Macron tells Congress WTO still important |

Macron tells Congress WTO still important

French President Emmanuel Macron, front, addresses Congress. Behind him are Vice President Mike Pence, left, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
Photo courtesy Embassy of France

A day after meetings with President Donald Trump and a state dinner, French President Emmanuel Macron on April 25 told a joint session of Congress that the United States should not abandon its world role and, in a statement of great interest to American agriculture, should still engage in free trade and work through the World Trade Organization.

Macron started off by emphasizing the long relationship between the United States and France going back to his country’s assistance during the American Revolution, but said the two countries must still work together on common challenges.

“All of us gathered here in this noble chamber, we — elected officials — all share the responsibility to demonstrate that democracy remains the best answer to the questions and doubts that arise today,” Macron said.

“Even if the foundations of our progress are disrupted, we must stand firmly and fight to make our principles prevail.

“But we bear another responsibility inherited from our collective history. Today, the international community needs to step up our game and build the 21st century world order, based on the perennial principles we established together after World War II.”

Turning to the subjects of the economy and trade, Macron signaled he disagreed with Trump.

“I believe facing these challenges requires the opposite of massive deregulation and extreme nationalism. Commercial war is not the proper answer to these evolutions. We need free and fair trade, for sure. A commercial war opposing allies is not consistent with our mission, with our history, with our current commitments to global security. At the end of the day, it would destroy jobs, increase prices, and the middle class will have to pay for it.

“I believe we can build the right answers to legitimate concerns regarding trade imbalances, excesses and overcapacities, by negotiating through the World Trade Organization and building cooperative solutions. We wrote these rules; we should follow them.”

According to a French journalist, the audience applauded Macron 43 times and most of the applause and standing ovations were bipartisan.

But Macron also defended the Paris agreement to deal with climate change.

After he said, “I am sure one day, the United States will come back and join the Paris agreement. And I am sure we can work together to fulfill with you the ambitions of the global compact on the environment,” Democrats applauded wildly and stood up while Republicans sat with their hands in their laps.

Macron ended his speech by noting, “On April 25, 1960, (French President) Gen. (Charles) de Gaulle affirmed in this chamber that nothing was as important to France as ‘the reason, the resolution, the friendship of the great people of the United States.’”

“Fifty-eight years later, to this very day, I come here to convey the warmest feelings of the French nation, and to tell you that our people cherish the friendship of the American people, with as much intensity as ever.

“The United States and the American people are an essential part of our confidence in the future, in democracy, in what women and men can accomplish in this world when we are driven by high ideals and an unbreakable trust in humanity and progress.

“Today the call we hear is the call of history. This is a time of determination and courage. What we cherish is at stake. What we love is in danger. We have no choice but to prevail.

“And together, we shall prevail.

“Vive les Etats-Unis d’Amérique!

“Long live the friendship between France and the United States of America!

“Vive la République! Vive la France! Vive notre amitié.”

Macron received yet another standing ovation and went on to hold a town hall meeting at George Washington University.

But before he left Washington, Macron told a group of journalists that he feared he had failed in his attempt to convince Trump to stay in the Iran agreement.

“I believe he will get rid of this deal for domestic reasons,” Macron said, Bloomberg reported.


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