The Latest: Macron calls Amazon an issue for whole planet

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Donald Trump,Boris Johnson

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin walks to a working breakfast with President Donald Trump and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Hotel du Palais on the sidelines of the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (Erin Schaff, The New York Times, Pool)

BIARRITZ, France (AP) — The Latest on the summit of leaders from the Group of Seven democracies (all times local):

10 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron says the Amazon, while mostly Brazilian, is a world issue and that his message to Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro is “we cannot allow you to destroy everything.”

Amid tensions with Bolsonaro over his handling of fires in the Amazon and his pursuit of economic growth at the expense of the forest, Macron said: “We respect your sovereignty. It’s your country.”

But he also called the Amazon “the lungs of the planet” and said: “The Amazon forest is a subject for the whole planet. We can help you reforest. We can find the means for your economic development that respects the natural balance. But we cannot allow you to destroy everything.”

Speaking on French TV after hosting a G-7 summit, Macron also acknowledged that Europe, by importing soya from Brazil, is not entirely without blame for the agricultural pressure on the rainforest, saying: “We are partly complicit.”

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9:30 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron says he understands why President Donald Trump is keeping his cards close to his chest and not flat-out saying that he won’t make good on a previous threat to heavily tax French wine.

At the G-7 summit in France, Macron said France and the U.S. struck a “very good agreement” to defuse tensions over a French tax on online giants like Google.

The tax had prompted threats from Trump of heavy tariffs on French wine. But after the G-7 summit, Trump effectively glossed over that issue, leaving it unclear whether the threat of a tax on French wine was now moot and off the table.

Macron, speaking later on French TV, suggested that Trump was simply being a cagey negotiator, waiting for the outcome of promised talks on an international tax on Internet giants.

Macron said of the wine threat: “While he has no deal, he doesn’t want to say that he won’t do it.”

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9 p.m.

President Emmanuel Macron says U.S. sanctions on Iran have succeeded in changing the stance of its leaders but also is expressing concerns that the pressure could inflame the region if pushed too far.

Speaking after a G-7 summit where he stole the limelight by unexpectedly inviting Iran’s foreign minister for talks, Macron said his diplomacy on Iran at the meeting in Biarritz “lowered the pressure.”

Seeking to justify the role of mediator between Iran and the United States that Macron is carving out for France, the French leader quoted one of his predecessors, World War II hero Gen. Charles de Gaulle: “Diplomacy is trying to hold together broken windows.”

Macron said his surprise invite for Iran’s foreign minister to attend talks on the sidelines of the G-7 summit “wasn’t a poker move” but rather “France playing a role of trying to mediate.”

He said: “The sanctions obviously have an impact on Iran. Iran is in recession. The population is suffering. There is pressure on the regime. So that has changed things. But we have reached a breaking point, if you will.”

He said the pressure could lead to Iran resuming the enrichment of uranium “to try to get nuclear weapons” and “if they do, the Americans will certainly respond.”

“I don’t want this escalation. So France is trying out ideas,” he said.

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7:30 p.m.

President Emmanuel Macron says France intends to refund the difference if its national tax on big digital companies turns out to be higher than a tax proposal being negotiated among more than 120 countries.

Macron said the promised refunds are aimed at warding off any “retaliatory taxation,” an apparent reference to U.S. President Donald Trump’s vow to add heavy import taxes on French wine. Trump considers France’s 3% tax on tech companies as targeting American firms.

The French measure would tax companies that do business in France without any physical presence and pay taxes in countries with lower rates.

France has said it would prefer to institute a solution that is reached through international negotiations guided by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The talks are aimed at finding a way to more fairly tax such companies by 2020.

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7:00 p.m.

With clouds over global growth, French President Emmanuel Macron has issued a short Group of Seven declaration committing leaders to “open and fair global trade and the stability of the global economy.”

The declaration Macron issued Monday at the end of a three-day G-7 summit he hosted underlined “great unity” among the participating leaders.

That’s a contrast to the closing statement from last year’s G-7 summit in Canada, which U.S. President Donald Trump repudiated.

