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UPDATE 1-Trump discusses China trade practices with Macron, Merkel

(Adds details about calls, background on trade with China)

WASHINGTON, March 27 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump discussed trade practices with China in calls on Tuesday with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the White House said.

Trump and Merkel also discussed "joining forces to counter" China's economic practices and alleged intellectual property theft, the White House said, in what would be a further escalation of Trump's trade actions against China.

Trump has repeatedly criticized China's trade practices, and the White House has demanded Beijing reduce its trade imbalance with the United States.

Trump, in the calls with Merkel and Macron, also praised the coordinated decision on Monday with governments across Europe to expel Russian diplomats. The expulsions were intended to punish the Kremlin for a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain that has been blamed on Moscow.

The U.S. president also pushed for intensifying cooperation with Turkey on Syria in his call with Macron, according to the White House. (Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Lisa Lambert and Jeffrey Benkoe)