Published on February 5th, 2018 | by Joshua S Hill0
France Offers US Ultimatum: “No Paris Agreement, No Trade Agreement”
February 5th, 2018 by Joshua S Hill
French foreign affairs minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne last week told his country’s parliament that “The US knows what to expect,” and that if the US does not rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, there can be no trade deal.
Speaking to parliament, French foreign affairs minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne last Thursday made it very clear where his country stands regarding the United States’ decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement:
“One of our main demands is that any country who signs a trade agreement with EU should implement the Paris Agreement on the ground. No Paris Agreement, no trade agreement. The US knows what to expect.”
US President Donald Trump announced on June 1 of 2017 that he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, claiming that it unfairly required the US to adopt stricter rules than other participants of the Agreement.
“In order to fulfil my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord,” Donald Trump explained to cameras and a crowd of White House staff and officials in the Rose Garden.
“But begin negotiations to reenter the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction on terms that are favorable to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its workers, its taxpayers. So we’re getting out. But we will start to renegotiate, and we’ll see if we can make a deal that is fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine.”
Of course, Donald Trump’s grasp on the specifics of the Paris Agreement were and are a little off. Participation in the Paris Agreement involves a commitment to keep global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, accomplished through self-determined targets. In other words, the “deal” that Donald Trump wants to renegotiate was put in place by his predecessor, President Barack Obama, rather than imposed upon the US by the Paris Agreement.
It took a long time before Donald Trump actually addressed the idea of returning to the Paris Agreement. In January, in a press conference alongside Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Trump explained the US “could conceivably go back in” to the Agreement.
Big talk on the French parliamentary floor need not necessarily represent European Union policy, but in this case, it seems to be the case. When asked on Twitter whether she agreed with Lemoyne’s comments, EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom replied:
Yes Paris deal reference needed in all EU trade agreement today. In Japan agreement and will be in with Mexico and Mercosur..
— Cecilia Malmström (@MalmstromEU) February 1, 2018
This declaration has important ramifications, not least of all because Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron are seen to be close, and making the Paris Agreement a roadblock to future relationship between the two countries could push Trump to reconsider his stance on the Paris Agreement.
Or, of course, he could just double-down and continue to burn all bridges he espies.