The professed unity could be important as uncertainty over the course of Trump’s trade conflict with China weighs on the global economy.

The statement was achieved amid disagreement at their summit over the impact of Trump’s trade stance on slowing global trade and industrial activity.

The declaration nods to several of Trump’s issues by calling for “fair” as well as “open” trade. There’s no mention of broader issues such as currencies or fiscal stimulus.

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6:50 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron says the 3-day gathering of G-7 leaders in southwest France came in under budget and was “one of the least expensive” Group of Seven summits ever.

Macron said France spent 21 million euros ($23.3 million) on staging the summit in the resort town of Biarritz. He said that was considerably less than the hosting costs for last year’s summit in Canada.

By his count, the summit that wrapped up Monday also was 10 million euros cheaper than the last G-7 summit held in France. Macron says that gathering, in 2011, cost 31 million euros to put on.

He said of the just-ended event: “It’s a thrifty summit.”

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6:15 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron says there will be a meeting next month on the Ukraine conflict with the presidents of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France.

Macron made the announcement at the end of a Group of Seven summit in France on Monday. He said it would be at the chief of state or government level but gave no details.

However Macron said the G-7 leaders could not agree on whether to invite Russia back into the grouping of leading democracies.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he could invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to next year’s G-7 summit, which he wants to hold in Miami.

European officials said that’s premature. The EU wants progress on peace accords for Ukraine first.

Russia was kicked out of the then-G-8 after annexing Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

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6:10 p.m.

U.S. President Donald Trump offered U.K. leader Boris Johnson sympathy as he tries to win a Brexit deal, suggesting that the European Union would drive a hard bargain and that it would be “tough.”

Speaking at the end of the G-7 summit in France, Trump offered effusive praise for Johnson, who took power last month, and said that he had to “try to do something with Brexit,” a task that eluded his predecessor Theresa May. May failed three times to get her deal through Parliament and then was toppled by her own party.

But Trump says it won’t be easy. He said: “The EU is very tough to make a deal with. Just ask Theresa May.”

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5:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump says it’s better to have Russia “in the tent” rather than “outside the tent” of the group of advanced industrialized economies.

Speaking Monday at the Group of Seven summit in France, Trump said that he’s inclined to invite Russia to next year’s summit in the United States and that it’s being discussed. Russia was kicked out of the group after it annexed Crimea in 2014.

Trump says some G-7 countries want Russia invited back but others are opposed. Trump didn’t single out any nation but noted Germany buys energy from Russia while the U.S. helps defend Europe from Moscow aggression.

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5:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump says that he’s open to meeting with Iran to resolve the nuclear standoff but that if Iran doesn’t agree to being a “good player” it will be met with “very violent force.”

French President Emmanuel Macron (eh-mahn-yoo-EHL’ mah-KROHN’) said Monday at the Group of Seven summit in France that he hopes Trump and the Iranian president will meet in the coming weeks. Macron says G-7 leaders agreed Iran needs to meet its nuclear obligations but there was a hope for a diplomatic breakthrough in the conflict that has grown since the U.S. left the 2015 nuclear accord.

Trump says progress can be made, although it “may not be immediately.”

Macron says he will work with nations still in the deal to facilitate progress. He says there is talk of negotiating a new agreement.

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5 p.m.

President Donald Trump is papering over the differences that were on full display in France as he concludes his participation in the Group of Seven global summit.

Trump tells reporters at a joint press conference with French President Emanuel Macron that the summit was “truly successful” and that “tremendous unity” was on display.

He says that “Nobody wanted to leave” the final discussion and says, “It really was the G-7.”

Fissures between the U.S. and six of the world’s other advanced economies were apparent, however, on issues including trade policy, Russia, Iran and climate change during the talks at a picturesque French beach resort. That includes a push to invite Russia back into the group and skipping a session on climate with the other world leaders.

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4:50 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron says France and the U.S. have reached a “very good agreement” defusing tensions over a French tax on online giants like Google.

The tax had prompted threats from U.S. President Donald Trump of heavy tariffs on French wine.

Speaking Monday alongside Trump, Macron said they made “considerable headway in the spirit of unity” at the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France.

