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The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) big annual meeting took place in Paris on May 29th and 30th. The meeting underlined the gap between the United States and their partners on the very principle of multilateralism – the theme of the meeting. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, defended the idea of a « strong multilateralism », but faced the opposition of the US Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, a strong advocate of Donald Trump’s protectionist line, who would rather encourage « bilateral actions ».

The meeting happened as the United States threatens to impose a 25% tariff on imports of steel, and a 10% tariff on aluminum, therefore affecting all members of the OECD. Donald Trump’s decision to maintain or not these taxes should be known by Friday. Since he took office in January 2017, the US President has been questioning the work of the OECD and other multilateral institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Last year, all 35 members of the organization had failed to agree on a joint communiqué and had issued two different texts – one signed by the United States and the other by the other countries. On Wednesday, once again, the US did not agree to sign a joint statement at the end of the forum.

Marie Peschier

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