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Germany 'rejects' US steel tariffs: Merkel spokesman

Business | 2018-03-02 11:10:00
Germany 'rejects' US steel tariffs: Merkel spokesman
Berlin "rejects" President Donald Trump's decision to impose hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday.

"The federal government rejects such tariffs... the problem of global overcapacity in the steel and aluminum sectors cannot be solved by this unilateral measure from the United States," Steffen Seibert told journalists in Berlin.

"These tariffs will have painful effects on the international trade of our steel and aluminum industry," he added.

While Germany will watch "very closely" details of the tariffs when they emerge next week and their impact on the German economy, Seibert said, it is up to the European Commission to define the response from European Union countries to the U.S. move.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker had "rightly" warned Thursday that the EU would present countermeasures to the Trump tariffs, Seibert said.

"We stand fully side-by-side with the European Commission," he added, although "a trade war would be in nobody's interest".

Trump's announcement on Thursday of a 25-percent tariff on steel and 10-percent levy on aluminum - to be signed off next week - has riled producer countries and sent stock markets tumbling around the world, over fears of escalating tit-for-tat retaliation.

The German government's full-throated rejection of the border taxes follows earlier condemnations from Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and business organizations the Federation of German Industry (BDI) and the German Chambers of Commerce (DIHK).
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