BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that she wants intensified talks with the United States to prevent announced steel and aluminum tariffs, and expressed hope that such duties against Europe could be prevented, according to a report from Dow Jones.
US President Donald Trump launched on Thursday global tariffs on steel and aluminum, excluding Canada and Mexico from the 25% tariff on steel and the 10% one on aluminum. He said that the US is going to show great flexibility by considering exempting its military allies.
“We see the duties for certain products with concern,” Merkel said during a meeting with German businesses in Munich. “And support the [European] Commission to both turn to the WTO but also seek talks with the United States of America and also with countries, such as China, were second round effects could occur.”
The commission “has outlined measures we could take but priority must first of all be given to talks. It would be best if we could be exempted,” she said.
A trade conflict with escalating tariffs would “be disadvantageous for everybody, nobody will win such a race and that’s why we still seeking a dialogue,” Merkel said. “But of course, we in Europe can also react.”
German business groups have called on politicians to prevent an escalation of the situation, according to the Dow Jones report.
“What matters is that we don’t fuel a global trade conflict even more,” said Holger Bingmann, president of German trade group BGA. “A new wave of protectionism would quickly hit the trade nation Germany.”
One in four German jobs depends on exports, while half of the jobs in the industrial sector rely on foreign trade, BGA warns.