Macron said France would reimburse companies who pay the tax once an international tax deal is in place to replace the 3% French tax on French revenues of big online companies. It’s aimed at reducing tax avoidance for digital multinationals.

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4:45 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron says he hopes for a meeting in coming weeks between U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Speaking alongside Trump on Monday, Macron said G-7 leaders had agreed that Iran needs to meet its nuclear obligations and that there was a hope for a diplomatic breakthrough in the tensions that have grown since the U.S. left the 2015 nuclear accord.

Macron spoke at the end of the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France.

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4:15 p.m.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says a G-7 agreement on fighting the Amazon fires treats the region like a colony.

The response came in a tweet Monday morning after French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the Group of Seven had agreed on a $20 million firefighting fund as well as a long-term initiative to protect the rainforest.

At the same time, Macron savaged the Brazilian president for “extraordinarily disrespectful comments” about his wife and reiterated that Bolsonaro had lied about commitments to deforestation.

Bolsonaro, in turn, said Macron’s “ludicrous and unnecessary attacks on the Amazon” were unacceptable and accused him of treating the region “as if we were a colony.”

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3:55 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron says he is considering launching an international campaign to help sub-Saharan African countries fight fires raging in the area that are being compared to the Amazon rainforest fires.

Macron tweeted from the Group of Seven summit Monday that “the forest is also burning in sub-Saharan Africa. We are studying the possibility of launching an initiative similar to what we just announced for the Amazon.”

Macron said earlier Monday that G-7 nations are committing $20 million to countries in the Amazon region to help fight the fires and help with “re-forestation.”

Environmental groups have expressed concern about massive fires in African countries including Angola and Congo that are getting less attention than those in the Amazon, which have caused worldwide concern because of their potential impact on climate change.

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2:15 p.m.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says that the world faces “a dramatic climate emergency.” He is urging leaders at a Sept. 23 summit in New York to agree to cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than they promised in the 2015 Paris climate accord.

Guterres said Monday at the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, that “we are much worse than we were during Paris (…) And so it’s absolutely essential that countries commit themselves to increase what was promised in Paris.”

Guterres said that Greenland’s ice cap was melting “dramatically” and that 2015 through 2019 were “the five hottest years on record.”

U.S. President Donald Trump has pulled the U.S. out of the Paris accord but Guterres said states, cities and businesses had “the capacity to deliver in relation to climate action.”

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2:00 p.m.

U.S. President Donald Trump has missed a discussion on climate with other world leaders at the Group of Seven summit in France.

Trump was scheduled to attend Monday’s session on climate, biodiversity and oceans, but his chair was empty during a portion of the meeting reporters were allowed to witness.

French President Emmanuel Macron says that while Trump didn’t attend, his aides were there.

The president started the morning behind schedule. His meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel was delayed about two hours.

He then met with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where he was asked about attending the climate session.

He said it would be his next stop and that he wants clean air and water.

Trump is a climate change skeptic who once had claimed it’s a hoax that was invented by the Chinese.

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1:55 p.m.

Some called it PorkGate. A disagreement between Britain’s prime minister and makers of a distinctive type of pork pies highlighted some of the tensions surround the country as it faces Brexit.

Boris Johnson said on the sidelines of the G-7 summit in France, where he is trying to drum up trade with the U.S., that Britain’s failure to sell Melton Mowbray pork pies is an example of unfair U.S. barriers to trade. He said the pies are sold as far as Thailand and Iceland.

But Matthew O’Callaghan, head of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association, told the BBC that Johnson had it wrong and that the pies were not sold in those two countries.

Downing Street fought back saying the association was misinformed and sharing the documents Johnson used for the briefing.

Turns out Johnson was only partly correct. The company that makes them, Samworth Brothers, says they once sold a “very small amount” of the pies in those two countries, but decided in 2015 to focus on the U.K. market.

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1:45 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron isn’t backing down in his ongoing dispute with Brazil’s leader.

Macron has threatened to block a European trade deal with Brazil and other South American countries over the Amazon wildfires and what he has described as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s lies over containing deforestation.

