British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on its allies — the second EU leader in four days to slam the administration’s protectionist trade policies.
“The Prime Minister raised the US decision to apply tariffs to EU steel and aluminum imports, which she said was unjustified and deeply disappointing,” said a statement Downing Street issued after their phone call.
May said the US, UK and EU were close national security allies who should recognize the value of open and fair trade across the world.
“The Prime Minister also underlined the need to safeguard jobs that would potentially be affected by the decision. They agreed to discuss this and wider issues of free and fair global trade further at the G7 summit later in the week,” the statement said.
Trump last week slapped tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, a move free trade supporters said could spark a trade war, which Trump had said would be “easy to win.”
The White House did not immediately issue a read-out of Trump’s call with May.
A phone call Thursday between Trump and Emmanuel Macron went south when the French president confronted the commander-in-chief over trade and immigration, a report said Monday.
Macron candidly criticized the notoriously thin-skinned president during the call, CNN reported, citing a pair of sources.
“Just bad. It was terrible,” one source told the network.
“Macron thought he would be able to speak his mind, based on the relationship. But Trump can’t handle being criticized like that.”
A White House readout of call said the conversation focused on trade and immigration.
“Both leaders discussed the migration problem in Libya, and timelines to solve it. President Trump underscored the need to rebalance trade with Europe,” the readout said.
The call came the same day the US imposed steep slap steel and aluminum tariffs on allies including Mexico, Canada, and the European Union.
In a statement issued by the Elysee Palace ahead of the call, Macron said he “regrets the US decision to confirm tariffs in steel and aluminum.”
“This decision is not only illegal, it is a mistake on many points. It is a mistake because it responds to a worldwide unbalance that exists in the worst ways through fragmentations and economic nationalism,” the statement continued.
“I prefer to say things directly and not through the press; and I will tell him what I told you, which are my convictions that he knows already,” he said in the statement.