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By Chris White
A socialist presidential candidate in France has pledged to place confiscatory taxes on U.S. imports if the Trump administration pulls out of the Paris climate agreement.
Manuel Valls, who is seeking the Socialist Party nomination, told reporters Monday that he would place a carbon tax on American goods if President Donald Trump refused to stay true to the United Nations climate agreement the Obama administration signed in Paris. Former President Barack Obama pledged the U.S. would cut emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025.
“When Donald Trump declares some kind of economic war on Europe, we must be ready,” Valls said, referring to Trump’s past promises to rip up the agreement and eliminate “billions in global warming payments to the United Nations.”
Valls is facing Benoit Hamon in the country’s Socialist presidential primary runoff Sunday. Hamon, a former government member, has as pillars of his campaign taxing robots, creating a universal basic income, pushing environmental causes, and recognizing “burn out” as a professional ailment. He is leading Valls in the polls — 36 percent to 31 percent.
They are tasked with keeping France’s Socialist Party in power despite the relative unpopularity of current Socialist President Francoise Holland, who announced earlier this year he wouldn’t stand for a second term last year. Valls or Hamon will take on the Republican Party’s Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen, of the far-right Front National, for the presidency in April.
The socialist candidates are trying to draw a distinction between themselves and Trump, who once suggested that climate change is a “hoax created by China” to disrupt the U.S. economy and harm American business. The former reality TV star –now U.S. president — has since moderated his tone, telling reporters earlier this month that he is “open-minded” on global warming.