Macron May Be Europe's Best Chance to Avert Trump's Trade Threat

France’s Emmanuel Macron lands in Washington Monday with a mission to take the edge off Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy, for Europe at least.

As Macron arrives for the first state visit of Trump’s presidency, the U.S. leader is threatening to upend the global trading system with tariffs on China, maybe Europe too, and to ditch the Iran nuclear accord, a key plank of western policy for containing military tensions in the Middle East.

The French president has had more success in striking up a rapport with Trump than most global leaders but his record of securing policy concessions is patchy all the same. While Macron pointed to this month’s missile strikes against Syria as a victory for French diplomacy, he failed to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate accord and his aides last week played down expectations that he might persuade Trump to change course on other issues.

“This visit will promote the narrative that the two men have a good relationship, but it may not make much of a difference,” said Jeremy Shapiro, research director at the European Council on Foreign Relations in London. “A personal relationship is great, but Trump doesn’t remember it once you’ve left the room.”

State Dinner

On the first night, the two leaders will have dinner with their wives at George Washington’s Virginia estate in Mount Vernon, overlooking the Potomac river and Macron will offer his host a symbolic gift. On a January visit to Beijing, he gave President Xi Jinping a horse from the French Republican Guard.

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