The deadline when an exemption expires for US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the EU is looming. Neither Emmanuel Macron nor Angela Merkel persuaded Donald Trump to drop the protectionist measures during their visits to Washington last week. Unless the US president changes his mind at the last minute, we are heading for a wider transatlantic trade conflict, starting on Tuesday. The French and German leaders also failed to persuade Trump on the other issue weighing on the relationship between the US and the EU: his threat to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement. The EU is united over the Iran deal, but the confrontation on tariffs will test its unity. What makes the conflict particularly sensitive is that Trump may succeed in driving a wedge between France and Germany. He has a problem with German cars, not French champagne. And the 2017 bilateral US trade deficit with France was $15bn against $64bn with Germany. I have often written about the economic damage that resul...

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