The back and forth deteriorated over the weekend when Bolsonaro endorsed a Facebook post insulting Macron’s wife, Brigitte. Macron also accused him of missing a scheduled meeting with the French foreign minister in favor of a barber appointment and reiterated that Bolsonaro had lied to him.

Macron said: “It’s sad. First for him and for the Brazilians.”

He said Brazilian women “are doubtless ashamed to read that about their president” and that he hoped the country would soon have a president who could behave according to the standards of the office.

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1:25 p.m.

G-7 countries have agreed to an immediate $20 million fund to help Amazon countries fight wildfires and launch a long-term global initiative to protect the rainforest.

The announcement came from French President Emmanuel Macron, the host of this year’s meeting of G-7 leaders, and the Chilean President Sebastián Piñera. Macron said that the Amazon represents the “lungs” of the planet and that leaders were studying the possibility of similar support in Africa, also suffering from fires in its rainforests.

Macron said the U.S. supported the initiative, although he acknowledged that U.S. President Donald Trump had skipped Monday’s working session on the environment.

Satellites have recorded more than 41,000 fires in the Amazon region so far this year — with more than half of those coming this month alone. Experts say most of the fires are set by farmers or ranchers clearing existing farmland.

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1:05 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is hailing what she describes as a “big step forward” on Iran at the Group of Seven summit.

G-7 leaders held what Merkel describes as a constructive discussion on Iran Saturday night, which was followed by a surprise visit Sunday by Iran’s foreign minister for discussions with the French hosts.

Merkel said Monday: “It is a big step forward that we not only don’t want Iran to have nuclear weapons, but we also (want to) achieve the solution by political means.”

Merkel was pressed on what progress she saw exactly and on whether U.S. President Donald Trump was prepared to accommodate any move toward alleviating sanctions against Iran. She replied: “I can’t say that at the moment. There is an atmosphere here in which talks are welcomed, in which talks between the Europeans and Iran and particularly France and Iran are welcomed — this is happening in coordination with the United States of America, and that is already a lot.”

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11:45 a.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson talked trade with his Australian counterpart at the Group of Seven summit in France as he sought to position his nation for a post-Brexit world.

Johnson’s office says he and Prime Minister Scott Morrison “discussed their enthusiasm for an enhanced and deep trading relationship once the U.K. leaves the EU.”

The two leaders also discussed concerns about Hong Kong “and agreed that it was paramount for all sides to remain calm and peaceful.”

Johnson says it was “fantastic” to talk to Morrison, who “seemed in very high spirits” despite England’s victory Sunday in the third test of the Ashes cricket series.

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11:00 a.m.

French officials say the U.S. and France are nearing a possible deal on taxing online powerhouses — and avoiding new tariffs on French wine.

Two officials said Monday that progress was made at a dinner Sunday night with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, France’s finance minister and other U.S. officials on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France.

France introduced a 3% tax last month on French revenues of big tech companies like Google and Amazon, which currently pay next to no taxes on French sales.

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened retaliatory measures on French wine, which could be announced as soon as Monday.

Asked about the wine tariffs Monday, Trump said “it depends on the deal we work out on the digital tax,” which “We’re negotiating right now.”

The French officials said France would scrap its tech tax if an international tax deal on digital multinationals is in place by 2020 or 2021 — and could reimburse the companies if the international tax is lower than the French tax.

The officials spoke only on condition of anonymity because they could not be named publicly.

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8:50 a.m.

G-7 leaders are wrapping up a summit dominated by tensions over U.S. trade policies and a surprise visit by Iran’s top diplomat.

U.S. President Donald Trump and summit host French President Emmanuel Macron will finish off the three-day summit with a joint news conference Monday.

But first the leaders of the Group of Seven rich democracies — the U.S., France, Britain, Germany, Japan, Canada and Italy — are holding a string of meetings on climate change, how digitalization is transforming the world and other issues.

The troubled world economy is overshadowing the meetings in the French Atlantic resort of Biarritz.

Macron also took a big gamble by inviting the Iranian foreign minister to Biarritz, hoping to secure a breakthrough in global tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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