President of the European Council Donald Tusk speaks during a press conference on the first day of the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. U.S. President Donald Trump and the six other leaders of the Group of Seven nations will begin meeting Saturday for three days in the southwestern French resort town of Biarritz. France holds the 2019 presidency of the G-7, which also includes Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy and Japan. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

The Latest: G-7: EU backs France in Trump wine tax threat

August 24, 2019 - 6:41 am

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

12:40 p.m.

European Council President Donald Tusk has promised EU retaliation if the U.S. makes good on its threats to impose tariffs on French wine.

Just before leaving for the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, U.S. President Donald Trump again threatened new taxes on French wine in response to a French measure taxing internet companies.

Tusk said that "the last thing we need and want is confrontation with our best ally, the United States." But he said France can count on EU loyalty for one of its most valuable exports.

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12:35 p.m.

European Council President Donald Tusk says this year's Group of Seven summit will be an "unusually difficult" meeting of the leaders of some of the world's most powerful democracies.

The summit begins Saturday in the southern French resort town of Biarritz. Tusk warned in particular against trade wars, which he said could lead to a global recession. Other threats include climate change, and technology that is developing more quickly than the ability to regulate.

He warned that it could be the last moment to restore unity among the G-7 countries.

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12:25 p.m.

France is pressing the White House to endorse a global pledge at the Group of Seven summit to better fight against the spread of hate speech on the internet.

Cedric O, a French official in charge of digital economy, told reporters that the other six nations in the G-7 have already backed the pledge, as have Google and Facebook.

The U.S. didn't endorse a similar pledge after the mosque attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this year. O said the pledge includes a commitment to fight terrorist and hate speech on the internet, transparency on the process, and defense of freedom of expression.

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11:50 a.m.

Hundreds of protesters are marching as Group of Seven leaders arrive in the French resort town of Biarritz.

Protesters planned to cross into Spain from the French border village town of Hendaye. As the march began, they held cardboard signs aloft with pictures of Earth, protesting against climate policies they blame on the world's G-7 countries.

French President Emmanuel Macron, the host, put the Amazon fires at the top of the agenda for the weekend meeting.

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11:30 a.m.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has arrived for the Group of Seven summit amid escalating tensions with South Korea.

South Korea canceled a deal to share military intelligence, mainly on North Korea, after a trade dispute between the two countries.

Relations between two countries, both allies of the U.S., are at their lowest point since they established diplomatic ties in 1965.

Abe's plane touched down in the French seaside resort on Biarritz on Saturday morning.

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11:05 a.m.

Germany says that impeding a trade deal between the European Union and South American trade bloc Mercosur won't help reduce the destruction of rainforest in Brazil.

On Friday, Group of Seven summit host French President Emmanuel Macron threatened to block the recently agreed trade deal with Mercosur, which also includes Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Ireland joined in the threat.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made clear she shares Macron's concern about the fires. But her government said in an emailed response Saturday to a query about the threat to the Mercosur deal that its trade section "includes an ambitious sustainability chapter with binding rules on climate protection," in which both sides committed to implementing the Paris climate accord.

It added: "the non-conclusion (of the deal) is therefore from our point of view not the appropriate response to what is currently happening in Brazil."

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10:55 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the Group of Seven leaders "cannot be silent" in the face of fires sweeping parts of Brazil's Amazon and will call for everything to be done to stop fires in the rainforest.

Germany is backing French President Emmanuel Macron's call to discuss the fires at the weekend's French-hosted G-7 summit. Merkel said in her weekly video message released Saturday: "Emmanuel Macron is right — our house is burning, and we cannot be silent."

She said leaders are "shaken" by the fires and that they will discuss "how we can support and help there, and send a clear call that everything must be done so that the rainforest stops burning."

Amid a series of policy and trade disagreements, which she didn't address explicitly, Merkel said that "talking to each other is always better than about each other — and the G-7 is an excellent opportunity for that."

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10:30 a.m.

World leaders and protesters are converging on the southern French resort town of Biarritz for the G-7 summit.

French President Emmanuel Macron is the host of the summit, which begins Saturday and has emptied out the town famed for its beach on the last week of the summer break. He has downplayed any expectations of a unified front from the leaders of the Group of Seven democracies.

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives later in the day. At last year's meeting, Trump left early and repudiated the joint statement from Air Force One.

At the top of the agenda are climate change - and especially the fires burning in the Amazon - and a global economy teetering on the edge of recession.

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