France: BNP Paribas row 'puts EU-US trade pact at risk'

BNP exterior

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said the reported $10bn (£6bn; 7.3bn euros) US fine being faced by banking giant BNP Paribas could hurt EU-US trade treaty talks.

Mr Fabius said the treaty had to be based on "reciprocity".

Media reports have suggested BNP Paribas is negotiating with US authorities over allegations of broken trade sanctions.

US President Barack Obama has dismissed French calls to intervene in the row.

According to media reports, BNP Paribas is alleged to have broken US trade sanctions against Sudan, Iran and Cuba.

Mr Fabius told RTL radio that negotiations over the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could be hurt by the issue.

"This treaty can only exist on the basis of reciprocity," Mr Fabius told RTL radio. "If, in the case of a European bank, they were behaving in a unilateral way, and not on the basis of reciprocity, that could have negative consequences."

The EU and the US restarted transatlantic trade talks in May.

His warning comes during a visit by Mr Obama to Europe, where the US president held bilateral talks with his French counterpart, Francois Hollande.

On Thursday, Mr Obama dismissed any prospect that he might intervene to help BNP Paribas.

"The tradition of the United States is that the president does not meddle in prosecutions," he said.

"I do not pick up the phone and tell the attorney general how to prosecute cases that have been brought. I do not push for settlements of cases that have been brought. Those are decisions that are made by an independent Department of Justice."

France has been pressing the US over the size of the fine, which could almost wipe out BNP's entire 2013 pre-tax income of about 8.2bn euros (£6.7bn, $11.2bn).

Mr Fabius has previously said a fine of the size suggested would be "an extremely serious problem", an "unfair and unilateral decision" and "not reasonable".

In April, BNP Paribas said it had set aside $1.1bn to cover the cost of US penalties, but that the "amount of the fines could be far in excess of the amount of the provision".

More on This Story

Big Banking

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    07:20: ARM CHIPS
    chip

    ARM, which could well make the chips in your mobile phone, says it made $320m (£195.5m) of sales in the third quarter, up 12% compared with last year. It will probably sell $350m in the final three months of the year, it said.

     
  2.  
    07:10: RECKITT RESULTS
    Reckitt Benckiser products

    Reckitt Benckiser says it now expects full year revenue growth at the lower end of its total revenue growth target of 4-5%. The firm "delivered a robust performance in tougher markets in the third quarter" it said.

     
  3.  
    07:00: CHINA GROWTH BBC Radio 4

    China's economy grew by 7.3% in the three months to September, compared with expectations of 7.2%. But it's still the lowest growth in six years. The BBC's Chief Business Correspondent Linda Yueh tells the Today programme Chinese monetary policymakers want to slow the Chinese economic growth gradually and allow the rest of the world to get used to it. China is becoming a "middle income economy" she says and will revert to a normal path for a developed economy over time of around 3% to 4%.

     
  4.  
    Via Twitter Linda Yueh Chief business correspondent

    tweets: My interview with CEO of Oscar de la Renta fashion house, Alex Bolen, from Talking Business

     
  5.  
    06:41: ENGINEERING SKILLS Radio 5 live

    We don't have enough engineers in the UK or scientists for that matter argues Ann Watson of Semta, an engineering skills charity, on 5 live. She says: "We need a million scientists, engineers and technicians by 2020, We are starting to see a shortage in education; people training those recruits." The perception of engineering as a "dirty, oily industry" doesn't help, she says.

     
  6.  
    06:30: STOCK MARKET Radio 5 live

    Jane Foley, senior currency strategist at Rabobank is on 5 live talking about the falling stock market. "If we see stocks fall more we may see companies bargain hunting," she says. So more firms may start purchasing each other.

     
  7.  
    06:21: HEATHROW TRAVEL Radio 5 live
    heathrow

    Travel writer Simon Calder is on 5 live talking about the weather. He says he sees about 50 weather-related cancellations at Heathrow, so perhaps about 5% of flights so far. Flights to Frankfurt look hard to come by, he says.

     
  8.  
    06:12: FLIGHTS CANCELLED

    Heathrow airport has said this morning that around 10% of flights will be cancelled today as the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo hit the UK. Flights with the 20 biggest carriers would be affected, it says. British Airways has already cancelled some ahead of the expected severe weather. The remains of the hurricane are predicted to bring heavy rain and gusts of up to 75mph in some areas, causing disruption to rush-hour travel. If you're travelling today it's worth checking before you arrive at the airport.

     
  9.  
    06:02: TOTAL CEO DEATH Radio 5 live

    Christophe de Margerie, the chief executive of French oil company Total, has died in an air crash in Moscow. Sarah Rainsford, the BBC's correspondent in Moscow says poor weather with low visibility is a possible cause of the crash. His plane crashed when it collided with a snow-clearing machine killing him and three crew, she tells 5 live.

     
  10.  
    06:01: Howard Mustoe Business reporter

    Good morning! Get in touch via email bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or on twitter @BBCBusiness.

     
  11.  
    06:00: Matthew West Business reporter

    Morning folks, we have the latest public borrowing figures out at 9:30 today. But before that we have full year results from online retailer ASOS, and interim figures from Whitbread, plus the weather is promising to play havoc with the transport network today with 10% of flights out of Heathrow already cancelled this morning. We'll bring you everything as it happens.

     

Features

From BBC Capital

Programmes

  • Ade Adepitan at the ColosseumThe Travel Show Watch

    The challenge of providing disabled access at Europe’s leading ancient monuments

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.