VOA: Iran Deal, Transatlantic Trade Loom Over Macron Visit22 April 2018 | 14:50 | FOCUS News Agency
Macron’s visit will be the first state visit of the Trump administration. Over the past year, Macron and Trump have forged an unlikely partnership. U.S. media dubbed the relationship a “bromance” and “one of history’s oddest diplomatic couples.”
“The Trump-Macron relationship is perhaps one of the most unexpected partnerships of the Trump era,” observed Nile Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at Heritage Foundation in an interview with VOA. “Clearly, Emmanuel Macron is very different to Trump in many respects ideologically, but the two leaders have formed a very pragmatic working relationship.”
A senior administration official said the themes of the visit include celebrating the close ties between France and the United States, trade and investment issues, and security concerns, such as combating terrorism and the way forward in Syria.
It is expected that the Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will be front and center of the bilateral discussions. Analysts see Macron’s visit, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to the White House later in the week, as last-minute efforts to save the deal ahead of Trump’s May 12 deadline for the U.S. to pull out of the agreement if the terms are not changed.
A senior administration official told reporters it’s difficult to say the degree of detail the two leaders will go into regarding the Iran accord.
Regarding trade, for Macron, extending the steel and aluminum exemption for the EU will be the first priority. A senior administration official said it’s hard to say if there will be any trade announcement following the state visit.
Eric Jones, director of European and Eurasian Studies at Johns Hopkins University, said there are a lot of differences on trade, the most important of which is that Trump’s team hasn’t wrapped its collective mind around the idea that the European Union is a single trading entity.
“President Trump’s team has repeatedly approached not just France, but Germany and other European countries with the eye of making bilateral deals with these countries. Unfortunately, that’s a category error. These countries can’t make bilateral deals with the United States, so I think part of what President Macron is going to try to do, is better to push the conversation forward as a way of suggesting the United States should imagine the European Union as a single trading entity and a bilateral arrangement between the US and EU is what the White House should aspire to achieve,” he noted.
Macron’s state visit will start Monday with a tour of Mount Vernon and a private couples’ dinner hosted by Trump. Macron and Trump will meet at the White House Tuesday morning for a one-on-one session in the Oval Office, followed by a joint press conference. That evening, Trump will host Macron for a state dinner at the White House. On Wednesday, Macron will address a joint session of Congress.
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