “brain death” of NATO due to lack of American support — Trump attacked Macron during his first remarks on the first day of the NATO 70th anniversary summit in London, calling the comments “very insulting.” [ . . . ]

Continue at WASHINGTON POST: NATO Summit: Trump slams Macron over NATO criticism – The Washington Post

British Writer Pens The Best Description Of Trump I’ve Read

Someone on Quora asked “Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?” Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England wrote the following response:  

A few things spring to mind.   Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem. For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed. So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.  

Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing – not once, ever. I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility – for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman.  

But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is – his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.  

Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.   And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.  

There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.   Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront. Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul.   And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist. Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that. He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat.   He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.  

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And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully. That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a snivelling sidekick instead.   There are unspoken rules to this stuff – the Queensberry rules of basic decency – and he breaks them all. He punches downwards – which a gentleman should, would, could never do – and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless – and he kicks them when they are down.  

So the fact that a significant minority – perhaps a third – of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think ‘Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:
• Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.
• You don’t need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.  

This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss. After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum. God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.   He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart. In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws – he would make a Trump.  

And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish: ‘My God… what… have… I… created? If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set.  


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Trump’s Cheese Tariffs May Be His Most Normal Trade Policy

If you’re a fan of European cheeses, I’m sorry to report the price outlook is not Gouda.

The U.S. and the European Union have a long-running trade dispute over airplane subsidies. Each side alleges that the other is subsidizing its major commercial-aircraft manufacturer (Boeing and Airbus, respectively) in violation of World Trade Organization rules. The WTO says both sides are right: Boeing and Airbus both receive improper subsidies. Soon, the WTO will say how much in retaliatory tariffs each side may impose to punish the other for these violations. And in preparation for that decision, the U.S. has prepared a list of $25 billion worth of European exports we might subject to 100 percent tariffs.

The list reads like an order sheet from Dean & DeLuca.

Tariffs may be applied to cheeses including Gouda, Stilton, Roquefort, and Parmigiano-Regianno. Olive oil. Olives. Dried cherries. Apricot jam, peach jam, currant jelly, pear juice. Ham, including Proscuitto di Parma, Jamón Ibérico, Jambon de Bayonne and any of the other delicious European hams. Wine. Whiskey. Brandy (e.g., Cognac). If you might buy it to throw a fabulous cocktail party, it may soon be subject to a prohibitive tariff.

Meanwhile, the EU has released its own list of goods it might tariff because of our subsidies to Boeing — it includes live lobsters, orange juice, and rum.

Donald Trump, who doesn’t drink, says you shouldn’t worry about wine tariffs because the best wines are American anyway. But while high tariffs that upset coastal snobs would seem to combine two of Trump’s passions, his strategy of threatening these tariffs is actually one of the more ordinary parts of his trade policy. Long before Trump was president, the U.S. and Europe have exchanged punitive tariffs on luxury and specialty goods as tools to push for resolutions to valid trade grievances [ . . . ]

Read Full story at INTELLIGENCER: Trump’s Cheese Tariffs May Be His Most Normal Trade Policy

Is France Showing Us What America’s Next Civil War Will Look Like?

“Everything I’ve seen so far out of France is singing loudly that, yes, it’s a small world, after all – and that what’s happening on the barricades is both a reflection of what’s going on in much of the developed world and a screaming alarm for what could come next.”

It’s October 2021. America is in a state of turmoil – so much so that the ongoing felony trial of disgraced former president Donald Trump seems only a footnote. The chaos of the 2020 election has meant no honeymoon for Beto O’Rourke, the 47th president, whose narrow win over the GOP’s Nikki Haley (the Republican convention in Charlotte having rejected President Pence) had only enraged both the right and an increasingly angry left, which was still insisting that Democrats had cheated Bernie Sanders out of the nomination at their divided, brokered convention.

Still, President O’Rourke had small Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, and – after a summer of record heat waves had left more than 250 dead in the Los Angeles wildfires and seen Hurricane Gigi swamp many of the same New Orleans neighborhoods that had been inundated by Katrina – the charismatic, Kennedyesque chief executive had convinced Congress to pass, by exactly one vote in each chamber, a 40-cent-a-gallon gas tax to promote solar and wind power and subsidize electric cars.

Within hours, angry truckers had parked their rigs across the entrance to every tunnel on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. In small towns across America, protesters – encouraged by Sean Hannity on Fox News and by fake stories on Facebook that the O’Rourke administration planned to reopen Trump’s Texas detention camps for immigrants and use them to imprison tax resisters – gathered at gas stations. Many of their rallies were infiltrated by the political fringes – neo-Nazis of the right and Black Bloc anarchists of the left – and there were scattered reports of violence. In Charleston, S.C., a CNN reporter was reporting from a full-blown riot when gunfire was heard in the distance, just a cannonball shot away from historic Fort Sumter.

Paris is burning.

You’d think the rapid decline of Western civilization would get more news coverage in America – normally, flaming barricades in the shadow of the iconic Arc de Triomphe and hundreds fleeing tear gas in the heart of the French capital might be considered must-see TV, especially when the other option is a panel of aging Watergate prosecutors – but the latest chess moves in the Trump-Russia scandal and the embattled White House continue to trump most other headlines [ . . . ]

Continue at COMMON DREAMS: Is France Showing Us What America’s Next Civil War Will Look Like?