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German minister urges EU unity in trade conflict with U.S.

By Reuters
German Economic Minister Peter Altmaier leaves after delivering a statement regarding the Trump Administration's steel and aluminium tariffs, outside of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 19, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

BERLIN - Germany’s economy minister urged EU states on Wednesday to find a common position on how to negotiate on trade with the United States after U.S. President Donald Trump extended a temporary reprieve for the EU on steel and aluminum tariffs.

Peter Altmaier told Germany’s ARD television the EU faced a difficult situation. 

“We must, therefore, try to get to a fair solution in negotiations between the Europeans and Americans,” he said.

Germany wants a broad agreement to lower tariffs across a broad spectrum of products, especially in manufacturing.

In contrast, France has said it agrees that there is overcapacity in the steel and aluminum sectors and that it is ready to work with the United States and other partners to find a solution to those issues.

It insists, however, that it can only discuss this if it has assurances that the EU will be permanently excluded from unilateral tariff increases.

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