By Catherine Lucey
LONDON -- President Trump suggested a trade war with China could drag out past the 2020 election and stoked a tariff spat with France during a visit to Europe for a NATO summit.
Mr. Trump said he had "no deadline" to conclude a trade deal with China, adding that "in some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election," during a meeting with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday in London.
The U.S. and China have been seeking to resolve a "phase-one" trade deal, though negotiations have been stop-and-go. Both sides have imposed tariffs as the dispute escalated, with more U.S. tariffs set to go into effect Dec. 15.
In Europe for the two-day gathering, Mr. Trump also criticized French President Emmanuel Macron for comments he made about the 29-member military alliance, and expressed frustration with France's new digital-services tax.
"I don't want France taxing American companies. If they're going to be taxed it's going to be the United States that will tax them," Mr. Trump said.
The French tax, which was signed into law July 24, applies a 3% tax on revenue that tech companies reap in France from such activities as undertaking targeted advertising or running a digital marketplace. In response, the Trump administration has proposed tariffs of up to 100% against $2.4 billion of French imports.
Mr. Trump also said the French leader's comments about NATO were "very insulting." Ahead of the meeting, Mr. Macron gave an interview to the Economist, warning that the continent was experiencing "the brain death of NATO" and renewing his call for Europe to bolster its own military capabilities.
"It's a tough statement," Mr. Trump said. "When you make a statement like that, that is a very, very nasty statement to essentially, including them, 28 countries."
Visiting the U.K. days ahead of parliamentary elections, Mr. Trump said he had "no thoughts" on the vote and promised to "stay out" of the election. But he also praised Prime Minister Boris Johnson, saying he was "very capable and I think he'll do a good job."
Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly called on members of alliance to increase their military spending, also said he was pleased that countries have increased their contributions and said he was looking forward to a "tremendous" few days.
Administration officials said Friday that nine members now meet or exceed the goal of spending 2% of GDP on defense and they expect it to rise to 18 countries by 2024.
Write to Catherine Lucey at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 03, 2019 07:20 ET (12:20 GMT)
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