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Published On: Wed, Feb 17th, 2021

What are you doing Emmanuel? Macron powerless to stop Biden tariffs – showdown on Friday

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What are you doing Emmanuel? Macron powerless to stop Biden tariffs – showdown on Friday

Joe Biden realises Europe is ‘indispensable partner’ says expert

The French President has so far failed to prevent tariffs imposed by Donald Trump, which came into force on January 12, from being confirmed by the new administration in the White House. French winemakers are paying the biggest price as the tariffs have helped push the volume of French wine exports to a 15-year low, according to data published by Macron‘s Government.

French wine exports to the US have dropped in value by 18 percent, according to the French wine exporters’ federation.

On Friday, Mr Macron and Mr Biden will go head to head at a virtual meeting of the G7.

Ignacio Sánchez Recarte, the secretary general of European wine exporters lobby group CEEV, warned the US tariffs were “extremely” damaging for EU exports.

Bernard Farges, the president of EFOW, a group representing the specially protected EU wines that make up the bulk of the bloc’s transatlantic exports, told Politico: “It’s a diplomatic urgency to make sure that these tariffs for wines exported to the United States stop as soon as possible.”

emmanuel macron joe biden eu us tariffs

Emmanuel Macron is under pressure to convince Joe Biden to remove tariffs on French products (Image: GETTY)

Joe biden us tariffs eu french wine trump

Joe Biden confirmed Trump’s tariffs on French wine (Image: GETTY)

The customs duties were announced at the end of 2020 and target French and German products, at an eyewatering 25% on non-sparkling wines, grape must and cognacs, and 15% on certain aeronautical parts.

EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said ending the row between Airbus and its American competitor Boeing could assist in ending the wine tariff row.

The two aeronautical companies have been clashing since October 2004 before the World Trade Organization over public aid paid to the two groups, deemed illegal, in the longest commercial conflict handled by the justice of the peace of world trade.

The United States was authorised at the end of 2019 to impose taxes on nearly 7.5 billion dollars of European goods and services imported each year, the heaviest sanction ever imposed by the WTO.

READ MORE: Emmanuel Macron fails to stop eye-watering US sanctions renewal

joe biden us sactions duty customs french wine

Joe Biden’s team said there was no intention to remove tariffs for now (Image: GETTY)

In a mirror decision a year later, the institution authorised the EU to impose taxes on products imported from the United States.

The EU has since imposed tariffs on $4 billion in US exports.

President Biden will hold his first event with other leaders from the G7 nations, including President Macron, in a virtual meeting on Friday to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, the world economy and China relations.

When asked about the transatlantic relationship and reviving the idea of a trade deal, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said: “We won’t wait for the United States to give Europe its sovereignty.

“It’s up to Europe to conquer it.”

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emmanuel macron joe biden us eu tariffs

Emanuel Macron failed to convince Joe Biden in January (Image: GETTY)

The cautious approach to future trade deals adopted by France will have to contend with German enthusiasm for closer cooperation between the bloc and the US.

Peter Beyer, transatlantic coordinator for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, said Germany and the new US administration under President Biden should “think big” and aim for an ambitious agenda based on shared values and focused on joint interests.

Mr Beyer said: “After the difficult years under Donald Trump, Germany and Europe now have a historic chance to breathe new life into the transatlantic partnership and improve relations with the US.”

Mr Beyer said while Germany and the United States would continue to have differences on issues like Russian gas imports, this should not stop them from liaising closely on economic, trade, tax and climate policies.

emmanuel macron french president

Emmanuel Macron: who is the French President? (Image: EXPRESS)

He said: “Now is the right time to put a package of trade and economic policy proposals on the agenda.

“This must include a comprehensive and ambitious free trade deal.

“It should include a common roadmap for a WTO (World Trade Organisation) reform that, among other things, finally gets China to play by international trade rules – violations of these rules must be sanctioned.”

As a first step towards rebuilding trust, Mr Beyer said, the new US administration should withdraw punitive tariffs unilaterally imposed by Trump on European imports of aluminium and steel.

