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Merkel backs EU push for exemption from US tariffs

Europe
21.03.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Berlin (dpa) - Germany is pushing hard for the European Union to be exempt from looming US tariffs, Chancellor Angela Merkal said in Berlin on Wednesday, adding that she could not rule out the use of "unequivocal countermeasures" from the EU if necessary.

During the first official address of her fourth term in office, Merkel described US President Donald Trump‘s planned tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium, set to take effect at the end of the week, as unlawful and damaging.

"We must wait for developments," Merkel said, adding that strained trade relations will also be discussed at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

European Council President Donald Tusk said Wednesday in Brussels he was "cautiously" optimistic that the EU could get an exemptions from the tariffs - something that US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer suggested later in the day.

Lighthizer told US lawmakers that EU countries could be initially excluded from the tariffs pending further talks.

Both German Economy Minister Peter Altermaier and the EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom have been in Washington this week for talks with their US counterparts.

The EU has argued that it should be exempt from the tariffs, as it is a long-standing security partner of the US and is already cooperating on efforts to address global steel overcapacity.

 

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