EMMANUEL macron angela merkel g7 meeting biden

Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel will meet Biden in a G7 virtual meeting on Friday (Image: GETTY)

Mr Beyer added: “And we should also abandon the maxim that there can only be an agreement once we have agreed on all areas. Instead, we should go step by step.

“The first step could be an agreement which would see the EU and US abolish all tariffs on industrial goods.

“Progress could be made quickly here.

“Controversial areas such as agriculture must then be discussed in a second step.”

Published at Wed, 17 Feb 2021 08:54:00 +0000

BBC admits defeat! Plot to prosecute OAPs abandoned after licence fee backlash

BBC licence fee: Charging over 75s ‘is wrong’ says Williams

The broadcasting corporation previously sparked anger after ending free licences for people aged over 75 last August, except if they were receiving pension credit. According to the latest BBC figures, 2.7 million over-75s have now paid for a TV licence. Another 750,000 have applied for free licences as a result of being on pension credits.

Those who did not apply were sent a letter by the BBC with the threat they would face a fine of up to £1,000 and potential prosecution if they continued to watch live television without paying up.

However, the BBC has now made a huge climbdown by admitting almost 700,000 pensioners who did not respond to their letter will not face a court appearance and are “still legally covered”.

The BBC said: “In light of ongoing challenges to many of our customers caused by the coronavirus, we’re giving older people a bit more time to make arrangements for their next licence.

“We’re writing to customers to reassure them of this.

BBC news: Pensioners have scored a huge victory over the licence fee row

BBC news: Pensioners have scored a huge victory over the licence fee row (Image: GETTY)

“The letter explains that customers who previously held a free over-75 licence up to July 31, 2020, are still legally covered.

“We are giving them time to either arrange payment for a licence or claim a free one.”

The BBC also admitted it had not cancelled any licences for over-75s since the scheme began last year.

The letter which sparked outrange had said: “We will cancel your licence if you do not reply to our letter within two months of receiving it.”

READ MORE: Brexiteer rages against ‘patronising’ BBC in rant

The BBC ended free licences for people aged over 75 last August

The BBC ended free licences for people aged over 75 last August (Image: GETTY)

It resulted in Lord Ian Botham writing to BBC Director General Tim Davie to urge people not to be prosecuted for failing to pay the licence fee.

The retired cricketer said in his letter: “In my view, this is institutional bullying on a massive scale and there seems to be some kind of blame game between the BBC and government.

“I’m no politician but this feels like a real scandal affecting the very frail that needs sorting out.”

Dennis Reed, director of Silver Voices, a group calling for free licence fees to be reinstated for the over-75s, said the BBC’s backtrack was welcomed.

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The Government last week said the annual fee would increase from £157.50 to £159 from April 1

The Government last week said the annual fee would increase from £157.50 to £159 from April 1 (Image: EXPRESS)

But he added the fee still needed to be stopped.

He said: “This change is news to us.

“Hundreds of thousands of elderly people have now been given an amnesty until the end of the pandemic.

“We hope it gives the BBC and the Government the breathing space to rethink this terrible policy.

BBC licence fee increase is slammed by hosts

“The current situation is untenable.

“They cannot enforce the licence fee on hundreds of thousands of over-75s who are increasingly determined, the more reminders they get, not to pay.

“We welcome this concession. The policy was a disaster from the start and remains a disaster.”

It comes after the BBC also recently came under fire after the Government last week said the annual fee would increase from £157.50 to £159 from April 1, 2021, with black and white licences rising from £53.00 to £53.50.

The BBC admitted it had not cancelled any licences for over-75s since the scheme began

The BBC admitted it had not cancelled any licences for over-75s since the scheme began (Image: GETTY)

The BBC said in response that it was sticking to its requirement that anyone applying for a licence late must backdate it to August 2020.

A BBC spokesperson told the Telegraph: “In light of the pandemic we have revised our timings for considering cancellation and we have written to customers who have yet to make arrangements to reassure them that they are being given more time to get set up, and that they are still covered.”

Express.co.uk has contacted the BBC for a comment.

Published at Wed, 17 Feb 2021 08:43:39 +0000

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What are you doing Emmanuel? Macron powerless to stop Biden tariffs – showdown on Friday